Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of August 30, 2021


Why Pray?

(The Spiritual Ecosystem: 3)

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The most obvious reason to pray may be the hope of receiving help. Our life is uncertain, and problems arise, sometimes severe problems beyond our control. In our moment of need, we may ask or even beg the Sacred for help. Sometimes we feel that the Sacred has responded to our heartfelt petition.

Whether we recognize a response or not, the asking itself helps, because it implicitly connects us with the benevolent force of the omnipresent Sacred, reaffirming our faith, reaffirming that we are not alone. This connection is a hidden benefit of petitionary prayer and is shared with all other forms of prayer, such as contemplative and liturgical, sacred rituals and communal worship.

Through that connection with the Sacred, temporary though it may seem, something flows, something is exchanged, something is transformed. The quality of the exchange depends on the depth of the prayer, which in turn depends on the state of the person involved. The key insight emerges when we recognize that the flow, exchange, and transformation are actions that embody the spiritual ecosystem.

In deep prayer we open to the realm of the Sacred Light, the source of the sacred impulses, such as hope, faith, and love. We immerse ourselves in that. When we emerge from a period of such prayer, we may notice that we are more conscious than before. The enhanced consciousness may seem like a welcome side effect of immersive prayer. But it may instead be one of the principal reasons for prayer.

Inner energies are transformed when a higher energy blends with a lower energy and thereby generates the middle energy. In any prayer that opens us to the sacred impulses, the higher energy is the energy of the Sacred Light. The lower energy is the sensitive energy, arising from our preparation for prayer. Their combination generates the middle energy, the conscious energy. This is one of the key energy transformations that we humans can engage in and is part of our contribution to the spiritual ecosystem. The conscious energy spreads throughout humanity, throughout our planet.

Opening to sacred impulses also occurs outside of formal prayer. The awe generated by beholding the beauty and grandeur of nature. The ecstasy of being transported by a piece of music. The gratitude invoked by noticing our blessings. The faith awakened by a transcendent work of art. The rollicking joy of hearing a good joke. The inspiration of seeing perfection in action. The love evoked in us by young children.

Clearly, each such impulse is inherently valuable to us personally. Again, though, their hidden value to the spiritual ecosystem may well transcend their personal benefit. When any of the sacred impulses come into us, a transformation of energies takes place, with a series of energies being generated in a cascade of positive effects.

All life benefits as a result, not just us. The energies produced become available to us and to others, perhaps even to the Sacred. Meaning derives from serving something beyond ourselves. By generating higher quality energies, we serve all life on this Earth, bringing positive influences and positive possibilities that our troubled home planet so sorely needs. Our future, our evolution, both personal and collective, depend on these energies. Can we live our lives in such a way as to serve well? Consciously transforming energies up the ladder, every day, creates a long-term impact. Energies can rise in quality, but they can also degrade. Can we help tip that balance?


     

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