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CandleThis feels like a strange topic for me to choose, because I'm not a religious person at all.  I decided to write about it because of a feeling I've had recently that the idea of it is starting to mean something to me.  Actually I think it always has in a way.

Perhaps it means different things to different people, and I suspect many people who claim to practice it do not do so in a beneficial or positive way.  My view is that it is a valuable and positive thing to do if you're doing it right, and that religion has nothing to do with it.

In fact, many people like me, wouldn't even call it prayer, but as much as I'm uncomfortable with the actual word because of its religious connotations, I think that's actually what it is.

So what am I talking about? What is this thing which is often called prayer?

An activity where you focus your thoughts and energy on seeking guidance or a positive outcome, and you recognize a source of positive energy greater than yourself, which you instinctively know you can access, though you may not be sure how.

Whether you do it in a place of worship or in your car or anywhere else makes no difference, nor does it matter what you call the source of power and inspiration and guidance you are trying to tap into.  All you need to know is that there is good, that you can trust it, and that you can access it.

Creative visualization, positive thinking, affirmations, the law of attraction, Reiki and meditation all come to mind, and I'm sure there are many other ways of naming or practicing this activity. 

What they all have in common is that they all involve holding an intention, and having faith in a higher source of good.

What the actual source of greater good and power is doesn't matter.  All that matters, in my view, is the intention.  Whether God is an entity outside ourselves, or part of ourselves, or both, whether it is the collective unconscious or the universe or whatever, doesn't change anything.  We can be open to all these possibilities and more, and still be grounded in science and common sense.  We can have a sense of faith whatever our religion or even if we don't belong to any religion at all.  It's all good.  Truth isn't exclusive.

Meditation is used successfully by many people to create the quiet, un-cluttered state of mind needed to get in touch with the spiritual.  It's something I would like to learn more about myself.  Just the act of clearing out all the rubbish from our minds, even for a short time, has to be healthy for us. 

Rituals and special places can help too, why not.  Candles and ceremonies, symbolism, sounds, music, smells can all help create the association we are seeking with a particular state of mind.  Some cultures even use drugs or other ways of getting into a trance like state.

But we don't have to be skilled at meditation, or have any special rituals or a special place to practice prayer (and I can still hardly bring myself to use that word, or indeed any other word, to describe the activity I mean).  All we need to do is hold the intention, and that intention is something along the lines of seeking guidance from the universe, the source, the greatest, highest good, the combined spirit of us all, God, or whatever you choose to call it.  It can't be a bad thing if what you feel you are seeking is just good, right, the truth, for the greatest good of all concerned.  Yes, it doesn't mean the same thing if your intention is to cause harm.

Seeing ourselves as part of this higher power is practical and beneficial, because it relates to your intention.  If you wished to cause harm to another, you would also be harming yourself.  If you intended good for the universe, you would also be intending good for yourself.  The simplicity and safety of this concept appeals to me very much, and should be pretty easy to sell.  It just makes sense.

Imagine the potential power of 'this activity' which shall remain nameless or go by many names, if we all practiced it daily.  Even if there was no God or universal power or spirit, and you looked at it from a purely scientific point of view, the fact that all of us together were holding the same intention, daily focussing our attention on looking for positive guidance, would be a massively powerful thing, because our thoughts affect our actions, and if we all acted in positive ways, the world would be better.  We can heal ourselves, we can heal the world; why the hell not.

We know humans have sought spiritual truth in all sorts of strange ways for many thousands of years, and I get the impression that the earlier versions of it were more focussed on the source and the power being outside of ourselves.  I think looking at it this way is disempowering, and allows for feelings of fear to creep in, which don't help us.  And if it doesn't help us be better, how can that be any good? 

Seeing ourselves as part of 'the force' (I like the Star Wars idea, though I could never get into the movies) seems much more sensible and practical to me, because it's easier to see ourselves as capable of love than something completely separate and outside of ourselves, which is so unknowable and scary, and possibly capable of unpredictable things, needing to be appeased and silly stuff like that.

My goal is to develop my own time, place, rituals and practices, for a daily quiet time to clear my mind, focus on what I want to achieve, intending it, thinking of what I'm happy about in the present, of ways I can be a better person, and practicing tuning into 'the force' or whatever it is. 

I don't know if I will ever name these things for myself, but I look forward to continuing to see the positive benefits.  At the moment, it's going on during my morning shower.  Perhaps because that's the one time I know I will be alone and usually un-disturbed.  Sometimes it's also in bed before getting up, or before going to sleep, but this is a bit more unreliable as I have a habit of reading in bed until I'm sleepy.  There are moments in the car also, or sometimes standing at the kitchen sink.  Not very romantic I know, but hey, whatever works for now.

Perhaps a combination of regular, ritual times, and spontaneous moments as well, could work.  What really matters though, is using the time in a constructive, loving way.  Loving to ourselves as to the world and those around us, and seeing those as all the same thing in some way.  A daily reminder of the path we want to choose, the choices we want to make, the beliefs we want to hold, the love we want to feel.  Love doesn't need to be a scary word like prayer - it can just be a quiet strength and confidence kind of thing, you don't have to go around scattering flower petals on people.

This time is a time of communication, either with ourselves, or with a higher power, or both, and the rules of communication definitely apply.  No victim playing, being bossy, blaming or any of that nonsense.  Responsibility is still relevant, in fact it should be the ultimate act of taking responsibility. 

It should also be pleasurable.  If it's a chore, it's not really going to work is it.  It needs to be something we relish and enjoy.  It should feel empowering, refreshing, uplifting, even fun.

And yes, I think it's for everybody, even people like me.  Find your own way, but make it matter.

May the force be with you.


P.S. The comments are moderated.  I choose not to publish comments I find inflamitory, offensive, extreme, pushing any kind of religion, from people who appear not to have even read the article, or which are even slightly annoying.

Comments   

#4 Chantal 2014-04-14 06:52
Awesome article, you've said what many of us think! Prayer is powerful. Love and Life is all the legacy we leave.
I am currently seeking employment, it is not easy, there are so many unemployed. The one value that is so precious, is gratitude of life is health love and family.
I am thinking of starting a business to help busy families so they can enjoy family time in the evenings. Your letter has brought me clarity and something to think about. I need to pray about it - I will do what I am passionate about and give more ladies employment.
Thank you Yvette
#3 LindaLee 2008-02-29 01:57
Great article! I think of myself as spiritual, I guess. I firmly believe in the power of prayer because without it I would be a basket case. I have tried to intall this in my children also. I do not always receive the answer I would like but have learned over the years His answer turns out to be the best in the long run! Keep it up!!
#2 Lecia Goerke 2008-02-29 01:55
I knew it! I knew you weren't religious. Oh, what a relief. Reading your heart - wanting only the good for yourself and others. Girl, you are onto something there! So, good on ya and blessings in your supernatural journey!
#1 Marcus Male 2008-02-29 01:53
Well said Yvette. I for one will be asking questions in quiet moments. In the past I have been afraid of the answer. It is time to stump up and have faith in our own higher power or force (I did get into Star Wars.)

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