Of Prayer & Meditation

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ACHUTHA BACCHALLI

It’s always interesting to witness the connectivity spoor that exists between our consciousness and its seed in us. There are, likewise, innumerable modes through which this connection is elucidated by our spiritual masters — past and present.

Interestingly, the most tangible finding of all mystics relates itself to the close relationship of chaos and order, a mosaic that exists simultaneously at two levels — man and consciousness.

Yes, nature or existence has myriad mysteries of order and chaos, and this is no different in us. Consciousness is like the ocean. The seed in us is a wave. In like manner, consciousness is the sky; and, the seed in us the cloud. In general, there is a final moment when this individual seed evolves and merges with the big- or macro-consciousness. This is the quantum leap of dissolution — and,  enlightenment. What, however, keeps them separate is the individual’s ego.

Hence, the big equation. If this merging into One is Enlightenment, what is prayer?

Yet, before one endeavours to answer the proposition, there is another equally complex question awaiting our response. What is God? And, what are ‘efforts’ and ‘effortlessness?’ The equation that allows this ‘dance of the shadows’ to naturally and effortlessly happen is the key to the understanding the nature of consciousness — of man and consciousness of existence per se.

SEED POTENTIAL

God — Indivisible and Absolute — has created a kernel of godhood in us in seed form in an analogous way. We have to find the key to unlock this potential seed from its flower, which is consciousness. This is within us and available to us, because we are all a part of this whole — not just the sum of its parts, but part of the whole.

Yet, the paradox is: we go on praying to a multitude of gods. This ‘springs’ another tough question. What do we pray for?

Well, here goes. We complain everyday about rivalry, job [in]security, inadequate money, assets, position and power. We also seek remedies and blessings for loads of money, good health, authority etc.,

The god, who made us with His Godhood and gifted it to us, does not need unrelenting nagging, or plodding, through prayers and gifts from us. He has simply made you as He is.

You do not remind Him, for sunrise or sunset. You do not remind Him for crops and flowers to grow. You do not remind Him for sunlight; or, air to be provided to breathe and live. So, why bother to pray for all your luxuries and/or freedom from illnesses?

THE TEMPLE IN US

Let’s move a step further. The temple, or any place of worship, for one, is a noisy environ, crammed with our countless demands and cravings.

Just think. There is a temple in each of you and god is present in each of us. This temple in you opens up to silence and love, if only you are open and receptive to the ‘Real You in You’ that pervades us all. To achieve this plateau isn’t as difficult as you’d think… if only you understand —

The path to reach this silence is through prayer called meditation.

Prayer elevates us when our body and mind are tuned through effort to subordinate it. Once this occurs, it becomes silent and accepts our individual consciousness as our ‘Master.’

When we attain this pure, simple state of unconditioned love and silence, only then is true prayer possible.

This prayer can fine-tune us to reach our macro-consciousness. This is the true fount of our connectivity — and, also wisdom.

When effortlessness begins, just as we make efforts to sleep and drift to sleep at some point effortlessly, we also slip into merging with the consciousness, in this state of prayer. This is what pure prayer is all about for you. Virtues like compassion, love, and unconditional giving are expressions of this state of being.

This isn’t all. We are all ‘pawns’ in a world of polarities. When we transcend polarities, a continuous Oneness with existence is experienced. This leads us to understand the opposites; it also intuitively helps us to experience the powers of prayer — which are always effulgent and eternal.

MANY PATHS, ONE GOAL

You may well ask. If all this were to happen effortlessly, is there any special preparation and effort required prior to our natural descent into this state of ‘prayerhood?’

Yes, definitely. There are various paths to unlock this mystery. We need to work and find out what is easy for us and follow the path. Once we take up the path, we ought to do our best and wait passively. The final waiting is ‘feminine-like’ — waiting with no aggression. You know it, don’t you? All paths generally follow a pattern, with the first step keyed to keep the body toned with physical and breathing exercises. The best choices are yoga, pranayama, qi-gong, t’ai chi etc.,

The methods help purify and allow the body to be ready. They are needed in the effort-period as a habit, or inner call, on a daily basis.

The next step is — make the journey from witnessing to ‘no-mind.’ This is done through elicitation and/or by being consciously aware — and, also by witnessing ourselves as if we were observing someone else. Slowly, but surely, both our internal and external ‘natter’ now stops and the mind gets ready to be still all the time.

As awareness, or mindfulness, now comes ‘alive’ in the ‘now,’ or present-moment, with a tranquil mind, just wait passively — to invoke and answer your prayer the way you want to.

— This article is based on Lebanese author Mikhail Naimy’s metaphorical book of philosophy, The Book of Mirdad [Watkins Publishing].

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