Prayer vs meditation: What's the difference and which one is for you
Will you choose to talk to the Universe, or will you instead listen? Tina Heals talks about the difference between prayer and meditation.
A prayer has many positive effects - serenity, tranquillity, peace and bliss. Prayer starts a dialogue with the Godhead. It helps us in speaking to our higher self. It helps us control the functioning of our body at a cellular level, it promotes harmony, synchronicity and a deep restfulness. (Also read: The real meaning of meditation is not what you think)
As we go through our day, we expend enormous amounts of energy. Without realising it, we become drained and lose massive amounts of prana. Prayer aids in accumulation of positivity and spiritual energy. Prayer can inspire one towards philanthropy; good thoughts become good actions. Discipline is the key. To acquire a peaceful mind, one must pray every day, at the same time.
CONNECTING TO DIVINE THROUGH PRAYER
I always begin at a fixed time. Amazingly, no matter how disturbed I am, my mind calms and becomes tranquil. I light the diya and the agarbattis, the air transforms. The smell of oil in the lamp triggers my mind. I become still. Smoke from the agarbatti wafts through the air, sometimes I see patterns and faces in them.
When I was younger, I often wanted something in my prayers. But as the years passed, I stopped asking. I prayed with gratitude and did not ask anything in return. When you seek to initiate a dialogue with the divine through prayer, remember, that essentially, it’s a monologue. Likely, it may never become a dialogue. So, we all buzz away, like busy bees, carrying on our individual monologue, hoping to be heard.
MEDITATION: LISTENING TO THE UNIVERSE
During meditation we do not seek a dialogue; we are listening to what the Universe has to say. Trust me, it says a lot. When we first start to meditate, thoughts are endless; it can be almost impossible to calm our minds. How can we hope to hear anything the Universe has to say?
We must persevere. Meditate every day at the same time. Face the same direction, and sit on a cloth, which will be your asana. Just sit still. Let the thoughts come, watch them, but do not welcome or judge them. They are neither your friends, nor your foes; they are just thoughts that come and go.
The minute a solid thought enters your brain, let it soak there. Slowly you will realise that it too dissipates, it begins to lose its shape, just like diaphanous clouds in the sky. Look up and observe the clouds, and similarly log into your mind during meditation. Watch your thoughts. Do you get angry if the cloud takes a certain shape? Then why must your thoughts arouse such feelings?
Notice how you breathe, watch how you exhale, how you inhale. Observe this cycle repeatedly. Doing this for days, months, and finally years, you will see the Universe has started talking to you. The timeless quality in meditation is highly addictive.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRAYER AND MEDITATION
Prayer is externalised, meditation is internalised. Meditation is looking in, prayer is seeking out.
Meditating, you find the Godhead within. Praying, you pay obeisance to God.
In meditation you realize SHIVOHAM, no amount of Shiv-puja can show you that; yes, it can create a fertile ground to get into meditation, but it can never help you experience SHIVOHAM.
PRAYER VS MEDITATION: WHICH IS BETTER?
So, will you choose to talk to the Universe, or will you instead listen?
I have been meditating for years, yet I am still a novice. Yet, sometimes, my mind becomes still during dhyana and for a split second the Universe talks to me. Yes, I still pray, I do my Shiv puja and mantra chanting every day, but I do not ask for anything from the Godhead, except Sarvamangalam! But, my number one addiction remains meditation, which changes our DNA. It is where I find truth, bliss and peace, even if for a split-second.