Essence of prayer
Looking to God will not help until we look at our own foolishness. If you sincerely look at your deepest motivation for religion, you will see you have never aspired for the Divine.india Updated: Aug 12, 2010 23:13 IST
Prayer is a deep connection with the Divine inherent in everything and everywhere. It is a quality, a state of being.
The first question to ask is what is your prayer? "God give me this, give me that, and save me." What you are seeking in prayer is not God, what you are seeking is security and happiness. Ultimately what you want with prayer is well being, you are not willing to admit it. The first step is to be straight with yourself, and then we can see how to cross the threshold of limitations to true happiness.
Looking to God will not help until we look at our own foolishness. If you sincerely look at your deepest motivation for religion, you will see you have never aspired for the Divine. Your aspiration was never for the ultimate. Your aspiration is for comfort, wealth, power, pleasure.
Ordinarily, we think prayer is a means to reach God, but what do we really know about God? If we are truthful, we must admit we have no direct experience of God; we are coming from a particular belief system. The danger in using prayer to reach God, we have no direct experience of, can be illusionary. Thoughts and prayer can open a person but at the same time they can create hallucinations.
Therefore, meditation, compared to prayer, is a much more reliable method to reach the inner nature and experience the Divine.
As we become prayerful, it is extremely beautiful but that state is reached only when we connect to our inner nature. Then the experience is absolutely joyous.
When we are joyous, we are wide open and can receive. Prayer no longer becomes a monologue, but a beautiful phenomenon and a celebration which brings joy. Then we pray not out of fear or greed, but because prayer itself is the reward. Patanjali, considered the father of yoga, says when one knows how to be truly prayerful, prayer is not a means to reach God, but God is only a means so that we can pray.