[ Meditation || Appreciation || Prayer || the optimistic prayer process || Prayer and appreciation that reinforces positive belief ]
When you look at the variety of faiths throughout the world there are a few common practices that seem to run through them. These practices aid in the creation of a spiritual connection with whatever you consider to be the overlying force of life.
I’m not just talking about religion.
Spirituality does not require religion to exist, but religion does require some form of spiritual belief and practice to exist. You may label this ‘force’ as God, Allah, Krishna, Life, the universe, All that is, higher self, Light, Consciousness or Unconditional Love to name a few.
I like to refer to this higher concept as ‘All that is’.
The MAP I will refer to is the following –
Three practices that when taken as a whole (because they are linked anyway) will go a long way toward giving you that experience of connection to a higher source.
The definitions of what constitutes these three practices may be limited through belief. Maybe you might get some new idea’s in this article.
So much has been written about this that there is a risk of skipping over this as just being another head in the clouds way of avoiding life and the real problems we all face. So I’m not going to spout the benefits of having a regular meditation practice.
There is no doubt in spiritual, medical and even business circles, that some form of consistent time out, to calm and focus yourself, will have beneficial effects that filter out into your whole life.
I would say that some form of silent practice is really what I’m talking about. It is true that you could consider walks in nature, artistic expression and even listening and to your favourite music to be a type of meditation. There is however a unique benefit to removing yourself from as many senses as possible and as many everyday thoughts as possible by adopting a consistent practice of inner relaxed focus.
Regular short periods of meditation
Meditation doesn’t have to be for hours. 20 minutes is a good target. Even 5 minutes a few times a day. Heck, 1 minute with your eyes closed focused on a few deep breaths will change your state almost instantly. And we all have a minute right!? I consider that many breathwork practices are a close form of meditation too. There is nothing quite like closing your eyes for a few minutes and focusing on a specific breathing practices to quickly and radically change your state.
Meditating for 20 minutes 3 times a week will bring you more benefit than 60 minutes only once a week even though the total time is the same. In the same way as physical exercise needs to be regular to build on itself, so to does mental exercise.
Live with an ‘attitude of gratitude’ is a common saying.
Why? You could be forgiven for looking at the state of the world or even your life and thinking “what do I have to be grateful for?”
Isn’t looking for things to appreciate or be grateful for just ignoring the truth?
Well, isn’t looking for things to be angry at or disappointed about just being unrealistic in the opposite direction? Both wanted and unwanted are always going to exist as points of potential focus. I’m not talking about putting your head in the sand and ignoring the world around you. But neither am I talking about spending your spare time focusing on and getting upset by all the negative crap going on in the world.
Why? Well for one, because adding your energy to negative events without actively using that energy for change is just adding to that energy and bringing you down. There’s no positive result to that. Complaining alone will not change the world or your life. What you will get by focusing on what you don’t like is stress, bad health and few friends who will give you the time of day unless they are also complaining.
Appreciation alone will not change anything
Here’s the truth that some people need to hear.., appreciating and focusing on what you DO like will not change the world or your life on it’s own either! Unless you act on the opportunities that come your way.
What appreciating more WILL do, is train your brain to notice more things to appreciate, keep you in a happier state of mind, and cause you to take actions that may not have even occurred to you before. Because that’s what we’re really talking about with appreciation isn’t it.., feeling good on purpose.
What happens when you feel good? You naturally want to share that experience with others and do fun exciting things. And what happens when you do that? You meet new people, get new opportunities, try new things, and momentum builds. Is it any surprise then that we tend to become like the people we surround ourselves with. Aren’t we talking about the same thing?
Appreciating life as the gift that it is, has to ultimately lead to connecting to something bigger than just physical expression does it not?
If nothing else, learning to appreciate what you have will make you feel better and put a smile on your face more often. And who knows what smiling more might attract to you.
Appreciate with realism
Can you appreciate or be thankful for negative situations? Yes you can. It takes looking at them with a curious mind to find the lessons and blessings within them. In terms of existence, everything in your reality is valid and has it’s place.
Far easier though is to be thankful for things that are wanted. You will find that doing this will show opportunities in the challenges as you learn to look for what you can be grateful for. So start with the easy stuff. Start with being appreciative for all the small things that you already have or can observe. Once you have momentum then you can be more creative.
Prayer often has preconceived idea’s that it is reserved just for religion.
The true meaning of prayer may have been lost in translation somewhere along the way.
