On love and prayer
“Our time is distinguished by wonderful achievements in the fields of scientific understanding and the technical application of those insights. Who would not be cheered by this? But let us not forget that knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life. Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth. What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses, and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the inquiring and constructive mind.”
— Albert Einstein from “The Human Side”
There is much to be learned from Buddha, who lived in the moment and lacked nothing. Likewise, there is much to learn from Moses, who never reached the Promised Land but was sustained daily by manna from Heaven as he led his people on life’s journey in total trust of his God. There is also much to learn from Jesus, who when touched by a bleeding woman who believed in his power to heal, said that he felt the energy move through his body to hers.
In previous columns we have discussed the science through which one’s belief changes everything. In mindfulness meditation, we have begun an inner discovery of ourselves and those beliefs, and in so doing may have sensed God as the Source of All, as He awaits our notice of Him in those fleeting moments between our in-breath and our out-breath.
As Aldous Huxley so beautifully describes this experience: “The divine Ground of all existence is a spiritual Absolute, ineffable in terms of discursive thought, but susceptible of being directly experienced and realized by the human being.” He continues: “Things are a great deal better when the transcendent, omnipotent personal God is regarded as also a loving Father. The sincere worship of such a God changes character as well as conduct, and does something to modify consciousness. But the complete transformation of consciousness, which is ‘enlightenment’, ‘deliverance,’ ‘salvation,’ comes only when God is thought of as the Perennial Philosophy affirms Him to be – immanent as well as transcendent, supra-personal as well as personal .”
For this reason, we look to our avatars as models, and we pray to that personal God, as we understand that God to be. Over a lifetime, our image of God changes, much like a sculptor carves away imperfections in the rock to reveal the majesty beneath. Dr. Andrew Newberg states in “How God Changes Your Brain”: “Some religious rituals do nothing more than relax you, others help to keep you focused and alert, but a few appear to take practitioners into transcendent realms of mystical experience where their entire lives are changed.” He continues: “God can change your brain. . . it doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or a Jew, a Muslim or a Hindu, or an agnostic or an atheist.” As a famous book title notes, there are indeed a great variety of religious experiences to be had. All are valid and all are valuable – both yours and mine – and just as life itself they will change over time.
We patients, united at times only by our disease, have emphasized physical science to the exclusion of the greater part of ourselves – our minds and our very souls. We have done this with the best of intentions, but in our deliberate avoidance of discussions of the totality of who we are, we have suffered. So let us begin anew, each as we are in this moment, borne up by the energies of this holy season.
In the freedom of this new openness, you may also say that you pray to God, or practice Wiccan rituals, or bow to Mecca, or whatever it is that forms your connection to the Source, however each of you defines it.
MPNforum will never be the place to proselytize our unique beliefs. It is a place, however, in which we must, for our own health’s sake, acknowledge the totality of body, mind and spirit. We cannot heal if working only one third of the equation. We must work on the whole – not just one part of that whole.
Beyond the momentary acts of meditation which we have discussed, we have every moment of every day and night in which to approach God on an intimate level through prayer. Crossing all faiths, we repeatedly see four types of prayer: petition, intersession, adoration, and contemplation. In petition, we ask for something for ourselves. In intersession, we ask for something for others. In adoration, an act of devotion directed toward God, we live in constant awareness of Him. Lastly, in contemplation we focus upon our questions and listen for the still small voice to answer them. This focused act of contemplation often includes visualization and creative use of imagery, which we will later explore here in depth.
What I would like to suggest now in this powerful season, is that we allow ourselves to pray to God as we each define that ineffable Being, in petition for ourselves. I suggest further that we pray also in intersession for our community of MPN patients. There is a unity to life which must be recognized. As Jesus once put it “as you do it to the least of my brethren, you do it unto me.”
I once heard Dr. Caroline Myss describe the same principle in this way: If she could magically take us out of our bodies we’d all be like pea soup, blending and mingling energies with each other. Within this energy matrix or pea soup, of which we are a part, it is necessarily a selfish act to be good to others. When we pray for others, we are helping ourselves. When we heal, everyone else heals, and vice-versa.
During my brain stem stroke which was caused by uncontrolled blood counts, I had a glorious near-death experience. I left my body and observed from the upper corner of the room, as the medical staff worked frantically on my dying body.
I saw not only these caring and frightened people around the body I had once inhabited, I saw beyond to eternity. I saw that each action in my life had a ripple effect.
I was immersed in, and an integral part of Source at that moment, communicating without words, outside of space and time. I knew at that moment an indescribable love and peace — the peace that passeth understanding, as the Bible says. I experienced vibration, sound and color that human senses cannot apprehend.
Most of all, I experienced the life-changing reality that ALL that matters is our relationships. What I do affects you, which in turn affects those with whom you interact, and on-and-on in endless waves of impacts.
I came to know personally, like I know nothing else in this life, that everything is inextricably interrelated, and that on the other side there is only LOVE. Now back on earth and in a body again I realize that we all, who now inhabit these multitudes of bodies, glimpse this as if through a fog. We grasp for this truth, we stumble and fall, and we need to humble ourselves in order that the light of grace can pervade us and lead us back home.
And so my simple lessons are these:
(1) Love each other. Love yourself, and it will naturally follow that you will be good to others and will be grateful to God as you understand Him or Her.
(2) Pray believing that your prayers for healing are answered. Do not stop your medical treatments until your doctors tell you to do so, but know in your heart that no prayer goes unheeded, and healing occurs in many forms – not all forms being visible.
(3) Pray blessings upon others, knowing that to do so will lift all of humanity to a higher, more refined level of love, peace, and wholeness. Give of yourselves to your loved ones and all of humanity in the coming days in which we still inhabit these bodies, as we continue to live in this freeze-frame time-and-space play that we call life on Earth.
“Perhaps the healing of the world rests on just this sort of shift in our way of seeing, a coming to know that in our suffering and in our joy we are connected to one another with unbreakable and compelling human bonds.”
— Rachel Remem, M.D.
Your decisions count. Make them good ones, from the heart that you share with God.
So as I offer my blessings to each of you this holiday season, wouldn’t it be a lovely and a LOVING thing to each bless each other in turn? And to let those blessings spread out, as they will, ever outwards until they encompass all of creation?
I acknowledge the Spirit within you, and see you as healed and whole.
Take me back to the Contents
© Patricia Wagner and MPNforum.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patricia Wagner and MPNforum.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.