Lesson 8 - Prayer

The Gestalt prayer:

I am I

and you are you
Im not in this world to live up to your expectations.
And your not in this world to live up to mine.
I is I
And you is you.
If we happen to meet it is beautiful,
if not
there is nothing to be done about it

Fritz Perls


 

Prayer has been very much misunderstood

Prayer has been very much misunderstood in the past. It has become part of the belief in God; hence those who dont believe in God cant pray. That has deprived millions of people of prayer. Prayer has to be freed from the belief in God. In fact prayer comes first, God comes later on. God is not a prerequisite to praying, it is a consequence of prayer. If you are in prayer you will become aware of the existence of God. Then there will be no need to believe in God. All beliefs are false. You may believe for your whole life, but you cannot make a belief true just by believing in it. You can hypnotise yourself, you can think it is truth, but it remains a lie.

Osho, A must for Morning contemplation, month 4, day 1


 

Question: What is the importance of asking the Divine for something?

Mother Meera: If you want anything - love, truth, or courage, For example - you must ask for it. If you ask God for anything humbly and lovingly, you will receive it. But you must ask with your whole heart, so that your heart can be empty and God can fill it. If there is any pride in it, he cannot fill it as much. God wants to give you everything, you must learn how to let him. For this you need surrender. The reward of surrender is bliss and knowledge.

Mother Meera: Answers


 

Daily life permeated by the Divine

If daily life ever is going to be permeated by the Divine, many hours have to be spend over many years on a spiritual practice of prayer or meditation. Partner, family and work have first priority while God has second priority for most people that want to continue from the level of self-development.
Seen from a higher perspective, there is no conflict between the two, but with our duality consciousness it is not possible for us to realise that they truly goes together.
Therefore we must have more time for exercises, meditation and prayer. The time for this we must take from our commitment to the world, a commitment which so far has been so natural for us. If we are not doing this, we cannot move beyond the level of self development, which in itself is so enriching and not too demanding.

Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik

Longing for something higher

If ones heart is longing for more than the level of self development can fulfil, if ones mind is looking for something more ultimate, a real understanding, fulfilment, a contact with the Divine - then experience is that one has to increase ones spiritual practice, which in turn will influence the way one is living ones life.
It is a very high goal to get in real contact with the inner levels of consciousness, and after that, to return to and be fully present in daily life with its duties, its socialising etc.
It is not something one can obtain easily. It is a slow path, where one has to spend more and more time on exercises, prayer and meditation, and at the same time arrange ones life in such a way that it becomes more relaxed, and where one is both living and caring for ones exchange with society and getting more time for ones spiritual practice.
It requires simplicity

Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik


 

Simplicity

Be as simple as you can be; You will be astonished to see how uncomplicated
and happy your life can become.

Paramahansa Yogananda


 

Simplicity
Less materialism, less money and less space!

In order to make ones life simpler, there are some existential choices and consequences to be taken into account: less materialism, less money and less space. The ego would have to feel itself reasonably unfolded and fulfilled in respect of outer circumstances, talents and abilities. We must have been working continuously with ourself therapeutically and with introspection, with our need to possess and to project ones instincts, emotions and attitudes.

This is the basis, it has to be there, and it is not possible to circumvent this stage, if one wants to reach wordless prayer or deep meditation. If basis is not all right, one will meet too many complications from deeper levels in the psyche, hidden fantasies, instincts, desires and all sorts of images.

Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik


 

image

Ocean Rain orchid

The human Soul is like a garden

Teresa De Avila

The Christian mystic, Teresa of Avila (1515 -82), describes the inner development with an image:

The human soul is like a garden, and the task is to water and care for the garden, in order to grow flowers to the glory of God.

The most important is how the garden is being watered.
There are four ways of watering the garden, namely the four ways of prayer.
As an ordinary human being one can start at the first step and move forwards to the ultimate mystic.
Teresa has with great insight described how the psyche of the individual is working and reacting in the beginning of such a developmental process.

Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik



The four ways of watering the garden or the four ways of prayer

The first step Is described as the slowest way of watering the garden or the soul:

By hand one is pulling water buckets up from the well one by one, walk out into the garden, and water with the bucket. According to Teresa this stage resembles the energy made available through reflective prayer and the prayer of words.

