Meditation and Prayer on the same page sounds like a recipe for heated debate. Those that believe in meditation often think that praying is just religious dogma. These folks haven’t found the essence of meditation. Those that pray, er, religiously may think that meditation is just some new-age nonsense. But they too, have misunderstood one important concept. When meditation and prayer are both thoroughly understood, they are nearly identical. Don’t agree? Then which of the two are you missing out on?
Meditation is really about observation, not relaxation. It is the most important part of the yoga tradition, and it is practiced by people from all religions. Even people that have never heard or spoken the word “meditation” have practiced this art. By opening your mind to the truth, you evolve your consciousness. And as your consciousness evolves, you see things clearer than before, little things and big things. You catapult your understanding of yourself and of the universe.
Do you really want to know the truth about yourself and the universe?
That is the only question that you must ask yourself before you can take your meditation to the next level.
IF THE ANSWER IS NO, then you might as well move on to a different page, because no printed or spoken word will help you to evolve your consciousness if you are happy to go on collecting tidbits of data, chunks of knowledge ad infinitum.
IF THE ANSWER IS YES, then you must be ready to challenge your own beliefs. You must question whether your eyes and ears are capable of showing you reality. They are able to show you but a tiny part of reality.
You do not need to join a class to learn to meditate. From my experience, most meditation classes offer a relaxing atmosphere, positive affirmations and a whole lot of unecessary gimmicks like incense and soft music. There things are all fine, but they are not required for meditation.
You may enjoy and truly benefit from regularly meeting with a particular group of compassionate people. But I believe that you should not wait for the meditation clock to begin. You should start now, and never stop. Firmly ressolve to make meditation your lifestyle. Always be open to the truth, and you will automatically let go of the falsehoods that previously seemed true from a narrower vantage point.
Meditation Myths: Don’t be Fooled by the Fluff
The soft music that is often sold as “meditation music” is great for relaxation, but will not help you meditate. Reality includes many sounds. There is no “magic” music that will increase your consciousness. Simply observe with an open mind, and you will gain more consciousness. Perhaps you will become more sensitive to annoying high-pitch sounds of countless appliances around you. Shut these off and move on with life.
Incense has become ubiquitous in meditation circles. It seems these groups are unaware that breathing in smoke is unhealthy. Vaporized (steamed) essential oils are a much better option for aromatherapy, but they are not essential for meditation.
If you do opt for taking meditation lessons, find a mentor that will phase himself out within three sessions. You learned to drive from an instructor, but quickly dismissed him when his usefulness expired. Merge your practice with your life. Observe everything more profoundly, always. Don’t expect your co-pilot to do it for you.
Famous postures are overrated. Never allow the most trivial aspects of life to keep you from expanding your consciousness. Some yoga instructors can’t see the forest for the trees.You can wave your butt in the air like a dog anytime you want, but that won’t be an exercise in loyalty. Dressing up like a king or a beggar won’t give you the consciousness of these men either. Learn to be loyal, benevolent and free, and you’re more of a yoga master than most yoga instructors. You needn’t curl your legs into the “Lotus Position” to meditate. If you are flexible enough, that position will let you sit for a long time. But if you learn to observe and expand your consciousness in any position, you will soon master The Lotus Lifestyle.
If you lie down, you may fall asleep, but that’s ok too. Your consciousness can expand even faster if you integrate your sleeping time and waking time through meditation. The practice known as “Yoga Nidra” (literally, the yoga of dreams). When your spirit returns from its voyage through dreamland, honour your spirit’s voyage by observing it profoundly upon awakening. In this way you can leverage the power of your dreams to cultivate your consciousness.
The Union of Meditation and Prayer
Growing up as a catholic boy, a few of the sermons were a bit confusing. We are told to live a life of prayer. But we are also taught that in prayer, we should ask God for anything that we need. But can you imagine spending all day, every day, constantly asking God for more and more. Surely that is not what is meant by “a life of prayer”.
For that phrase to make any sense, I first had to find a better way to pray. In my opinion, the best prayer is one where I say nothing, because The Almighty does not need for me to speak. My life is my speech to the the Almighty. If you do wish to speak to God directly, I humbly suggest these three words or less: “God, I’m listening” followed by silence. These three words will open your mind to hear God’s voice in your own heart. You are opening your mind to the truth. And if you spoke those three words sincerely, then you will find the truth.
But beware of the Almighty B.S. detector… if instead of truly listening for the heavenly guidance, you are secretly thinking about that neverending laundry list of your wishes, other humans won’t know the difference, but the Divine Consciousness cannot be fooled.
So, you see, whether you believe in meditation or prayer, you are right. Learning to meditate correctly means to be willing to observe the truth at all times. And learning to pray correctly means the exact same thing.
“Be still, and know that I am God” -Psalm 46