Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of October 1, 2012

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Prayer

(Growing a Spiritual Life: Part 3)

Why pray? Is prayer only another meditation technique, designed to improve our awareness, our immersion in consciousness? Or is there some higher Reality to Whom we pray? And is that higher Reality a boundless consciousness or something other than that?

Consciousness is a what, an energy. To go deeper we ask who is conscious, whose awareness is it? Consciousness is like a TV screen with a bunch of sensors as input: the camera (our eyes), the microphone (our ears), and so on. But consciousness just reports, presents all that information. To whom does it present? Who decides what part of the screen to look at and what to do about what is seen there? That who is us, our will. We are our will. Will perceives, chooses, decides, and acts, or chooses not to act. What we do, our will does. We are our will. Because we can be aware of consciousness, we are not just consciousness, we are more than that, other than that.

Half of infinity is still infinite. A tenth of something infinite is still infinite. A billionth of something infinite is still infinite. The nature of infinity is not changed by dividing it. The nature of will is not changed by dividing it. The nature of the Divine is not changed by dividing.

We intuitively resonate with the notion of Divine Will, more than with the notion of Divine Consciousness. The Divine acts. The Divine may also see, be conscious, but the Divine is the One Who is conscious, the One Who sees. The Divine is Will.

What about love, Divine Love? To speak of that seems right to us. The Divine loves unconditionally. Love is one thing the Divine does, one thing that the Divine Will does. God may be Love, but is more even than Love. God is Will and that includes the will to love.

There is an infinite greatness, a mountain of creative Force, that makes and sustains this universe in every moment. That Force, that Will flows into every part of this universe.

And a particle of that Will is given to each of us, as our birthright, as our human endowment. Yet a particle of something infinite is still infinite. The Divine Nature is present in us, as our will, with all its freedom and power and infinity, albeit on a different level, a different scale.

Prayer then, is our will reestablishing our connection with the Divine Will. Without that we remain incomplete. That incompleteness feeds the feeling of lack and inadequacy that drives so much of our thoughts and emotions, our attitudes, our wishes and dreams. Our connection with the Divine was never severed, but is buried so deeply under our many attachments to the visible and psychological, that we have effectively lost it. Prayer looks to rectify that, to regain what we seem to be missing at our core, that connection to the Whole, the place where aloneness ends, where narrowness widens, where self-centeredness evaporates.

In prayer we may use words and we may petition for something. In contemplative prayer we may also use words, but the petition, if there is one, primarily addresses the further opening of our relationship with the Divine. This may not be stated in words, but certainly is our intention. Inwardly repeating a sacred phrase or a Divine name helps our focus and orients and elevates us, as does communal worship. At some point in our prayer session, we go beyond the need for focusing and orienting, beyond words, beyond thoughts, even beyond consciousness, beyond our conscious mind. We stand in stillness as if before the Divine, as if the Divine greatness were here with us now, behind and within what we can see and touch.

Entering prayer that way, the shuddering cascades of energy may come to us from the world of sacred light. This feeds us, feeds our soul deeply. It is right for us, even necessary.

Yet the Divine lies well beyond even that world of sacred light. So we take another step into the stillness, into utter peace, and surrender to it. We give ourselves over, begging to be touched by the Unity. Just as we can inhabit our body with our will, we silently ask the Divine to inhabit us, to become us. That infinite, sacred Will of the Creator is there. We ask That to enter our core, to enter who we are, to enter our will, to put us on like a suit of clothing, to be us. We ask in stillness, in non-doing, in allowing, in opening. We ask. And that is our prayer.

This is a process. We start where are and work our way from there. For this week, please deepen your prayer practice.


     

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