Showing posts with label Prayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prayer. Show all posts

Thursday, January 24, 2019

What is prayer?

Osho says, "What is prayer? Love and surrender. Where there is no love, there is no prayer."

My friend asked me, "Do Unitarian Univeralists pray?"

I said, "Good question. Depends on which UU you ask?

My friend said, "Well, if they say 'yes,' then, to whom or what do they pray?"

I said, "Good question, and again, it depends on which UU you ask."

My friend said, "Well, are you a Unitarian Univeralist?"

I said, "Yes I am among other things."

My friend asked, "Well, if you are a UU do you pray and to whom?"

I said, "Great questions. I wondered if you would ask."

My friend said, "I am. What do you say?"

I said, "Osho taught that prayer is love. There are two types of love, conditional and unconditional. Lately, I have become aware that I want my love to be unconditional. I am finding that my choice of unconditional love towards my brothers and sisters, and the things of the earth and the universe is my prayer. To whom this prayer is directed is nobody because I am increasingly attuned to the interdependet web of existence which is nondualistic Oneness which cannot be described or defined as a separted person or entity."

My friend said, "Thank you for your answer. I am having a hard time understanding what you are saying but I think I get it a little bit."

I said, "You will know that your prayer is authentic when it arises with a sense of peace."

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Do you pray? If so, how? Brother David Stendl-Rast explains

Yesterday, December 27, 2017, the Question Of The Day on UUAWOL was "Do you pray? If so, how?" Here's Brother David Stendl-Rast's answer to that question talking with Jack Kornfield.

Friday, August 25, 2017

How can we pray best?

Dear George:

You asked me whether UUs pray. They do, and they have lovely prayers which they say in unison as part of their church services.

The deeper considerations to your question are probably to whom and for what do UUs pray. The answer to the first question is, it varies depending on the person doing the praying. What/who does he/she consider his/her higher power to be and from what/whom does he/she draw his/her inspiration and solace? The best prayers are prayers of forgiveness, gratitude, and the request for direction. My prayers are pretty simple: Dear God help me to follow your will not my will - Thy will be done, and Thank you for the three good things that I have been blessed with today."

You might consider the suggestion of Dr. Ira Byrock who says that  when we encounter people who are dying (and we all are dying all the time whether we are aware of this or not) it helps to say four things: Thank you. I forgive you. I hope you can forgive me. I love you.

We should strive, George, to be constant contact with our Higher Power or at least several times per day. Some people have a prayer schedule and set aside 5 minutes very 4 hours like the Christian monks and the Muslims do. Us modern humans spend more time with our smart phones and other screens than we do giving our attention to the divine within us and we are the poorer for it.

Also, I suggest that you be careful praying to the universe as if it it were a vending machine like a Fairy Godmother, or Gene from a  bottle who can dispense gifts.

The main purpose of prayer is to join with the cosmic consciousness, to become one with the Godhead, to heal the separation of ourselves from the Godhead and to go home. This can be achieved through meditation or what today is sometimes called mindfulness. This flow state, becoming one with the all can also be achieved through music, dance, athletics, communing with nature, great sex, etc.

So, George, prayer comes in many forms with the purpose of  healing the separation of our ego from the all. One of the most lovely things in life is a prayer life based on the intention of bringing our will into alignment with God's will for us. The best prayer of all is the Our Father which Jesus suggested to us which combines all the best elements of a nourishing prayer life, gratitude, forgiveness, and setting aside of our egos so we can listen to the wishes of the universe for us.

