The highest level of prayer is not prayer for anything. It is a deep and profound silence, in which we allow ourselves to be still and know him. In that silence, we are changed. We are calmed. We are illumined.
- Marianne Williamson, inspirational author and speaker (b. 1952)
In my experience, prayer is a mystery for most people. Many know why they pray and their objectives for doing so, but don't know what to expect in return.
A good friend, a Christian with fundamentalist beliefs, claims that we should pray for things, whether these be things we want to receive or events we want to happen. Thinking back over the many years I have known him, he may be right. He seems to have received what he asked for.
I don't ask for anything when I pray. I pray, as Marianne Williamson does, in deep and profound silence. I don't talk, I listen.
Listening may be the most underrated human skill. As I don't read quickly, having an information processing impairment in my brain, I learn as much as I can by listening to others who know.
People like to be listened to. If I seem to be absorbing what they say and continue to pay attention as they speak, they think I'm a good guy, someone worth knowing.
People ask such penetrating questions as Does God Really exist? What can God do for me? Why am I here? What is my mission in life? How can there be a God when such bad things happen in the world?
They ask. They Ask. They ask. But they don't listen for answers.
The Bible says that God created humankind in his own image. It would be more accurate to say that humankind created their God in their own image. What's more, their God seldom does what they tell him to do. Which is why he disappoints so many people.
If God is an ethereal being, comprised of neither matter nor energy, how might we expect that God could communicate with us? Could he communicate in words, as some say? Don't we claim that people who hear voices in their heads have psychiatric disorders? Or is it only a mental problem when the voices don't come from God?
It makes sense that God can only communicate with us in a manner that is different from the way our fellow humans converse with us. If he communicated with us in the same way as other people, he would surely be a man-made God. That doesn't make sense, unless you are a religious leader who wants others to follow him because he communes directly with the deity. There's a lot of that going around.
It makes sense to me that if we want to know what God has in mind for us, we should place ourselves in a context that is natural, not in a structure built by men. And we should open our minds to what the natural environment offers to us.
When I do that, flushing the effects of human creations from my mind, I can breathe in such energy that I can't explain it. The same breath in my home or a store or church is nothing more than a deep breath. When the context and environment are right, I become more than an individual person with each breath. I become part of a universal whole where I see everything tied together with unseen and unexplainable bonds. Everything in a unity.
I also feel love unlike anything I have experienced elsewhere. So abundant is that love within me that I feel it necessary to share it with others. As I must communicate with others differently than I do with God, I offer it to those who want to share with me. I offer love with words, but also with smiles and touch. A simple touch, such as shaking hands or touching a shoulder or arm while speaking. Sometimes a hug is what's needed.
Does it work? Do I make a difference by sharing my love with others? I can only say that only those who are hardened of heart leave my presence without feeling better than when we met.
That seems like reason enough as a purpose in life.
I do more. I share with you, whom I cannot see. I leave it to you to accept my offering and to learn how to accept the love on your own.
Look for it in deep and profound silence. Listen. It may take a while for you to learn how to hear. When you do, breathe in deeply. Do it again and again, as you will want to. It will be exciting, exhilarating.
Then share your abundance with those who need what they don't have.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a book about how to share the important lessons of life with children so they may lead full and happy lives as adults.
Learn more at http://billallin.com