It’s all good and fine to pray for peace and get the internal benefit of this state, but what about the external expression of prayer?
This is where I think some of the meaning of prayer has been lost.
Prayer is an act of giving as much as wanting. It contains appreciation for what you have.., faith for what you don’t yet have.., and compassion for those whom have not.
The missing piece I believe is in the grounding of prayer through action. The same applies to the law of attraction and manifesting. Sitting on your couch visualising a Ferrari will not manifest one on your driveway. It will potentially make you feel better short term though.., and that does have some value.
Thought energy without grounded physical energy keeps you invisible to the manifestation process.
Prayer is active not passive
Prayer is as much about external expression as internal. We live in a physical world so praying without making it physical is not enough.
Prayer is not complete without action. Action doesn’t have to be all encompassing though. One person at a time is still progress. If someone hurts and you comfort them.., that IS prayer in action!
So prayer as a complete understanding contains action toward the vision you prayed for internally and/or verbally. There are some people in ALL faiths that miss this point of taking what they claim to believe and acting in accordance with it.
I have a childhood friend whom I just recently found after many years out of contact. He has spent half a lifetime teaching the ways of his understanding of God as a preacher in a very poor area of the world. He told me a story of when he was studying theology and observed his teacher yelling in anger at a family in a supermarket within days of preaching the way to God being treating all people with love. My friend challenged the teacher on it and was all but told he would fail the course because of it. He didn’t fail.., his faith provided his final exam to be graded by an outsider much to the delight of him and disappointment of the teacher.
There are many worse examples than this of belief failing to make it to action. Is it really a belief then? An ideology perhaps.., but until your belief is more of a conviction that you live by, then why not change the belief to be one that you WILL live by.
The optimistic prayer process
Most prayer processes at their heart involve a certain amount of appreciation. For example “thank you for the food we have before us” and requests for help for those in need. I do like that pattern and I like to step it up another notch even.
This process is something I learnt from a friend teaching Law Of Attraction classes and referred to as ‘Universe lists’. It really is a form of prayer though. Whom or what you are talking to as you state or write down these sentences is up to you. I would recommend writing them down as it adds the visual and physical senses to what would otherwise just be verbal if stated out loud. It is still fine to speak or state them in your mind during the day if you don’t feel inclined to write them all the time.
This type of request goes a bit further than most prayer practises I’ve come across. With it you assume an element of responsibility and only state in the positive about things that you believe are possible. Notice how you start to feel more positive as you state them.., that is key.
You are in effect getting excited about the possibility of them being answered or coming true.
Examples of optimistic prayer in action
The easiest way to explain it is to give you some examples –
“Show me things to feel good about today”
“Give me the courage to speak my mind and ask for what I want”
“Help me see the good in the people I meet”
“Guide me in making good choices for my health”
“Show me opportunities to create more wealth in my life”
“Give people the strength to get through the losses they have endured”
“Remind me often to be thankful for the life I have”
“Bring me love and respect as I show it to others”
Get the idea? It may be a challenge at first to adopt this way of thinking but in a very short time you will find the idea’s and thoughts flowing that make you feel more positive and hopeful of actually getting some help.
You ARE prayer in action
Believing in the power of prayer isn’t about something or someone being in control of your fate. Prayer and this process are about not being alone in your goals and desires. You ARE powerful and you do have powerful help. As a team of creation.., you are unstoppable! Don’t give your power away to an unseen force though.., ask for this unseen force to assist you in maximising the power already inside you! ‘All that is’ flows through you.., it has to.
By focusing in positive ways (as in this process) you line up with that flow instead of blocking it.
Have fun with this and feel good as you do.
“Universe.., inspire those who seek to improve their lives to see progress even in the small things”
“Show them that they are loved and appreciated”
Prayer and appreciation that reinforces positive belief
One of my spiritual mentors teaches the habit of blessing others as a form of not just acceptance and caring, but as reinforcing positive belief also.
What would happen for example if you got in the habit of blessing people for what THEY have. If you see someone in an expensive car.., why not in your own mind say “congratulations on your abundance”. And then go a step further and exclaim to yourself whenever you think of it “May all be blessed with abundance.”
Or what might happen to your own state of being if when someone exhibits anger you self affirm “May you be blessed with love and kindness.”
Maybe.., just maybe.., you might develop a belief that abundance and kindness are everywhere! And what might that do to your point of attraction in an energy based universe?