Week 11 – Prayer

True Prayer
From Supplements to A Course in Miracles

Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. Why should holiness entreat, being fully entitled to everything Love has to offer? And it is to Love you go in prayer. Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with Love. There is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. That nothingness becomes the altar of God. It disappears in Him.

This is not a level of prayer that everyone can attain as yet. Those who have not reached it still need your help in prayer because their asking is not yet based upon acceptance. Help in prayer does not mean that another mediates between you and God. But it does mean that another stands beside you and helps to raise you up to Him. One who has realized the goodness of God prays without fear. And one who prays without fear cannot but reach Him. He can therefore also reach His Son, wherever he may be and whatever form he may seem to take.

Praying to Christ in anyone is true prayer because it is a gift of thanks to His Father. To ask that Christ be but Himself is not an entreaty. It is a song of thanksgiving for what you are. Herein lies the power of prayer. It asks nothing and receives everything. This prayer can be shared because it receives for everyone. To pray with one who knows that this is true is to be answered. Perhaps the specific form of resolution for a specific problem will occur to either of you; it does not matter which. Perhaps it will reach both, if you are genuinely attuned to one another. It will come because you have realized that Christ is in both of you. That is its only truth.

Prayer and Forgiveness
From Supplements to A Course In Miracles

Prayer is the greatest gift with which God blessed His Son at his creation. It was then what it is to become; the single voice Creator and creation share; the song the Son sings to the Father, Who returns the thanks it offers Him unto the Son. Endless the harmony, and endless, too, the joyous concord of the Love they give forever to Each Other. And in this, creation is extended. God gives thanks to His extension in His Son. His Son gives thanks for his creation, in the song of his creating in his Father’s name. The Love They share is what all prayer will be throughout eternity, when time is done. For such it was before time seemed to be.

To those who are in time a little while, prayer takes the form that best will suit your need. You have but one. What God created one must recognise its oneness, and rejoice that what illusions seemed to separate is one forever in the Mind of God. Prayer now must be the means by which God’s Son leaves separate goals and separate interests by, and turns in holy gladness to the truth of union in his Father and himself.

Lay down your dreams, you holy Son of God, and rising up as God created you, dispense with idols and remember Him. Prayer will sustain you now, and bless you as you lift your heart to Him in ringing song that reaches higher and then higher still, until both high and low have disappeared. Faith in your goal will grow and hold you up as you ascend the shining stairway to the lawns of Heaven and the gate of peace. For this is prayer, and here salvation is. This is the way. It is God’s gift to you.

Forgiveness offers wings to prayer, to make its rising easy and its progress swift. Without its strong support it would be vain to try to rise above Prayer’s bottom step, or even to attempt to climb at all. Forgiveness is prayer’s ally, sister in the plan for your salvation. Both must come to hold you up and keep your feet secure; your purpose steadfast and unchangeable. Behold the greatest help that God ordained to be with you until you reach to Him. Illusion’s end will come with this. Unlike the timeless nature of its sister, prayer, forgiveness has an end. For it becomes unneeded when the rising up is done. Yet now it has a purpose beyond which you cannot go, nor have you need to go. Accomplish this and you have been redeemed. Accomplish this and you have been transformed. Accomplish this and you will save the world.

As prayer is always for yourself, so is forgiveness always given you. It is impossible to forgive another, for it is only your sins you see in him. You want to see them there, and not in you. That is why forgiveness of another is an illusion. Yet it is the only happy dream in all the world; the only one that does not lead to death. Only in someone else can you forgive yourself, for you have called him guilty of your sins and in him must your innocence be found.

Forgiveness truly given, is the way in which your only hope of freedom lies. Others will make mistakes and so will you, as long as this illusion of a world appears to be your home. Yet God Himself has given all His Sons a remedy for all illusions that they think they see. Christ’s vision does not use your eyes, but you can look through His and learn to see like Him. Mistakes are tiny shadows, quickly gone, that for an instant only seem to hide the face of Christ, which still remains unchanged behind them all. His constancy remains in tranquil silence and in perfect peace. He does not know of shadows. His the eyes that look past error to the Christ in you.

Prayer
Prayer is God’s gift. Prayer is not an entreaty. Prayer is a remembrance of the union. Prayer is offered to God as the union and is then given in return. Prayer is a constant song, it is the sound of our connection to God. When we are in constant prayer we have returned once more to our true nature, at one with God. True healing is the return to that state of being when we are once more in permanent connection with God. Once more singing the permanent song of prayer. The sound of the universe, the sound of love.

