Thinking of you

There were two things that bothered me about non belief — where to direct gratitude for life’s random blessings and the weak condolence, “thinking of you.”

“Praying for you” meant religious folk got to send prayers up, together, compassionately and with intention. “Thinking of you” seemed to mean I’d consider your plight on my commute to work. And so sometimes I would say things like, “thinking of you like praying people pray.” Some thought that was clever, but it still begged a question. What is it about prayer? How does it go so far beyond thought?

I suppose many could argue it doesn’t really. That praying about someone is a meditation or a focused thinking. But I love the fact that now I can call it more then coincidence when I send out good “thoughts” and good or appropriate things return. I love that I can adhere to a connectedness beyond coincidence when that friend I hadn’t heard from in 3 months calls the day I thought of calling her.

And so, with that in mind, I have been praying for, and not just thinking of, a lot of people who are suffering right now. It’s such a bustling time of year, September, that I pray that their grief doesn’t feel disregarded by a busy world. I have a high school friend whose husband is sick, a college friend who is struggling in marriage, a family friend whose sister just died and another whose son just passed, an aunt whose father is gone, and a new friend who just got diagnosed with cancer. Whew. These folks deserve more than passing thoughts. They deserve prayers.

Do you pray, think, meditate? Does it have power behind / within / through it? If so, why?

 

9 Comments

  1. I love the above. And to comment on the “vending machine” analogy…I have to say it’s more like one of those claw machines that Sage likes. The game is rigged. At least, with vending machines, you’ve got a pretty decent guarantee on your return.

  2. I think prayer is for the person praying–otherwise it’s like asking God to be your cosmic bellhop. I think of it as listening for God or whatever spirit is out there (the one that connects us all) telling me how I can help other people. I’m praying for ideas or opening up my mind to how I can help other people who are suffering or just in need of a phone call. Something like that anyway!

  3. Let me say, once you tear down the fact that there is no magic, then the real magic appears.

    There’s power in the world. But you can only see it after you get rid of this external hovering deity.

    Then you can start to have meaningful prayers.

  4. I rarely reference the words “god” or “prayer” in public unless I am separating myself from them.

    Privately I use them all the time.

    Words, like these, have underlying meaning that get misconstrued by others. They think they know what you mean even though you might mean something completely different.

    I don’t want people to assume they know what I’m talking about when I use those words. I am not exactly sure if I know what I mean when I’m using them.

    All I do know is this literal (or even closely believed) poem called the Bible is for children. It is for people who couldn’t rationalize the plague.

    We have answers for the plague now. And they are much less interesting than “God did it.” Fleas did it. So now we believe in God like we believe there is a UFO sitting in Area 51. We just want something fantastical to be out there. There’s not.

    God is me. I am God. I give thanks to the universe. I give thanks to me. I give thanks to the world. I give thanks to humanity. And often I call them God.

    But I am not spiritual. I am humanist. But I speak internally with spiritual language. I believe in the myth of Luke Skywalker, who is Jesus. I believe in the stories like I believe that 1, 3, 5, 7 will resolve back to 1. These are threads that resonate through humanity. I believe in those things. God did not create these things. Humanity created these things.

    There is no magic. There is no conspiracy.

    This is a non-linear post. It didn’t go anywhere. I’m just putting off getting ready for my next event. But I can put it off no more.

  5. Gurdjieff warns of the dangers of language and definition. He sites the word “man” and how it can mean about 15 things to 15 different people. So we have this word. Prayer. Too often, I hear it used by people who seem to believe they are in the oval office with a red phone with a direct and immediate line to god. Too often, it reflects our tendency towards arrogance and self-centered-ness. If prayer has an affect, it is the change it makes in the pray-er, not because some outside influence responds to the prayer. This brings us to meditation. In my meditation practice, I do often feel like I am “conversing” with an external “power” that is “more than me”, but I don’t have any notions about said power listening. I know that the function of meditation is to change my heart and my mind, not god’s. Ah – that’s it in a nutshell. Look around and see how and what people are praying for. They want god to change. They don’t want to have to change their lives to be in communion with god. I guess it’s a very American take on praying!

  6. Yes, you speak of the vending machine version of prayer. Some might use it that way, but what about H’s thoughts on it? What about your own meditation practice? I read a book where the author said prayer for her was like an acknowledgment of God’s pervasiveness. She prayed imagining God as water on the earth, moving things or moving through and around things, permeating them, or sitting very still.

    But you gotta admit, it is hard out there for a pimp. Perhaps the lead singer of Three 6 Mafia prayed for a life off the street and found it by tapping into a creative energy and optimism, which led to writing about his experiences on the street. Or perhaps that’s pushing it. 🙂 I am a fan of 50 cent myself. He sings a lot about his faith.

  7. I remember one time I asked you if you wanted to play the lottery. You told me to give you a dollar. I handed it to you and you threw it out of the (moving) car’s window. You said something like, “There – you just played the lottery.” I don’t know why this story comes to mind. Or I guess I kind of do. For me, the end of prayer came when Three 6 Mafia accepted the Oscar for best new song “It’s hard out here for a pimp” and thanked Jesus in the acceptance speech. Does Jesus really care who wins the Oscar? Or who wins the high school football game? Or if your friend with cancer dies? It’s gotta be such small potatoes for someone with the responsibility of the universe on his shoulders.

    I prefer to pray to RA. At least I know she will be in the sky for my consideration every day.

  8. Prayer has power to unhook us from the feeling of helplessness. We prayed, we expressed our sincere care for them, and we now can feel a little more like we “did” something and thus, a little less guilty/fearful/confused than we did before we prayed. Does it have power? If you mean you want scientific evidence of a change in status of the prayed for, that gets talked about frequently by prayer groups. I prefer to think of “power” as the case of the power to change our relation to our experience or freeing us to focus on what we can control. If that is the case, then yes, absolutely, and that is reason enough to pray.

    Here is a question to test my hypothesis: do people who *aren’t* struggling benefit from prayer?

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