Monday, August 8, 2011

Prayer without Ceasing

For a long time now, I have endeavored to discover what 'Prayer without Ceasing' means. I have taken classes, made marvelous discoveries, and been moved to laughter as well as tears. Meditation has brought me closer than I ever imagined to Spirit within. I have even had moments at work where I have spent 2-3 hours so intensely engaged that when I am done it is as if I have just woken up!

But that’s unconscious. And when I’m conscious my brain plays reruns of all kinds of negative experiences and harmful, depressing thoughts and ideas. 

How do I overcome this?

I have discovered that 'Prayer without Ceasing' is personal. It is whatever you say it is. Everyone has their own understanding, beliefs, and faith and definition of 'prayer.' For this reason, this is going to be MY definition of 'Prayer without Ceasing.' For me, this is about Awareness, Clarity and Unconditional Love. To me, Prayer without Ceasing means to overcome negative self-talk with a prayer of forgiveness; overcome negative reruns in our brain by invoking the power of the spoken word (albeit softly!) because it is difficult to run a movie in our head and talk at the same time. We overcome sadness with thoughts of gladness. We dispel the intense negative energy with positive passionate thoughts and words. And we must do this all day – every day.

Awareness – In the course of a day they say that (find figure) thoughts go through our minds. If we could just let them go, that would be okay. But we stop to think about what we’re thinking about and the next thing you know – you’re thinking negative thoughts about your thoughts. So, you must stay alert and aware of what you are thinking all the time. Sometimes we are concentrating on our work and we think about what we are doing or what we have to do next. It is in the spaces between, when we are doing things that do not require our total concentration that we begin to get in trouble. Memorize a few mantras, a couple affirmations, a chant or two, and when you notice that you are not thinking about what you’re working on, say these to yourself over and over until you are again focused either on what you are doing, or your mind is just drifting – clouds, sea, ocean waves – easy stuff.

Clarity – It is important to get clear about what you are thinking about when you are not thinking specifically about what you are doing. For example, I am concentrating very carefully about what I am saying in what I am typing. Part of my consciousness is aware of the location of the keys while I type; another part is developing what I am going to say next. Total Concentration.  However, if I were just sitting and staring at my computer right now, what would come into my mind? It is imperative that we begin to follow these thoughts. Are they good thoughts? Planning dinner with friends? Replaying positive conversations with co-workers? Or are they negative thoughts about negative conversations with co-workers – about another co-worker; or how to get back at someone for something they did? Or are you predicting how you are going to respond to a situation that might happen when you get back from break/class/lunch? Are you thinking about why your boss has called you to their office? Worrying? Beckwith says ‘worrying is rehearsing for something you don’t want to have happen.’ This would be a good time to call in a favorite chant or prayer. This would be a good time to say ‘Thank you’ and then begin to tick off a list of things you are thankful for, beginning with your five senses and your Third Eye. Try listing non-material things in your life – love, friendship, joy, laughter, grace – and if you run out of those, you can list material things – food, shelter, clothing – then you can start singing/saying the words to a positive, uplifting song. And then, if you must, start all over again.

Unconditional Love – The phrase ‘Let Go, and Let God’ usually refers to situations where we don’t have control. We think we do, but individually, without great perseverance, we cannot influence the Federal Government, the State, the Police Department, or the guy driving down the freeway like a lunatic – we can only Love. Beckwith says that if we use the intensity and passion with which we disparage to uplift, our lives would change dramatically. With the same intensity or passion that we want to call out and shout obscenities, or disagree with the Police Officer, or badmouth the President, Beckwith suggests that what if instead we said, ’Why am I so damned blessed?’ ‘Who knew how great my life could be?’ ‘Look at all these blessings raining down on me every day’ ‘How wonderful it is to be loved by God.’ Scream, Shout, Cry or Chant these things instead of the negative things you might say instead. Think 'Unconditional Love' instead of anger, vengeance or hate. Prayer without Ceasing. Try it. Let me know.

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