Pray on,

Uncle David.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Her life was one big constant prayer

Julia let the officers come in, a man and a woman. The man, officer Harvey seemed kind and gentle, but the woman, Officer Bradshaw, seemed stern and stoic. She didn’t smile at all and her face had a rigid expression not that she was mad but very serious.
Officer Harvey said, “Mrs. Andrews we’d like to ask you just a few questions if that’s all right.”
“Okay,” said Julia hesitantly.
“First, let me say, that I know this is a tragic time and I am terribly sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you” said Laurie as she started to weep.
“Where were you when Julia was in front yard playing, “asked Officer Bradshaw.
“Where was I?” said Laurie. “I…..I don’t know. I was in the house.”
“You were in the house,” said Bradshaw. “Where were you in the house?”
“I….I…. think I was lying on the couch watching TV,” said Laurie.
“Lying on the couch?” said Bradshaw. “It was 10 o’clock in the morning wasn’t it?” She sounded accusatory to Laurie as if she was doing something wrong.
“I wasn’t feeling well, “ said Laurie as if she were a child having to explain herself to her mother afraid she was going to get scolded and told again that she was worthless, lazy, and disappointment as a daughter.
“What was the problem?” asked Bradshaw who hated this kind of interrogation when the suspect was lying, denying, unwilling to tell the truth and articulate the facts. Bradshaw tried not to be judgmental but she was no fool and could smell trouble at 1,000 yards.
“I wasn’t feeling well,” Laurie said again.
“Were you sleeping?” Bradshaw asked.
“No…no…of course not,” said Laurie. “How could I be sleeping when Julia was up and playing. I had to watch her.”
“Did you know she was outside in the front yard?” asked Bradshaw.
“Yes,” Laurie said, “of course I did. She liked to play outside. It was a beautiful day.”
Officer Harvey spoke up, “Mrs. Andrews, you say you were not feeling well. Were you taking medication of any sort?”
“Yes…..I take pain medication for my back and sometimes I have migraines,” said Laurie.
“Can I ask you what you took yesterday when the accident happened?, asked Harvey.
“Well I had taken some vicodin and tramadol,” said Laurie.
“How much had you taken?” asked Harvey.
“Well, my usual dose and then a little extra, the tramadol, because the pain was so bad,” said Laurie.
“Are you taking more than the doctor prescribes?” asked Bradshaw.
“No…no” said Laurie. “I only take what the doctor prescribes unless the pain is really bad or doesn’t go away. Then I take a little more because I really need it.”
“Mrs. Andrews,” said Officer Bradshaw, “we are placing you under arrest for endangering the welfare of a child, and possessing illicit drugs. Will you come with us, please?”
Laurie started screaming and wailing. The two officers, one on each arm put her in handcuffs behind her back as they led her from the house to the police car in the drive way.

“God in heaven, help me,” Officer Heather Bradshaw said to herself in a little prayer because some days her job was almost more than she could bear. Having to arrest a mother who had just lost her child seemed cruel and inhumane, but Mrs. Andrews appeared to have a serious drug problem with prescription pills just as her ex-husband, Steve, had told them. While Julia’s death was not directly caused by Laurie’s addiction, the lack of supervision certainly was a contributing factor. Heather knew when she took the job as a police officer that she would have her nose in the asshole of humanity all the time. That was the job. No one calls a cop on a good day, only on a bad day. As a police officer she knew she would have to see humanity at its worse every working day of her career. She knew that. That’s what she had signed up for. And yet, it was only her faith and reliance on God’s will that got her through the worst of what she saw and had to deal with. It was her faith, and her constant praying for guidance that gave her the strength and courage to deal with what she was asked to deal with. Heather couldn’t explain it, and she felt strongly no one would really understand, not even her fellow officers, but she felt deep down in her soul that her life was one big, constant prayer.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Do Buddhists pray?

Steve was beside himself. He had always thought that Laurie was not a good enough parent and worried incessantly when Julia was in her care. Her being hit by a car and killed was a fear come true. Steve was a born again Christian and knew that Julia was with the Lord now, having been called home, maybe too early, but that God knows what He is doing is a cornerstone of Steve’s faith now that he has quit drinking and was saved two years ago just after his divorce from Laurie.

Now that Steve was sober he had been called OCD by a lot of people but none more rancorously than by Laurie. Laurie was upset when he was drinking and seemed just as upset, if not more, now that he was sober. She complained that he had become critical, domineering, overbearing, distrustful to the point of paranoia, and he seemed most obsessed with her care of Julia often implying if not outright accusing her for being a bad mother. Her girlfriend, Amanda, said, “There is no one more judgmental than an abstinent smoker or drinker. They seem to think they know it all and what’s best for everyone else. If they don’t go to AA they are even worse. Even in AA they tell people to take their own inventory, don’t be taking everyone else’s.”