Sometimes when we are unable to see the world as it really is we need the support of someone who always sees the truth and the perfection. When we are unable to see the perfection in any situation it is a reflection of our inability to see the perfection in ourselves. There will be times, during our growth, that we feel unable to return to the centre. Our mind will be embroiled in the pain and hurt that we cannot return and cannot see the situation as it really is. At this time we turn to prayer. It is here that we use the support of one who always sees the situation as it really is. It is here that we use the support of one who always sees the situation clearly, who always sees the perfection in everybody. We ask Spirit to act on our behalf to see the perfection in us and for us.

There are Spirits and teachers in all cultures and religions who have promised to support mankind until all have reached self-realisation. It is to these that we now send our prayer. We pray to whoever inspires us, to one we know. Pray in the realisation that the prayer will be answered.

As we pray Spirit will answer immediately, seeing the perfection in us and in all others. It is seeing this perfection that heals both. Healing is seeing correctly, it is right minded thinking, it is the removal of separation. Spirit never sees us as separate, always as we truly are. When we pray we are asking for healing. If we are able to come to our heart and bring love into the situation then we too are healing, because we are seeing the perfection and healing our perception of separation. As we bring love we heal both our selves and anybody else involved.

Our prayer can be simple, it is the intent of the prayer that is important. It is important that we understand the intent of the prayer. The prayer is asking for both parties to be healed to be seen correctly. If we pray only for ourselves or pray for someone else to change then we are not praying with the correct intent. We pray for true sight. We pray for both of us to be healed. We pray for the separation, our perception of us being apart to be healed.

Working with the prayer
The power of mantra can be important to us. A mantra is a prayer so deeply ingrained in us we return to it every time we see a situation without God. We use our mantra to help us to heal, to ask for forgiveness and to ask for right minded thinking. Our mantra is our prayer to Spirit to see us as we truly are and to see for us the truth in every situation.

The mantra is our tool to remind us when we are not praying. When we feel totally at one with the world, totally at peace and in awe of the beauty of the world then we are praying. When we have any other sense of lack, anger fear, jealousy or sadness then we are not praying. Here we use our prayer to draw in the assistance. We need to bring us back to that state of prayer.

Prayer is the way of being in connection with God. It is a two way process, we show our appreciation of the world and in return receive the blessing of God. To be in prayer constantly is to be always at one with God. Prayer is a state of being not a state of wanting or asking. We use our prayer as our reminder, to constantly bring us back to that state of being. We allow the prayer to work, to connect us once more with God. Constant prayer then is to be always at one with God, to be in constant communication. We develop this feeling of connection and then try to hold onto it every moment, even when we are not consciously awake. Our constant prayer can be even within our sleep.

When we are not able to connect, to pray truly, directly, we call upon Spirit to be with us, to have mercy on us and to pray for us. In this way our prayer is answered, in that we receive the blessing of God either directly or indirectly. Directly by re-establishing our connection or indirectly by the blessing on our perfect self, even if we don’t see that perfection ourselves with our mind.

The denial of guilt is like constant prayer. When we pray we are asking someone who sees the truth to change our perception or to see the world as it is on our behalf e.g. the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”, is asking Jesus to see the world as it is and to heal our perception when we see it as anything other than perfect.

In effect the meaning of the Jesus prayer is: Lord Jesus, intercede on my behalf. See my perfection and release my guilt, help me to forgive myself, to see my true perfection in my self.

The Jesus prayer is but one prayer. All great Spirits who have devoted themselves with love and compassion to the completion and self realisation for all human beings will assist in this denial of guilt. They see the truth in the world. They see the perfection in every human being and thus when we are unable to see the perfection in ourselves or in others, then all we need do is ask and they will intercede on our behalf.

This intercession is true healing and the healing is given to both parties who need forgiveness, to the person who we see as guilty and to our self. However, first we must recognise within ourself a lack of true sight in any situation. When we see something other than love in a situation then we are seeing ourself or someone else as guilty. When we recognise this then we can ask Spirit to intercede on our behalf, and heal the misperception, both in our self and in others, and to heal us both. Spirit always sees the truth.

