A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘prayer’

Cute ~

Puppies and Kittens

As that one woman in your office can tell you (or if you are her, no need), cute pictures of snuggly, doe-eyed little critters touch a soft spot in us humans. Baby schema — the set of features that make young animals appealing, like big eyes and a head too big for the body — have been shown in experiments to capture people’s attention, make them smile and even induce caregiving to others. Oh sure, the boss may seem tough, but one look at a basket full of puppies and he’ll want to rub you right on your little belly.

A study published online this week by the journal PloS ONE suggests that viewing cute images not only makes people feel better, but improves performance in completing certain tasks.

Oh my! A study to explain why might show something that the wise ones have been saying for millenia. Genuine compassion is what is needed for this world to function better. Lol, I know that seems a bit simplistic, but it’s true. When we care, we are careful. Anything evoking that caring part of our personalities will function to bring us into a state of mind that will cross our “t”s and dot our “i”s with more precision. We can be as efficient in many ways as a surgical machine, but without compassion, we are just going about our tasks on automatic drive. That’s why we cannot find a way to make a computer surpass a good Doctor’s worth when it comes to patient care.

I love the very thought of this. It so completely shows that we are in need of compassion, even in the mundane tasks of the day. The more we care, the more careful we are, even when it comes to tying our shoes. I suspect that this was marketing research for anime that simply surprised those conducting the study regarding the deeper implications of it. But how magnificent is that? A simple market study about cuteness finds that we as humans are hardwired to function better when the caring part of our personalities is tapped! I dare say that you will find with deeper study that this is why those who can harm animals easily and without purpose are inclined to become serial criminals of a violent and harmful nature.

Compassion is teachable! It is important to begin the teaching in early childhood. If we do this, we will enhance our existence beyond our wildest imaginings, and find true happiness is something that can be unleashed here on Earth.

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Sacrifice ~

egoThere are some occasional hints that Creator considers prayer and praise offerings as significant as any other offering. (See Leviticus 7:12 & 19:24), perhaps even more so. This is something many churches have learned to practice, singing praise songs for a good twenty minutes before anything else begins. But, I want to look at why these should or would be considered a sacrifice to Creator. Throughout the Holy Writs, from Bangkok to Cairo, there is much said about the release and renouncing of the Egoself.

It is, in fact, a difficult thing, dealing with the egoself, that part of us which is the pride of head_and_brainlife. When we believe that we have accomplished all that we have done with no help from other humans or Spirit, we become rather unbearable in our dealings with others. We become “prickly” and “proud”, making no attempt to be diplomatic when speaking or acting out our plans. This is part of human nature, part of the programming in the human brain, taking pride in accomplishment so that we can survive in a tough world. However, it is a bit of programming that needs to be placed in a subordinate roll if we are to function as creatures within a structured society.

Our Creator knows full well how we are made, and I believe this is why there is recognition in the holy writings that we must sacrifice this tendency to pat ourselves on the back and learn to praise, pray and give thanks for all that comes into our lives, and even the opportunity to learn. When we learn to do this, we begin to deal with life through our own spirit, rather than through our own ego. It can be a wonderful experience, as much of the learning that comes through our spirit is intuitive and flows more cleanly between the heart and the head, allowing us to deal in compassion with our fellow travelers.

Sacrificing the ego is not an easy thing, it is the practice of humility, of knowing when to be silent and when to speak. It means working always with an eye toward the needs of others so that they may function and contribute to the “cause” as well as possible. One other thing. Sacrificing our egoself may be more difficult than laying down our physical lives, as that is a once for all sort of move, but sacrificing the self-praise “machine” is an action that must be repeated hour by hour, day by day.

“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up.” Deepok Chopra

As Dr. Chopra points out, be careful, you might end up truly happy if you learn to sacrifice the egoself.

