As we follow our spiritual path and we grow into consciousness, we encounter bigger difficulties as well. That is fully normal, and should be welcomed, for the two aspects are part of the same reality. Becoming more spiritually conscious brings more issues to be addressed, not only because we face situations that we were not aware of before, but also because our spiritual growth releases issues that were deeply rooted, and invisible so far. This deserves now to be conscientized to be transformed.
On the spiritual path, there is a before and an after each progress. Once we reach a particular state, there is no way back. The more we gain a wider view of our human nature, by going deeper in our belief system, the more we need to untie the knots that keep us stuck to the lower part of our human nature. The more, we understand that the task at hand is huge, the more we need help.
The need of prayer
To some extent, facing huge challenges is good news, for they attest that we are more conscious, that we have reached a level of consciousness that implies challenges we were not aware before. We should be grateful to face huge difficulties, because it shows that we have enough strength and power now to handle them.
In therapy, I constantly highlight this positive perspective to the patient who consults me in depression or with a mental challenge. It allows us, later, to tackle the problem from a spiritual angle, which brings in return new skills to the patient.
However, at one point, we may also reach the end of our capacities to handle specific features, for some deep human part within us may never want to withdraw, because it is in its very nature to survive. We realize that we will not be successful alone, and that help may be needed.
In that context, prayer should not be practiced randomly or nonchalantly, because it may lead to contrary outcomes, strengthening the aspect one would like to get rid of, reinforcing our ego and, finally, enhancing our human nature.
Before the prayer
Prior to praying, we should assess whether our practice is truthful or not, as well as the topic of our prayer being sincere or not. By bringing authenticity and honesty to each prayer, we become not only more accurate regarding the very process, but we bring more consciousness to our daily routine. Prayer increases naturally our practice of mindfulness, a positive reward in the exercise of self-observation.
Committing to be fully present while praying helps to distinguish whether the topic we intend to pray for is relevant or not. Sometimes, we could possibly resolve the issue without praying, by simply using intuition and discernment. By increasing our capacity to solve issues before they would become definitively problems, we do not overuse meaninglessly the power of prayer. On the contrary, we become capable to reinforce a conscious collaboration between our Psychic Being and our human part.
Becoming more fully conscious of the power of prayer, through a meaningful practice, also settle little by little the process in an openness, an underlaying natural mindset which invites us to be in a permanent inner state of praying. Our faith to the One we pray becomes deeper,leading at the ultimate stage, to have no more difference between praying and not praying. Doing so, and whatever the outcome, our faith brings back to us the certainty of the result of our prayer. We reach the final stage of the prayer, a total and fully conscious surrender to what happens here and now.
Finally, we should not try to mentally understand the whole process of prayer, since it is a field that is totally unknown to our human part. Let us remember that prayer is for the fulfillment of the Psychic being, not for the development of the ego.
Depending on the individual background, the ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ unfold differently. However, intention and preparation play a big role in the success of a prayer, although one can pray spontaneously, as well.
Let us start to pray from our genuine mindset, our current state of consciousness, whatever it might be and without judging it. Acknowledging our mood with sincerity, discrimination and surrender, is already part of the prayer. Focusing on how to separate the spiritual and the human within us, we acknowledge the antagonist forces that are fighting for the supremacy of the system. We decide to focus on the spiritual one, starting to pray from this space, while trying to quieter the human part.
During the prayer, we identify the disturbing elements (thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, external influences) that may raise, trying to jeopardize the process. We can either ignore or neutralize them, depending on our trust in our power to overcome them. Often, ignoring is much more powerful and efficient than fighting, as it maintains the mindset silent, favorable to the prayer.
Now, one will surely experiment a very peculiar instant, in which all the parameters for the prayer are united and synchronized: comfortable position, focus and aspiration, right thoughts, heartfelt commitment, sensation of emptiness or fullness, etc. We can freely dive into this sincere instant, though short, for it may be much more authentic than a longer period of stubborn prayer, characterized by an annoying back and forth of vigilance and concentration.
Prayer can be nurtured by itself. One can set the intention for his prayer to be more profound, honest and focused. Doing so, the ritual lasts long after the end of the prayer. One may also start and finish the prayer with the commitment to pray on a regular basis.
After the prayer:
After the ritual, one should not expect a direct outcome, though something may surprisingly happen straight away. It is more useful to settle a state of openness and sensitivity, allowing things to happen smoothly and when the time is right. Positive developments of the topic we pray for can also happen without its direct resolution. Similarly, we can identify outcomes of previous prayers far after the prayer was made.
Having the inextinguishable faith that the outcome will happen, if and whenever it is good for us, will help recognizing it, even though it may not precisely match the request. Sometimes, only details fit the topic, we learn how to distinguish direct or secondary-related outcomes. When we separate the outcome and the timeframe under which it ‘should’ happen, we start envisioning the association prayer / result within a broader timeline. Sometimes, we can harvest a result instantaneously, as if time would not exist as such, or as if the result could have been there already since long but we were too blind to see it.
Life becomes a unique prayer, fulfilled with a unique outcome. In that perspective, it makes sense to capitalize previous ‘little’ outcomes, which added to the mindfulness that is settled step by step in our routine, transforms our life into a never-ending prayer. Doing so nourishes our faith and practice.
Practicing with assiduity helps us being more accurate and self-confident in our ritual and helps bringing meaning and perfection to our prayers. By being more conscious during our prayer, we implement step by step this underlaying connection with our Master. Life turns out to be a constant surrender to Her.
This way we might be reaching our Psychic Being through prayer.