Recently I had an e-mail exchange with a friend. Some sections from this exchange as noted below, may be of interest to all. I have added a few thoughts that occurred to me, to expand on these statements, as I was reflecting on these statements.
I find myself a little tangled up with the language itself. Praying and God are both words that I associate with my religious upbringing. I find
they are no longer the only language I use to express either the process or
the energy I am in touch with. In my current spiritual vocabulary, praying is asking – in the sense of calling or inviting in, consulting, opening, expanding into. I think of God as Spirit, Source, the Universe, Mother/Father God, Oneness, Divine Energy.**
** Janet Kessenich www.spiralenergies.com
What is expressed above is a progression from a religion centered outlook on God to a philosophic reflection on God. The word for religion in the Sanskrit language is “Matham”, which literally translates into “opinion”. In other words, each religion is a set of opinions expressed by the founder of such religion. These “Seers” saw the wisdom of certain common truths, which they expressed in their own words and opinions. These opinions in due course have become codified into a set of beliefs and a set of rituals to foster such belief system. Hence there are prayers and worship to God, specific to each religion. As one begins to explore the religion and seek the meaning behind the traditions, rituals and beliefs, there comes a progressive evolution in our understanding on these matters, as expressed well by my friend in the above statement. This in turn leads to a progression in our thought and understanding in several dimensions. For example:
God = Idol (for prayer and worship)
= ideal representing an ideal (to be followed to the best of our ability)
= ideal representing a collections of ideals
(leading to a pathway or guidance for our way of life)
= means to focus on ideas and ideals
= means for “guidance, insight, inspiration, strength, peace, ease, patience,
empowerment” – you name it
What I’m asking for is help, guidance, insight, inspiration, strength, peace, ease, patience, empowerment – you name it. More often than not, I ask for qualities, rather than specific outcomes. For example, when I ask for “inspiration” to help me with a problem, I am asking for ideas, rather than limiting myself to a solution. After asking for inspiration, I notice what comes into my thoughts and begin to discern if it is something to try out. Generally, no matter what I’m asking about, I hold it for the highest well-being of everyone involved (which just about covers it!) and which often brings in a better result than I could have envisioned on my own.
In the above statement, there is a deliberate emphasis on reflection and analysis in our world of faith and action. Instead of merely jumping into the fray and then finding out what needs to be done and why, there is a deliberate effort to step back and reflect. Faith or belief in a larger order is used as source for such reflection. Such reflection is an excellent starting point for a gradual progression in our understanding of the “problem” on hand. This gradual progression or evolution within can be traced as follows:
Ignorance: I am not OK! (I have a problem, but don’t really know what it is!)
Turbulence: I am OK you are not OK! (“You” are the source of my problem)
I am not OK you are OK! (“Í” am the source of “your” problem)
We are not “OK”! (“We” in a narrow or limited context, have a problem (and each problem is quickly replaced by the next one!))
Knowledge or Understanding :
I am OK, you are OK! (We have a “situation” on hand)
We are OK! (We have a “common” need)
We are all OK! (The “need” is seen in a progressively larger context; at this point we also learn to “smell the rose in our hand”, rather than merely “being fixated on the thorn”- the problem – in the stem.)
We (progressively expanding) are all OK! May every one live in peace and harmony — Sarve Jhanaha Sukino Bhavanthu (The emphasis is on spreading the fragrance of the rose, rathet than merely belabor on the thorn and its impact).
OK and not OK — what does it really mean? Are there any such constraints ? (Both the sweet smelling rose and the sharp thorn – are they not integral parts of nature?).
You and the Universe are integral in each other — Thath Thwam Asi!
I and the universe are one and the same –Aham Brahma
Universe Exists — Consciousness is Brahman — Pragnanam Brahma
A word of caution to the readers. Do not become over whelmed with the above possibilities. Nor should one become disenchanted with the thought, “this is too complex and there is no hope”! Neither is warranted. It is merely a pathway to the journey. No one ever climbs this sequence of evolution in all aspects of life. The very effort for such progression, even in one problem or in one subject matter or thought is sufficient, according to the scriptures***.
*** Bhagawath Geetha
Aum Thath Sath Brahmarpanam Astu
May all manner of existence be dedicated to Total Self Control and Unattached Active Engagement!
( This is the ending of all prayers, rituals, Vedic chanting, etc!)