The Lord’s Prayer ~

I found this “place” on the web doing a search for the translation of the Lord’s Prayer by Neil Douglas-Klotz. It is so worthy of marking, I felt I had best interject it into my blog in a way that others would see it quickly, thanks for stopping by!  spiritheart.org

The Lord’s Prayer ~

I mentioned in my post on prayer that I wondered why the Master had combined a couple of traditional prayers from his parent faith and called them sufficient. I have been privy to study this prayer under a man whose knowledge of the Christian Bible was also built up with a knowledge of Torah and Talmudic tradition and Jewish history. Since an article from Ontario, Canada states it as well as any, I will quote it here.

Known by Roman Catholics as the “Our Father,” the Lord’s Prayer is probably the best-known prayer in Christianity, primarily because it is the only one explicitly endorsed by Jesus.
It appears in two places in the New Testament. In the Gospel of Matthew, it is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, while in Luke, a disciple asks Jesus how to pray, and Jesus obliges with the now-famous words:
“Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
Where did Jesus get it?
Rabbi Bernard Baskin of Hamilton, Ont., who has studied the prayer’s roots, offers an explanation. “Jesus wasn’t a pagan or a Greek. It came from the Jewish tradition almost phrase by phrase.”
The Interpreter’s Bible, a well-known Christian source, agrees. The Lord’s Prayer “is thoroughly Jewish,” it states, and nearly every phrase is paralleled in the Jewish liturgy.
What makes it a Christian prayer is not its language but the fact that it was promulgated by the fount of Christianity, says the Rev. Dan Donovan, a theologian at Toronto’s St. Michael’s College.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus himself first prays, and then teaches the Lord’s Prayer. “He is drawing us into his prayer,” Donovan said. “The (issue) is not so much the actual words, but the fact that Christians pray it as the prayer that Jesus taught, and in some sense, as a way of sharing in his prayer.”
In his book, “Jesus and the Judaism of His Time,” University of Toronto scholar Irving Zeitlin cites line-by-line parallels between the Lord’s Prayer and the Jewish mourner’s prayer, the Kaddish (“May (God) establish His kingdom during our lifetime and during the lifetime of Israel”); the Eighteen Benedictions (“Forgive us our Father, for we have sinned”); Talmudic prayer (“Lead me not into sin or iniquity or temptation or contempt,” goes one); and other Hebrew scriptures.
That means Jesus “brilliantly” condensed important Jewish ethical teachings, while also summing up the essence of what would become the Christian faith, says Darrell Johnson, a teacher at Vancouver’s evangelical Regent College and author of “Fifty-Seven Words That Change the World: A Journey Through the Lord’s Prayer.”
“The Lord’s Prayer gathers up all of life and brings it before God. Jesus brings the wide range of concerns the Jews would bring to prayer and just boils them to these six petitions.”
Catholics and Protestants, meanwhile, have differed on the use of the last line, known as the doxology — “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.” Protestants generally use it, while Catholics added it to the Mass just in 1970.
Scholars agree the line was in any case probably lifted from the Book of Chronicles, in which King David is quoted: “Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor.”
Given its Jewish roots, Johnson feels the Lord’s Prayer is “so wonderfully inclusive that any religious orientation could pray this prayer.”

The “only glitch” he sees is the reference to “Our Father,” and that has nothing to do with religion.
“That would be the bigger problem for a number of women who find it hard to address God in male language. If I were in leadership, I think I could nurture a climate that said, ‘This prayer, minus that problem, includes us all.”‘
The biggest irony, perhaps, is that Jesus himself might never have uttered his own prayer in a public setting.
“When you pray,” he counsels his followers during the Sermon on the Mount, “go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”

For me, there is also another irony, I do not believe my rabbi had any intention of being known to all as Lord, I still believe all of that is added on by folks who either in ignorance, or worse, in full knowledge of their defiling intent, made a God-man of a Jewish rabbi who taught love and peace in a radical manner, and knowingly changed the four known gospels to reflect that untruth.

I must admit to being grateful to the idea that some parts of his teaching came through unspoiled, but I had to go to other sources besides the church to find that out. It is for that reason that I do not consider myself necessarily Christian, but follow a spirituality that honors the One God above all else. To me, the prayer we know of as the Lord’s Prayer, is very much a pattern on which we can form our prayers, knowing that, if we follow the simplicity of his thought before us, we will be addressing every one of our needs before Hashem.

