Prayer is an effective way to communicate your intention to Divinity. Unfortunately, however, some of us never learned how to pray, and some have been put off by the dogmatic approach of religion and are confused about prayers. So here is the basic of how to pray. (Photo credit)
Format of a prayer
In The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief, Gregg Braden analyzes the three-part sandwich format of a prayer:
He explains how prayer works as the command code in the matrix, just as a piece of computer code works in the computer software. (For more about the nature of this matrix, you might want to read his The Spontaneous Healing of Belief, too.)
I know a few very basic codes. For example, when I want to bold words in this blog, this is what I write:
<strong>the text I want to bold</strong>
As you see, it has three parts:
- Opening: <strong>
- Closing: </strong>
The function of the opening is to signal the system that I am going to make a certain request. Then I state what it is in the body. Finally, I mark where my body ends with the closing.
Prayer has the same format. In the opening, I call to the Divinity to signal that I am going to make a certain request. Then I state my request in the body. Finally, I close my prayer to signal this is the end of my prayer.
Asking requires faith
Prayer is not just chatting with Divinity or spirit guides. When we pray, we make requests. And let me assure you there is nothing wrong about asking for what you sincerely desire. In fact, the Universe is waiting for you to make requests. (The key word here is “sincerely”. I am not talking about satisfying every whim you feel when you go to the mall.)
Why doesn’t the Universe (or God or Matrix or whatever you want to call) just give you what you want? Is it too dump to figure out what you want? Why do you have to bother and pray?
Because you have a free will and all positive beings respect free will. God / angels / spirit guides are not going to shove you what they think is best for you. It’s your responsibility to decide what you want and ask.
Asking requires at least some faith. If you absolutely don’t think you can get what you want, you won’t bother to ask. Even a very hungry little boy won’t ask for a candy if he absolutely knows there is no candy in the house and his family is so poor that there is no way his parents can buy him a candy. Asking for something you know you won’t get is stupid and no one would do it.
So prayers — not the prayers you just say out of habit or sense of obligation, but the real prayers in which you ask for something — require faith, the belief that you would, or at least might, get it. This is the beauty of prayers. By praying, you reinforce your faith in a power greater than yourself.
Name of Divinity
So, a typical opening is the calling of Divinity. If you are comfortable with the word “God”, you can use it here. You can also use the name of God you believe in such as Jesus.
But what if you don’t like any organized religion and not comfortable with the word “God”? Can you still pray? Definitely. Prayer is simply a request to higher power. You can be creative in the way you call your Divinity. Here are some ideas:
- My higher power
- Creator of all beings
- Great spirit(s)
- God of my understanding
- Divine intelligence
- Divine mother / father
You can also call multiple names of Divinity, such as adding the names of saints you like.
The body of a prayer
Then you state your request, or your intention. Make it clear, straightforward, and complete. Don’t beg nor bargain. Your prayer can be long, and you can take time “listening” to the response to your request before closing, or you can “hold” the intention for a period of time, but don’t nag.
Begging means you don’t really believe in the benevolent nature of God nor your own self-worth to have what you are asking for. Perhaps you had to do that to get a candy from your parent, but God is a bit different from your parent. Begging in the prayer defies the basic point of praying, that you have faith in the chance you will get what you want. Same with bargaining — you don’t do that if you believe in the infinite wisdom and power of God.
Many people have problem communicating in a clear, straightforward and complete manner even with people, so I know this takes practice. But it’s worth practicing.
Closing the prayer
Closing can be quite simple. In my case, I say either something like, “I entrust this prayer to be answered in a way that is best for me and for all beings everywhere.” or simply, “Thank you. Amen.” You can also repeat the name of Divinity before saying the gratitude.
Then comes the challenging part. You need to release the prayer. In other words, you surrender. You don’t hold your breath watching out when and how your prayer is answered, or even if it ever be answered.
Some prayers are answered immediately. Some takes time. And some appear to be never answered. For instance, you may pray that your loved one survive a terminal illness and they may die after all.
I believe prayers work in a way that is best for all beings involved, not just for my personal (and often temporary) satisfaction. In the aforementioned example, perhaps it is time for your loved one to go. Death is nothing to be ashamed of — it’s a transformation process. Of course it’s sad because it is about separation, but maybe you have grown strong enough to go through this sad experience. So the request you made in the prayer is not granted, but if you are open, you would be comforted. And years later, you may be surprised how the loss contributed to your spiritual growth.
