May 3, 2008

Prayer as breathing

Much of what applies to prayer also does to meditation. Prayer in my view is always centred on God, meditation can also be centring on something else than God.

Prayer is as necessary as breathing. This statement may need some explanation for those who seldom pray or who believe prayer is only done by religious fanatics.

Prayer is to connect ourselves to the Creator. The Creator is present in all creations, in the entire universe, but this doesn’t mean that we automatically are very well connected to God. Many people don’t believe in God. We ourselves may have done things in our lives which were egoistic and not loved by God. Everything in ourselves and around us that is more separated from God brings energy that makes it difficult to feel God’s love. In order to feel God’s love and to receive God’s guidance, we must make effort to overcome the energies, the feelings and thoughts that separate us from God.

The main effort to do this is by prayer.

Plants have a built-in programming that makes them grow, blossom, give fruit. For example, some seeds of trees will only begin to germinate when it warms up after a period of frost. This guarantees that the seeds sprout at the time that gives them the maximum chance of survival.

Animals have their instinct guiding them to do what is right. Animals don’t think about that, at least that is what I believe. They just follow their instinct and this serves them well.

People are different from animals and plants. I believe that we too have some kind of instinct in us that leads us in our daily life. We could call this instinct ‘intuition.’ Our intuition is the part of our being that is directly connected to God.

The instinct of some animals that grew up in human civilization does not work so well anymore. In a similar way, our intuition to do what is right in each situation very often does not function very well.

Why is this? I believe answering this question would rather much be the same as knowing the cause of what is called ‘evil.’ I don’t want to go into that here, but when we look around in today’s world with so much crime we can understand that not everything that people do is good and original.

I believe that our original state of being is one in which we are constantly connected to the Creator and we would know intuitively what to do in each situation. But in a world where so many people including ourselves are often misguided, we need to make extra effort to strengthen the connection to God.

The main effort to do this is in prayer. Prayer should be like breathing, because when we get so used to prayer that we do it all the time, in whatever situation we are, then we will always have a good feeling for what is right for us to do.

When you attempt to pray you will quickly notice that prayer is not so easy at all. As soon as you try to centre your mind on God, you get distracted by all kind of other thoughts. To solve this and to learn to pray we need to practice concentration. Concentration however is not the only thing we need to learn.

When our mind is full with what is not so connected to God, maybe because we have done activities which were not so close to God, then our mind also is more away from God. This means that, guided by prayer, we need to do those things that bring us nearer to God instead of doing what separates us.

When our prayer becomes as regular as breathing, we come in a constant state of heart and mind of feeling the presence of God. Then our original intuition will begin to work more and more and will properly guide us through life.

But before prayer becomes like breathing, we need to make very much effort. Prayer is something that some people do intuitively, but still it is also something that we need to learn. When we begin to pray, prayer can be very difficult to do. Because it is so difficult, many people shy away from it and pray in a superficial or ritualistic way, without really coming to deeper levels.

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