Prayer is often misunderstood. It is seen as a repetition of words in honour of some deity or saint or a petition for the relief of various fears or troubles in life. The God or saint we are praying is understood to be someone outside of us, some kind of higher being or entity. The idea is that their abode is somewhere other than where we are, in another dimension. This kind of prayer comes from a position of powerlessness and helplessness. All we can do is beg.
Prayer as I see it is something quite different and much more intimate. It is communication of the most intimate and subtle nature, between self and Self. Self (capital S) is an aspect of your own being, something within you, something that we cannot see or hear or feel or touch but can know. We don’t know it in an intellectual way because it is of a subtler nature than any of our senses.
The senses are instruments of the biological organism and the Self that I refer to is not of the same order. It is not a biological being. Nor can we know it emotionally or through thought because it is of a subtler nature than these. We cannot figure it out but we can experience it.
We know it in the sense that it is who we are. This is a different kind of knowing. Prayer is about becoming attuned to ourselves in the simplest way possible, simply sitting in attention with ourselves.
Prayer then is less to do with words and thoughts than to sitting quietly and tuning into our innermost being. It is to do with allowing time to sit with ourSelves. It’s more an attunement to what is within us as opposed to having our attention turned outwards. Outwards here includes thoughts and emotions.
It’s about finding that “place” of inner silence and resting in it.
Generally we are in the habit of avoiding silence, feeling that it has nothing to offer us other than a waste of time. This is not so.
Having become attuned to the nature of this inner spaciousness we can tap into it throughout the day. It becomes part of who we know ourselves to be.
We begin to become aware that it is always with us, regardless of what is happening and how often it becomes shut out of our attention by all the external stimuli.
Our own sense of beingness or consciousness is what is always with us. Prayer is inward focus.
To me prayer is about becoming aware of this place within us and resting in it. Regular resting in this place leads us to seeing our lives from a different perspective and it enriches our daily experience by infusing it with peace and contentment. This leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of who we are and from that place we can examine other aspects of our lives.
It can lead to inner conversation between self and Self. By this I mean that in the silence thoughts that might not be heard in the business of daily life get through to our attention. This is what is often referred to as the still small voice. A subtler aspect of ourselves comes into view. Something closer to our source begins to be noticed and this often guides us closer to what we are seeking.