We can pray in other situations, where nobody else is involved, but we sense a lack within ourselves. We can pray for forgiveness for something we have done, we can pray when we are fearful and when we are lonely. We can pray when we think we need something, when we have a sense of need.

All these prayers are truly prayers of forgiveness, yet we do not see them as such. We are really asking that Spirit forgives us because we do not see our perfection and we do not trust in God. Although our prayer may be one of asking, it is really one of forgiveness. Our prayer will be answered but unless we understand our prayer then we will expect a different outcome. If we hold onto a specific outcome to a prayer we may feel that it has not been answered. If we see the prayer as forgiveness we know it has been fulfilled.

In our prayer we ask for healing, to heal our perception of lack. In this healing all things are possible because Spirit sees us as we really are, whole and complete. The answer to prayer is healing. If we pray we need to be open to its healing qualities in whatever way they come. Do not anticipate a specific outcome. Spirit works in many ways.

When we pray our prayers are answered immediately. We think in terms of time, our mind is about future events and creating future reality but prayer is a direct communication with God, if that is what we choose. Prayer is immediately answered, it is fulfilled in the moment, everything is put in place now to fulfill it. There is nothing more to do. Our lack of belief, our lack of acceptance of the outcome is about our mind and our attachment to the solution. We assume that the result will take place in the future, but that is because we live in a world of time and illusion of past and future. This is not the world of God. For God there is only now and that now is infinite. For God everything is done now and the result is complete now. For us we use time to judge.

We also judge the outcome of the prayer. We believe we know what is the best outcome and if that is not what happens we feel let down, even betrayed. But that is our attachment. When we pray, we pray to God to act and God acts for the highest good in all circumstances. We may pray for a particular outcome but that is trying to limit God, to impose rules. God will fulfill the intent of the prayer, even if that intent is not always clear in our mind.

The communion, through Spirit, will always be translated or reflected to God in the sense of the highest goal, in that way we should always be clear in prayer what it is that we want. Because it will be translated, our prayer will reflect our intent, our mind, not our words or our judgement of what the outcome should be.

Exercise – Working with the Mantra
This is an introduction to the power of prayer and mantra. Using a mantra or a deeply embedded prayer is a lifetime support to our growth, somewhere where we can always return in a crisis. Remember mantra is a reminder of who we are, when we are unable to find that quiet space inside. It is asking that we are seen as whole and complete, when we are unable to see that in ourselves.

Choosing
First choose a prayer. Choose a prayer which inspires you. Choose a prayer to one to whom you have always been drawn, perhaps one who inspired you as a child. Mantras are sacred and should be chosen and used with devotion.

Embedding
Start to work with the prayer by repeating it over and over again in your mind, for as long as you can and as often as you can. If you want to, and you are in a place where you are able to, repeat the prayer out loud, or just under the breath. Spend several days saying the prayer as often as you can. Keep the rhythm slow and relaxed. When your mind wanders, or you are absorbed by another task, return as soon as you can, or as soon as you remember, to the prayer.

Centring
Once you feel comfortable with the mantra, start to use it with your breath, breathing in and out consciously while saying part or all of the mantra. You may breathe in part of the mantra and breathe out the rest. The breath should be relaxed and easy. This will help to quieten your mind further. Start to breathe the mantra in and out through the heart.

Connecting
As if in meditation, breathe the mantra in and out through each centre, coming up to the heart. After breathing at the heart for a while, then let the mantra go. Relax into the feeling and being of the one who inspires you.

Utilising
In any circumstance when you feel uncomfortable, angry, fearful, frustrated, jealous etc. anything other than a senses of peacefulness, then return to your prayer. Breathe the prayer in and out through the heart. The purpose is to change your mind, to see the perfection. Your intent is to ask Spirit to see the perfection for you. To see the perfection in the situation, in you and in anyone else involved. Repeat the prayer over and over until the sense of peace fills you.