We don’t always know what is best for us. This is why we want to surrender our prayer to Divinity. You want to express what you desire, but you don’t want to control it. God cannot work on your prayer if you keep holding onto it.
Do you pray? Do you have any questions about prayers? Please let me know in the comment. Thank you.
The missing key to the power of gratitude
How often do you say “Thank you”? A few times a day? Maybe ten times or so? Or is it more like you cannot remember when was the last time you actually said it? (Photo credit)
Much has been said about the power of gratitude. For instance, Dr. Robert Emmons maintains in his book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier that practicing gratitude increases the sense of happiness by as much as 25%. He also found that gratitude can boost social relationships, creativity, and immune system.
Gratitude is also a key to the effective use of the Law of Attraction, or our power to create our lives. We cannot create something new until we are grateful for what we already have.
On the other hand, there are people who say something like, “I’m grateful for all the things I have. I just wonder why I have so little even though I work so hard.”
What is going on? Why gratitude works for some people and not for others?
The key is the quantity and quality of gratitude. And in this case, quantity brings quality.
Most people just don’t use the power of gratitude often enough. They reserve it for some special occasions, like when something notably good happens. Or, they say their gratitude routinely with a feeling of obligation, not with a true feeling of gratitude.
The remedy is to boost the quantity of gratitude to see its effects.
So I started the Radical Gratitude movement. The idea is to say 100+ gratitude a day for seven days. Now this gets you going. Of course, you can continue after the seven days, but I think you get the hang of it in seven days.
Don’t just think about gratitude and how important it is. Say it aloud. When you say it, 100 times a day, it starts to sink in your feelings. You start to really feel the gratitude. And feeling is what matters in the process of creation. This is why I say quantity brings quality in this case.
As an experiment, I started this #RadicalGratitude on Twitter on Sunday night. I tweeted the idea along with some of the things, people, and events that I am grateful for. Here is how the experiment is unfolding. . .
How #RadicalGratitude spread around
Say it aloud, sing your gratitude. 100+ a day for a week. Take the #RadicalGratitude challenge. Your life will change.
Do all 700+ things have to be different?
No. You don’t have to keep track of your gratitude. Just bump up the volume of your gratitude to 100 level. I mean, wouldn’t your spouse be thrilled to receive “Thank you” every morning and night?
Can’t think of 100+ things to be grateful for? Here are some of the things I’m grateful for:
- My vision, hearing, sense of smell, taste, and feeling. They bring me joy and pleasure.
- My arms, legs, head, butts, breasts, tummy, hair, skin . . . my health and beauty.
- Every food stuff in my fridge. When I go grocery shopping, I thank each item I purchase. Apples, bananas, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, almonds, water. . .
- And the farmers, transportation, the people who work at the market, and the Earth.
- The sun, the air, the trees, flowers, the stars, the moon, the universe.
- The bills I need to pay — because I received the service and products.
- When I drive, I say “Thank you,” at every green light. And at every red light — for safety. And when I safely change lanes. (Oh, I remember @rawliving’s suggestion to send gratitude to cops. . .) I say thank you when I arrive at the destination, and I say thank you when I come home.
- Money in the bank, my apartment, my car, each of my furniture.
- Every book I’ve read and their authors. Thanks to Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Seth Godin, Deepak Chopra, Karen Bishop, Rumi, Lao Tsu, just to name a few.
- My macbook, the internet, WP, twitter, facebook, that connects me with my friends all over the world
My gratitude to the people in my life. My mother, father, my friends. Sometimes, it’s hard to express gratitude to people who are so familiar, but don’t be shy. Tell each person how much they mean to you. Thank them for being the person they are.
Some more gratitudes:
- That I am in this country. My greencard.
- Artists who make the world so beautiful, including Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Rothko, Frankenthaler. . .
- As I recall my life, I’m grateful to all the events — they all served as learning experiences.
- I’m grateful for God, the Universe, the Nature, the Energy, whatever you call it, and my spirit guides.
@JaySchryer joined, mentioning his favorite music. He is also grateful for:
Big dreams, and the courage to pursue them. Common sense and intelligence to make them a reality
Sense of humor to laugh at myself should I fail
Friends near and far who keep me sane, family who keeps me insane.
Feeling grateful today for so many things… Even feeling grateful to feel grateful
So true. And the side benefit of this Radical Gratitude was that I found some cool tweeters who share the same kind of passion for life.
I suggest you include not just the things you like, but also the things you don’t (like the red lights). Because they are all connected, like the sides of a coin.