The first step: The reflective prayer

One starts to reflect on the perishable nature of earthly life. Before ones inner and outer vision one watches all the sad and painful and perishable phenomenon’s that exists on earth:
birth, death, suffering; the fact that everything that is together will be separated, and that everything that is growing and unfolding will wither away.
Reflect on the emptiness of the world, for instance one is contemplating on ones success and career, considering whether truth can ever be achieved through it.
The next stage consists of contemplating on the great moments in the life of Jesus, such as The Transfiguration on the mountain, the Sermon on the Mount, and the suffering such as Gethsemane and the Crucifixion…
This attunement to the energy of Christ does not require any training of the mind.
The last stage is reflecting on Heaven and Hell, attempting to imagine all the horrors and sufferings of Hell, and the eternal bliss of Heaven .

Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik

The first step: Prayers of words

The aim is to make these prayers continual, by for example connecting them to the breathing. Belonging to this first stage is the prayer of words, such as

 

The Lords Prayer.

Our Father which art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory,
for ever.
Amen

Matthew 6:9-13, King James version


 

The first step: Prayer and Will power

This first step of watering ones garden is based on will power, on action, on making ones priorities clear and on motivation.

In Teresas visualisation, energy is continuously spent by pulling the water bucket up from the well, by walking around watering the plants in the garden with it.
In this process one is distinguishing and creating priorities;
One is not watering the weeds, but the flowers, and thus energy is gathered to motivate oneself for the spiritual.
Working with ones priorities is essential as the world is so tempting and it is too easy to be caught in the ordinary things that have to be done.
It is important to maintain the ability to distinguish so that the energy is focused on the right priority.

Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik


 

Second Step: a Pater Noster system is used to water the garden of the soul

A Pater Noster system is a rope tied in a circle and running over a wheel, and with many buckets tied to it. A hand grip is on the wheel, and turning it draws the rope with the buckets up and down, filling them with water, and emptying them into a water channel.
This method is still driven by and reliant on the will, but the efforts give more gain, much more water is coming up to water the garden, and the impulse towards the spiritual is gaining momentum.

This second stage in Teresas prayer is the speechless prayer.

Through the will and thus the direction of the mental, the mind is directed towards a condition without words, a condition where the various activities and forces in the mind are gathered. The intellect, feelings, emotions, fantasy and longing are by the will directed into one big pool of silence.

Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik

Second Step Stay quiet and not making noise

VITA

That which the soul is supposed to do in this silence, is nothing but to stay quiet and not making noise.
The term noise means to find many words and reflections through the intellect in order to say thanks for this grace and to count all ones sins and mistakes in order to see how little one deserves it.
Dont bother about the intellect, which is a troublemaker.
Here one is starting to collect the mind; but it is already touching the supernatural, as it is not possible to reach this with the work one is doing by oneself
This silence and collectedness of the soul is something which is clearly experienced in the contentment and peace that fills the soul, together with a very great joy and rest for the qualities of the soul, and a very sweet joy

Teresa de Avila, Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik


 

Second Step: The noisy mind

It may be important to understand that the individual is making a big noise with his or her mind regardless if he is thanking God or he is counting his sins.
Teresa talked about this in the fifteenth century, but it is as relevant to us today. We are blissfully riding the top of the wave of the energy and are putting on words of thanksgiving - our mind is noisy - or we are complaining and lamenting that nothing is happening - our mind is noisy -

In this second stage prayer is characterised by
collection, silence and sweetness

If an individual has realised really deep down that the absolutely only way to reach the Divine is through silence or collectedness, and his or her longing is to reach this level of consciousness, there is here a tool to reach it.
Only when we have ultimately realised that the thoughts do not lead towards God or higher consciousness, and we want these experiences, does the fascination we have with thoughts fade away.

Teresa: Vita , here Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik


 

Second Step: If our goal is silence

Here in the Christian mysticism is an existential secret, very relevant for us now:
In our everyday life we must be more relaxed and less interested in being right, in the unfoldment of our egos, in earning money etc.

Silence occurs when the world no longer has a higher priority than silence.