For further study, Emmet Fox’s teachings ~ I have found no reference that he studied Judaism, to know the origin of so much of Y’shua’s wisdom, though there is much wisdom to be gleaned from his take on almost anything spiritual.

Prayer ~

Do you pray aloud? Or maybe you pray silently, in your mind. Do you “picture” G-d when you pray? Do you focus on an object or perhaps a flame? Do you think of your prayers as going out from you? Or maybe inward, toward your “inner light”? Is praying about reciting a shopping list? Or is it about praise? Why did Y’shua combine a couple of prayers from Jewish tradition and call it sufficient, as though to recite the one prayer in every circumstance would be all we would ever need to do? Was this supposed to be “it”, or a pattern on which other prayers were to be formed, understanding that if we grasped the reason for each phrase of that prayer, we would know how, when and what to pray, always?

Each sect of each belief system has it’s different traditions about this particular act of faith that vary so widely that in all of it’s permutations, it is often difficult to believe that one extreme is related to another. How can a Pope’s supplication for the people have the same weight in God’s ears as the prayers of a child? Yet, there are many who believe the Child’s sincere prayers are heard long before the adult’s no matter the earthly “station” of the adult.

Prayer is something about which I have more questions than answers, yet, it is not that Hashem has not answered my prayers, many times. In fact, all of my prayers get answered, it’s just that some get answered with a “no” rather than a “yes”. However, Hashem has often enough said even “no” in such a way that I knew that my prayer had been “heard”, lest I believe I was simply “blowing in the wind”.

How to get a “Demonstration” of the Power of Prayer
by Emmet Fox

HERE is one way of solving a problem by Scientific Prayer, or, as we say in metaphysics, of getting a demonstration.

Get by yourself, and be quiet for a few moments.  This is very important.  Do not strain to think rightly or to find the right thought, etc., but just be quiet.  Remind yourself that the Bible says Be still, and know that I am God.

Then begin to think about God.  Remind yourself of some of the things that you know about Him – that He is present everywhere, that He has all power, that He knows you and loves you and cares for you, and so forth.  Read a few verses of the Bible, or a paragraph from any spiritual book that helps you.

During this stage it is important not to think about your problem, but to give your attention to God. In other words, do not try to solve your problem directly (which would be using will power) but rather become interested in thinking of the Nature of God.

Then claim the thing that you need – a healing, or some particular good which you lack.  Claim it quietly and confidently; as you would ask for something to which you are entitled.

Then give thanks for the accomplished fact; as you would if somebody handed you a gift.  Jesus said when you pray believe that you receive and you shall receive.

Do not discuss your treatment (prayer) with anyone.

Try not to be tense or hurried.  Tension and hurry delay the demonstration. You know that if you try to unlock a door hurriedly, the key is apt to stick, whereas, if you do it slowly, it seldom does.  If the key sticks, the thing is to stop pressing, take your breath, and release it gently.  To push hard with will power can only jam the lock completely.  So it is with mental working.

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.

Every time I explore more about Emmet Fox, I find there is a depth of knowledge there that is as helpful today as it was in 1950, his last year on the planet. Do you remember this?

Love Will Conquer
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
no disease that enough love will not heal;
no door that enough love will not open;
no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
no wall that enough love will not throw down;
no sin that enough love will not redeem . . .

It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble;
how hopeless the outlook;
how muddled the tangle;
how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world . . .

Emmet Fox

You used to see these posters all over the place years ago, perhaps we will again. God bless your prayers!