Amanda had started going to the UU church with Laurie and Julia even though she had been raised Jewish and had become more Buddhist as an adult than anything else. “Do Buddhists believe in God?” Laurie had asked Amanda, and Amanda had said “No.” They believe in cosmic consciousness, enlightenment, but not in a personal God.

“Do Buddhists pray?” Laurie had wanted to know.

            “Not in the Christian sense,” said Amanda. “They meditate and try to clear their minds of all thoughts. Just to be still and become one with the flow of life, one with the all.”

Laurie didn’t know what Amanda was talking about. She had never tried to meditate herself. Now, with the horror of Julia’s death, Laurie just wished she could black out. Block everything out. She couldn’t even sleep. She was too upset. She wished she could talk to Amanda who had flown to California to visit her sister. Laurie didn’t even think Amanda knew yet of Julia’s death. Who would tell her? Should she call?

Someone was knocking on the door. She found it hard to rise from the chair and go to the door. She could see two policeman through the little rectangular window in the door, a man and a woman.

“Hello, Mrs. Andrews. I’m officer Harvey, and this is officer Bradshaw. We have a few questions we’d like to ask you. Can we come in?”

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Do you pray?"

“Do you pray?,” he asked her softly.
“I can’t,” she said, “I just can’t. I hate God. How could he do this?”
“Praying is nearly impossible when we are in shock and disbelief from a loss like yours,” David said.
“I used to pray,” she said, “but a lot of good it’s done me.”
Laurie had just lost her baby girl, Julia, who had been hit and killed by a car right it front of their house. Julia had darted into the road after a ball and not looked and the car had no time to stop, plowed right into her and tossed her 50 feet her little neck broken with blood coming from her right ear and her mouth. Laurie couldn’t get the image out her head.
David was Laurie’s neighbor from across the street. He had seen the whole thing. He wasn’t sure how to comfort Laurie or anyone in the midst of a tragedy like this. It seemed to him that it’s the time that people, in their suffering, ask WHY? In their shock, disbelieve, fear, and anger they want to blame someone. Why not God, the mover and shaker of the universe whom we have been taught makes all things possible and has a plan even if we don’t know what it is, and then tragedy strikes and none of the myths we have been taught and we have listened to, and told ourselves we should believe, make sense. So in our pain we blame God and then feel guilty and on top of everything else tell ourselves must be a terrible person to blame God, but who else? Who else is responsible for a thing like this happening?
The driver of the car, of course, but she didn’t have a chance. Who could anticipate that a child would dart into the path of an oncoming car. Can’t blame her. The cops didn’t. She didn’t get a ticket. She was driving the speed limit, was sober, just driving down the street going home with her groceries. You could blame Julia, but how do you blame the victim, the child you loved so fiercely. You could blame yourself for not providing enough supervision or training her well enough or for letting her play in the front yard at all.
Laurie was really scared of what Steve would say when he found out. Steve and she had been divorced for 2 years now and they had fought over primary residence. She had won. They were barely civil, but the joint custody was working okay.
Laurie’s mother would be devastated. Laurie had finally done something right that her mother approved of when she provided Martha with a granddaughter to dote on. Other than her drinking, Martha had been a great grandmother. Laurie didn’t like to leave Julia with her more than a couple of hours because her mother would get into the wine and then Laurie worried about her alertness in caring for Julia. Now look at what’s happened. Maybe Julia would have been better off with Martha even with her drinking problem than she has been under Laurie’s watch.

Rev. Moran had called and asked if he could stop over. He wanted to make a condolence call, but also there might be funeral arrangements to be made. Laurie had been taking Julia to a Unitarian Universalist church for the last year and didn’t even know if UUs believed in heaven. Where was her precious daughter now? What would  Rev Moran tell her if she was brave enough to ask?
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