Teresa: Vita , here Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik

Third step:

The method of watering the garden is that the gardener directs a river through the garden of the soul.
He does not any longer have to be concerned about the watering, the river does it.
The energy level is increasing and there is control over what happens.
The gardener is digging the water channels, having done that, it is the river that is doing the work, the ego has stepped back, there are no words or images, and then the Divine is entering the mind directly. The process begins to accelerate and to become dynamic.
Teresa describes it by saying: There is not one little spark, but flames in the mind
The work of the will power is having a break, as the process now is roaring through the mind, guiding the mind towards the spiritual, it becomes ecstasy.
Teresa writes: The joy, the sweetness and the bliss is without comparison greater than on the previous steps … An almost complete death from all the things of the world, and that one is enjoying God
The soul does not know whether it shall be quiet, whether it shall laugh or cry. It is a blissful madness and a heavenly folly, where the true wisdom is obtained

Teresa: Vita , here Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik


 

Third step: The limit of language

The experiences on the third level sits at the limit of language and just before the ultimate state of consciousness, it is not yet Uno Mystica.
One is trying to let go and to relax from the world, with all its worries, happiness etc.
Then one is trying to reach that state of gatheredness where one is trying to be silent, to find rest, and if there are moments of silence, one is trying to relax further.
If one from this state of inner silence is relaxing even further, one is relaxing into a dynamic field of energy. One has to expect that one cannot be in this field for long time, only fractions of a second - so it must be tried again and again.
This energy field is the Divine energy itself, manifesting as dynamic energy. … This condition manifest itself dynamically, it is a roar of light or grace, flowing through the mind, or an expansion, immediately followed by a narrowing.

Teresa: Vita , here Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik


 

Fourth step: The garden of the soul is watered by rain

It is God alone who is taking care of it,
and the ego is totally out of the way.


First one bucket of water at a time, which means reflection, motivation and prayer through words.
Secondly the Paternoster method, trying to gain collectedness and silence.
Thirdly the river comes roaring as the dynamic aspect.
Fourth finally the ultimate, which is rain, the grace, unity, the Uno Mystica.
If there is a union of all abilities, then the soul cannot communicate as long as the union lasts, even if it would
This state where everything is lost and one has no idea of anything only lasts for a short time, in this state one experiences that God is present in all things

Teresa: Vita , here Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik

To keep the soul moist

In two of her books* Teresa states that it is important that the soul is not dry
The meaning is literally that one must make sure to cry.
Cry of sorrow, allow the sorrow to stream forth, if it is not allowed to stream forth, the heart can not be made free. First the heart is flowing with sorrow, and then it begins to flow with joy. One cries for joy over life, the higher, Christ, the saints all the flowers and in gratitude over all that is.
The last form of tears is the ecstasy, these tears are strange in that they are in between laughter and crying, between sorrow and joy. They are undefinable can not be categorised. It is not sorrow, it is not joy, it is not gratitude, it is an ambivalent, ecstatic feeling that is expressed - automatic tears as Teresa describes them.

*The life of the holy Teresa of Avila and the Castle of the soul

Teresa: Vita , here Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik

To keep the soul moist

Teresa encouraged those she guided to accept the tendency to tears when it comes, not to force it, not to suppress it.
When the higher feelings come through prayer, music or being in nature, and the tears come, it can be a very deep cleansing.
If one continuously maintains the connection with the higher feelings, the surrender to the higher, the religious, the spiritual, the process thus started becomes much deeper and transforming for both body and soul.

Teresa: Vita , here Edited and translated from Jes Bertelsen: Ikonmysik




 

Mata Amritanandamayi:

Children, pray and shed tears as you think of Him. That is the greatest sadhana. No other sadhana will give you the bliss of divine love as effectively as sincere prayer […] try to pray until your heart melts and flows down as tears. It is said that the water of Ganges purifies whoever takes a dip in it. The tears which fill the eyes while one is remembering God have tremendous power to purify ones mind. These tears are more powerful than meditation. Such tears are verily the Ganges.

Mata Amritanandamayi: Awaken Children Volume V



 

Wake up

Wake up to your INNER COURAGE
And become steeped inDIVINE CONTENTMENT

Gurumayi

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TC M3 - Lesson 8 - Prayer