The true power of gratitude
When I first did Radical Gratitude personally, I was just going through the motion in the beginning. I thanked each dish, bowl, glass, and cutlery when I washed the dishes. I thanked the toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and water when I brushed my teeth. At mealtime, I put my hands together and said thanks three times. I said gratitude when I woke up in the morning and I said gratitude when I tucked myself in bed at night.
This may sound like crazy, but because I live by myself, it didn’t matter. I just kept saying “Thank you.”
Something changed. It was when I was taking a shower and saying thank you to the abundant water that so readily came out of the faucet. I got it. It broke me into tears.
Everything in life is a miracle. Every single thing, person, and event.
Gratitude opens your eyes.
Happy Thanksgiving. And remember, you can start gratitude any time.
Do you believe in dualism? That there are two opposing powers in this world fighting against each other? Such as light vs dark or good vs evil?
Fighting against darkness is futile
I understand the idea of light vs dark, or God vs Saturn, is thousands of years old in the Christian tradition. Many other religions and cultures have similar concept of dualism.
It is so ingrained in our collective thinking that few people stop and think what darkness really is.
Can you show me darkness? I mean, a substance that causes darkness?
You cannot. Dark is simply the absence of light. You can show me light, but darkness is always a matter of comparison.
So, then, what does it mean to fight against darkness?
It’s a fight against the shadows on the wall. It may look huge and scary, but it’s only a shadow. And naturally, no one — no superman, no super psychic, not even “the one” — can win in this battle. Of course not. It’s just a shadow, an illusion.
Perhaps I am confusing some people. Didn’t I just write about darkworkers? But if you go back and check that article, you notice that my definition of a darkworker, or negative soul, is the soul that is moving away from Light and therefore draining energy from other people. Notice there is nothing about darkness in the definition. And yes, at this time, such souls exist. But darkness doesn’t.
Darkness is something we make up in our mind. It is us who is giving life to the illusion of darkness, just like small kids give life to the shadow on the wall.
It’s time we notice this and wake up.
How to get out of the dualism
It’s actually quite simple. Live in the here and now. Accept everything in the here and now completely with no comparison.
When do you feel the push and pull battle of light and dark, or good and evil? Let’s say you have an important exam tomorrow. You feel you should study tonight — that’s the good, considerate thing to do, right? On the other hand, you are tempted to go to a bar and just goof off. Ah, your lazy, evil twin who gets you in trouble! And what if you start thinking how you can cheat? Now that’s really bad, right?
Do you see it’s your mind playing this game? Your mind (or your ego) can go to a great length in this game. Drawing from your past experiences, your mind casts a grim image of you failing the exam if you don’t prepare for it. It also casts an image of success, which is just as hollow — it’s just expectation, not reality.
The reality is — you are. Period.
Our souls don’t care if something is good or bad. We came to this world to experience. If we don’t like certain experience, that’s just that. Next. If we like certain experience, that’s just that, too. Next. No judgment. They just are.
Seeing life this way may take a bit of getting used to until you get the hang of it. But really, getting out of the dualism is fast and easy. You just see things as they are with no mental chatter.
Reviewing dualities in your life
I encourage you to review what you have thought to be duality. Are they real? Or is one side of duality really non-existent, like darkness?
I think the only true dualities are the technical polarities, like positive and negative charge of electricity or cars moving either direction of the road. In such cases, there is no value judgement. Driving up north or down south are neither better nor worse by itself. While the word “negative” may sound bad, negative charge of electricity is just that — it’s not good or bad. Sometimes, negative is a good thing. When your doctor runs a blood test to see if you are infected with a disease, a negative result is a good news.
Just one more thought on duality
When you examine your idea of duality, you may also notice that some so-called dualities are not opposite but more like pairs.
Men and women are good example of this case. They have different sexual organs, supported by different sexual hormones and genes. In the formation of a new life, they play different roles. However, they are both humans and share a lot of qualities as humans. Men and women are not opposite to each other that forms duality. If they are, when a female manager replaces a male manager, it should cause 180 degree change effects to the organization, for instance. Like putting a battery backwards.
We deal with this kind of fake dualities all the time. Just because two groups of people or two ideas are very different doesn’t mean they are opposite and polarized. Some examples are body and mind, thinking and feeling, rich and poor and meat eaters and vegetarians.
Obviously, there is no reason at all to fight over this kind of non-polarized fake dualities.
What kind of duality controls you? Let me know in the comment