Su

Ceremony ~

Just what need does ceremony fulfill, since Hashem really does not need it, it is for us. That’s why it doesn’t bother the Holy One if one of us sings a Lakota song to the Sacred Prayer Pipe, or another of us throws himself on an altar with a white cloth and cross on it. It took me a long time to realize that Hashem didn’t care where or how you worshiped, so long as you were not worshiping the darker tendencies of evil, or the temporal silliness that is here today, and gone tomorrow. Matt 12:

31 And so I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy. But blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 Good people bring good things out of the good stored up in them, and evil people bring evil things out of the evil stored up in them. 36 But I tell you that people will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Hashem honors prayer whether it comes from a child or an elder, a Buddhist or a Seventh Day Adventist, so long as it is spoken in compassion and love. In fact, whatever you put forth will come back to you, so I am not sure dark prayers are not honored as well, but you will be held responsible for them.

It also took me a long time to realize that since prayer is our line of communication with the divine, the very fact that sincere deep prayers for healing are answered no matter their source, our religion, the outer trappings of what we wear and what we do, has absolutely nothing to do with G-d’s perspective when looking at us. What is seen when we pray is the heart. G-d does not care if you are a Christian, “Do you love?” God does not care if you are a Buddhist, “Are you kind?” God does not care if you are Muslim, “Do you love your fellow human beings from deep inside your very being?”

The “Sin against the Holy Spirit” is calling an answered prayer from a Buddhist an answer from the Devil, because they are not of your faith. The sin spoken of here is to call that which is good evil, and that which is evil good. That doesn’t change whether you are Jain or Native American. The ceremony you use when you pray is to help you focus your prayers. That is all it serves. What is in your heart? If it is good, your prayers will be good, and your faith will be honored.

Anger, there is help . . .

Dealing with my own anger issues has been one of the toughest problems, but one of the most important to accomplish. When I am incredibly angry, the “low” voices are at their strongest, and I can hear them most clearly. Their presence is uncomfortable in and of itself, and reason enough to find ways to deal with this very normal emotion.

For me, and apparently for all humans, intense anger blocks the flow of love. Now, that’s only logical, but, when you think about, and indeed consciously contemplate it, that would explain quite clearly why some one like me is particularly bothered by the angry blockage of that flow.

At the risk of sounding terribly esoteric, I will try to explain this as I understand it. Apparently, there is some sort of tear or opening in the “fabric” that protects the human entity from hearing the sounds, and seeing the events, that happen on subtler, less visible or audible layers of the universe. I wish I could put this in more scientific terms, but I am under the understanding that it has something to do with the bands of light and sound that are normally perceptible to the human eye and ear.

Now, I am not insisting that what I hear is the result of some sane and sober process, because it often feels just the opposite, and I am quick to discourage those who would willingly subject themselves to any “New Age” process that might open one to this sort of thing. Don’t do it, it’s not fun. Learning to live with it has been a harrowing process and I have made many, some disastrous, mistakes in the learning process!

Now, put that insight into practice in that this “window” or tear leaves me open to hearing “low” angry, nasty destructive voices. When I open myself, however, to love and release my own anger, the flow of the loving energy “blocks”, if you will, the sound of the “low” voices. This was one of the most important steps in my development, and happened under the minstering of “Charismatics”, which is why I will not label that way of life as evil. They did me much good. It is simply that, like all human perspectives, they are not perfect. Oooops, neither am I.

The next step in my learning, however, came from a Buddhist teacher who showed me the benefits of “letting go”, completely, of all attachment to outcomes. I will not say that I have been a resounding success at this, but most of the time I am able, sometimes with much prayer and meditation, to let go of my “right” to expect the results I want from what I do, or even from what others do. It is extremely helpful in that I get angry less often when I succeed at this, and am able to relax and let the flow of love keep the disturbing voices at bay.

It is here that the mantra, “Grant me the serenity, courage and wisdom . . .” has been of great service in my life. I am most grateful to AA for making their teachings public, and most grateful to Dr. Neibuhr for development of that prayer.

EDIT ~

12.3.2008, looking back to see what I had said, I find that I did not give the name of the Buddhist teacher whose worked helped me so much. Since his teaching is quite available to the public, that is unfair. Thich Nhat Hanh is his name, the book is Anger, Wisdom for Cooling the Flames. Excellent learning resource, and comes in CD as well.

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