The following are a few mantras which might inspire you, but there are many, many more:
Jai Ma Jai Ananda Ma (Praise and victory to the Mother the Blissful Mother)
Hara Hara Shiva Shiva Hara Hara Mahadeva
Hara hara Shiva Shiva Hara hara Shiva Shanbo
(Destroyer of ignorance and darkness Lord Shiva Great God giver of joy and goodness)
Jai Amma Meera (Mother Meera)
Ave Maria (Mother Mary)
Lord Jesus Christ, Have Mercy On Me (Jesus Prayer)
Namo Kwan Shi Yin Po Sa (Kwan Yin)
Om Na Ma Shiva, Shiva Om Na Ma (Shiva)
Allah Akbar (God is Great)
La iIaha illa ‘llah (There is no God but God – Muslim prayer)
Om Mane Padme Hum (Om the Jewel of the Lotus Flower)
Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One (Jewish prayer)
Om Namo Zun Ji Ha Gong (Zun Ji – Radiant Kingdom)
God you are three, we are three, have pity on us (Aztec Prayer)
Jeshau (the ancient name for Jesus)
O God my God
Light be in me, Light be as me. (Or use Christ, or love instead of light)
My God and my All (Prayer of St. Francis)
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya (Original sanskrit mantra)

What is meditation like?
Meditation creates a state of mind. Once you are familiar with the state of mind then even by just coming into posture, or intending to be still, then the meditative state occurs. It is easy to think that obtaining a meditative state is hard and that it takes time and effort. Yet meditation is a natural state which is easily accessible. The difficulty is not one of achieving it but of recognising it and staying in it. How do we recognise it? How do we know when we have reached a meditative state of mind? It is a state of quiet alertness. It is as though the mind is observing itself.

Exercise 1
This is a simple exercise to help to feel what a meditative state of mind is like. Just sit for a few moments and become aware of your thoughts. Now wait for the next thought to arise. It may be just a few seconds or much longer, but that time before the thought arises is meditative.

Present Moment Awareness
Meditation is a state of present moment awareness. When you were waiting for the thought to arise you were neither thinking about the past nor the future. Here is a moment of peacefulness without stress. The more we can extend the present moment alertness the less we are dealing with the internal stress. Stress is often made worse because we cannot let go. We are either worrying about what has happened or worrying about what will happen. We cannot change what has happened nor are we certain of what will happen but the guilt and the fear eat away at us. By meditating we are stopping the past and the future and just sitting for a while in the present moment away from fear and anxiety.
When we are waiting for the thought to arise we are alert as though ready and waiting. It is therefore possible to be alert not only to our thoughts but to whatever is going on around us. Meditation may initially be a withdrawn state, but it can be a state where we are active and participative with what is happening around us.

To start with this observation requires a lot of concentration, but as the state becomes familiar the mind will enter it more easily. There comes a time when you prepare for meditation and even though the mind is still busy with thoughts, you are aware of the meditative state forming like a quiet space behind the thoughts. It is as though there are two states at the same time, the thoughts and a background stillness. It is easy then just to slip into the stillness.

Connected Awareness
There is another meditative state which we have all experienced at some time. This can be described as connected awareness. In this state we feel as though we are connected to everything else. We have occasionally, naturally and without effort, experienced this state. Often in nature, particularly when we are presented with nature on a grand scale, by the ocean, in mountains, the power of a swollen river. We are touched by a feeling of our own insignificance and size. We also feel it in the first flush of new love, when everything seems bright and beautiful. We feel it the presence of a newborn child, perhaps seeming to touch a memory of innocence. We may also feel it when we are in sacred places, where people have prayed or meditated for hundreds of years.

In this state of connected awareness, we feel a sense of oneness. Of being connected to everything. We may also in this state feel intuitive and guided. It is often associated with the heart centre and feelings of warmth or love. It is a natural glimpse of a meditative state of mind.

Imagine being able to reach that state effortlessly and at will. Part of the purpose of meditation practice is to remind ourselves and make it familiar to us so that it is not chanced upon but accessed. If it becomes accessible then we start to have a choice. We have an alternative state of perception with which to respond to the world.

Exercise 2
Think of an experience that has touched you, e.g. a place or scenery that moved you. Picture it in your mind and try to recreate the feeling of that experience in your body and emotions. Stay with it as long as you can.

Expanded Awareness
There is another state of meditation which we can all experience, but is less accessible and available. This state of mind seems that it cannot be created at will. It happens when it happens. This is a state of expanded awareness. In this state we are no longer aware of ourselves as a separate entity, body, mind, emotions, but we feel as though we are part of everything. This is a glimpse of our true nature.

Because there are no bodily experiences, this is a less practical meditative state, in that we cannot easily use it in daily life. But it does give us a direct experience of what we are capable of, it expands our conscious thought and helps us to remove self imposed limitations.