Friday, October 26, 2012

Prayer is Timeless....

(Photograph: Steve McCurry, Kuchi Nomads, Evening Prayer, Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1992)

In prayer, we come nearest to making a real clearance in the thicket of thought. Prayer takes thought to a place of stillness. Prayer slows the flow of the mind until we can begin to see with a new tranquility. In this kind of thought, we become conscious of our divine belonging. We begin to sense the serenity of this clearing. We learn that regardless of the fragmentation and turbulence in so many regions of our lives, there is a place in the soul where the voices and prodding of the world never reach. It is almost like the image of the tree. The branches can sway and quiver in the wind, the center of the tree, there pertains the stillness of its anchorage. In prayer, thought returns to its origin in the infinite. Attuned to its origin, thought reaches below its own netting. In this way prayer liberates thought from the small rooms where fear and need confine it. Despite all the negative talk about God, the Divine still remains the one space where thought can become free. There we will be liberated from the repetitive echoes of our own smallness and blindness… Prayer is the path to the secret belonging at the heart of our other lives.

John O’Donohue from Eternal Echoes

    This is one of the most beautiful representations on prayer I have ever read. Prayer is not so common a word used among modern western spiritual thinkers. My perspective is that many people in our day have become disenchanted with orthodox religion  and tend to associate prayer with dogma. This could not be further from the truth in my opinion. For me, prayer is as essential as meditation to connecting and merging with the Divine. Prayer is talking to God/Goddess/Universe to convey some desire hoped for or expressing gratification for desires met. Spoken affirmations can also be considered a kind of prayer. Meditation, on the other hand, involves no action other than listening and just being. Unfortunately due to narrow-minded thinking prayer has been branded as religious and meditation as irreligious yet spiritual. In truth, prayer and meditation when used together, create a harmonious song of Oneness in the soul.

Jai Mata Di,


  1. I don't really pray any more and it makes me sad. Even Mother Theresa felt her prayers were not heard, let alone answered.
    I spent many years in a conservative church where I never would have admitted that my prayer fell on no ears at all. Or if they did, they were ignored. My heart grieves over this. I hope that one day I can pray and feel I am heard and loved. One thing I do is chant (omg namo guru dev namo and Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung.) I feel release when I chant.

  2. not surprising. Mother Theresa spent a life time seeking an external God,male, and one that resides exclusively in another world, and one that bestows salvation only based on a devotee's exclusive membership, and that too after death.

  3. Subra, I spent the majority of my life praying to a God outside myself and always felt so disconnected from Divinity. It just never made sense to me that a loving God could answer the prayers of some and not of others. But I put my questions aside and just followed willingly, yet blindly, what I was taught to accept as truth, even though it was not my experience. When I left my old faith, it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but since accepting a new spiritual perspective I have never looked back. I feared for some time that God would never forgive me, when the one who's forgiveness I needed was myself:)

    Birdie, I too chant. Japa mantra is my regular daily practice. Mantra has been a very powerful force for good in my life. I hope you are feeling better these days my friend:)

  4. Nirvani, these thoughts resonate!
    A central truth claim of Sanathana Dharma is the original divinity of life, not original sin, so there is no need to be "saved", and no need to live in constant fear of vengeful external Gods waiting behind bushes to 'roast us' in an after life.

    This all-important belief of personal freedom typically results in a huge reduction in stress and guilt, thereby allowing us to constructively maximize our own potential. But along with this decentralized freedom comes responsibility. We are solely responsible for our actions - an external God cannot collectively write-off our "sins". However, the good thing is that if i still mess up despite my best attempts, i will not be roasting in eternal hell, but will have a second chance in another life :)