Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:43-48

I listened to the BBC Sporting Witness episode on Eric Liddell, the Flying Scotsman. As a missionary in China, he was placed in a Japanese prison camp, started a Bible study group, and encouraged the participants to pray for the Japanese.

I notice for myself how powerful it is to pray for the health and well-being of myself and others, and especially those who trigger beliefs in me. As I pray, an image often comes up of them living in health and happiness, of love flowing from their heart center and filling them and their surroundings, and of them as light and love (as they and all of us and everything already are).

As one of the participants in the Bible group says, this shifts how I relate to the ones I pray for. Love and sincere well-wishing replaces whatever resentment and fear may be there. It’s as if love takes up the space where fear otherwise would be.

When Jesus asked if you love only those who love you, what reward will you get? I find for myself that my reward is to stay in resentment and fear. As I instead include in my sincere prayer and well-wishing the ones I tell myself disturb me, the reward is love – a love that is all encompassing and all inclusive of myself and others. This is the perfect love that already is here, that we all already are and everything already is, and which I prevent myself from seeing, feeling and living when I am caught in resentment, fear and beliefs.

When I pray for others, I often pray for those close to me and myself, include the wider circles (family, friends, city, country, all humans, all beings, the Earth, all beings in the universe), and also the ones I sometimes have beliefs about. Sometimes, I start with the latter group, and include myself and those close to me. And sometimes, I go back in time in my own life, praying for myself and others in situations that triggered beliefs and fears in me. I may also pray for groups of people, all humans, or all beings, in the present, past and future.

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Asking and prayer

 

In addition to others explorations, I often ask and pray.

Most often, I ask for guidance, to be shown what’s next, to be shown what I am not seeing about something, and for deep resolution at all levels (which includes finding peace with and loving what is).

It sometimes repeat thank you as a mantra and prayer, as an invitation for myself for a shift into gratitude, recognizing the gratitude that’s here, an expression of gratitude, and an exploration to see what happens when I include everything in my life – and especially what I tend to not feel grateful for – in this gratitude.

At times in my life, I have explored the Heart Prayer, saying Lord* Jesus* Christ** (in breath), have* mercy* upon me** (out breath) with the breath and heart beats (*).

I sometimes pray for the well-being of others, either individuals or groups including all humans, the world as a whole, and past and future generations. (Yes, also past.)

A year and a half ago, I asked – sincerely and deeply – to be shown what’s left, no matter how it would look. (As they say, be careful what you pray for – you may get it. I got plunged into primal terror and dread for weeks and months afterwards.)

And sometimes, I ask for something else. For many years, I asked for a life of service, benefiting myself and others, and I sometimes still do. A few days ago, I asked for my health to improve and for a good life (in a conventional sense), while also continuing clarifying and exploring new layers. At this point, it feels compassionate to ask for a good life in a conventional sense, along with a continuing maturing and clarifying.

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Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry

 

 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in me, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me,

Christ with me

– 0 –

The sacred Lorico or Deer’s Cry was composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433. Knowing of an ambush to kill him and his followers, St. Patrick led his men chanting it as they passed through a forest. They were transformed into a deer and twenty fawns, and thus St. Patrick and his men were saved. Pärt composed the work in 2007 and it was first performed in Louth the following year.

– 0 –

This is one of the most beautiful songs I know. And it reflects a common practice in several different spiritual traditions. For instance, both in Christianity and Buddhism, one of the basic practices is the visualization of Christ / Buddha above and below us, on either side, in the front and behind, and in the heart. And there is also the “walk in beauty” prayer attributed to the Navajo.

A prayer, and image of a library collapsing

 

Before falling asleep, I asked myself what my most sincere prayer right now would be.

What came up, after a while, was a prayer for resolution at all levels of my life.

As I engaged in this prayer, noticing how sincere it was, there was an image of a large and tall library full of books collapsing.

It was clear that I didn’t know, and couldn’t know, how this resolution would look. It means something outside of anything I am familiar with from own experience and from what I have heard or read from others. It may well mean letting go of much or all of what I have put my faith in – in terms of ideas, identities and identifications.

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Shifting relationship to life

 

Situations and experiences always change, so my best option is to shift how I relate to it all.

The Work helps me shift how I relate to thoughts – about myself, the world, any experience.

TRE helps release tension, which helps me shift so I relate to any experience from a lower baseline of stress and tension.

Ho’oponopono shifts how I relate to situations that bother me. I take responsibility for having created them (whatever I see reflects my stories and what’s here), ask for forgiveness, and remind myself of my love.

Asking for help from God (Christ, angels) opens up for a larger wisdom and kindness (Big Mind/Heart/Belly) than what’s here as who I take myself to be (a particular human being).

Breema reminds me of my wholeness as who and what I am, which in turn shifts how I relate to what’s here.

Noticing what’s here helps me coming into more conscious alignment with reality. What’s here is already accepted. What “I” am is that which any experience already happens within and as – including any images of an I, me, a world, and someone relating to something else.

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El Collie on prayer

 

Ask and You Shall Receive

Spiritual teachers from almost every sacred tradition impress upon their followers the need to ask the Universe for help. When the African shaman Malidoma Some was asked what people might do to transform themselves and the planet, he replied: “The first thing is to get into the creation of sacred spaces in which one can begin to pray to spirit… to acknowledge spirit’s influence in our lives, and to boldly, and daringly ask spirit for guidance… it is to be willing to wake up every morning and say to spirit, ‘I don’t want to handle today, so why don’t you just take over and I’ll follow. Just guide me.'”

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May this benefit all beings

 

May this benefit all beings.

This simple little prayer is very helpful.

When I am in a difficult situation, it is a reminder to work with and through it.

When I am in an easy situation, it is a reminder to use this opportunity for my own and others benefit.

I also find that the prayer/intention helps moderate the roller-coaster of up and downs, it gives me a steady focus independent of the situation.

It is also a reminder: What I am experiencing is an universal situation. Working with the situation in a constructive way benefits myself and those around me. And it is not all about me.

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Prayer: Let this change me

 

A simple prayer: Let this change me, in the best possible way.

Whenever I encounter an experience or situation that is stressful to me, or I experience as difficult or challenging, I can ask life (God, Spirit, Buddha Mind, reality, the Universe) to allow it to change me.

To change me in a yin way, in how I receive it.

And to change me in the yang way, in what I do about it in the world.

In this way, I make myself available for change. I invite receptivity. Curiosity.

I ask myself, what does life ask of me in this situation? How can I receive it in a more sane, mature, wise, and kind way? How can I act on it in a more sane and mature way?

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Prayer is worth more than ten dollars

 

I passed a homeless man in Portland last night, a refugee from New Orleans, and gave him some money. He took my hand, looked me in my eyes, and said:

I will pray for you and your family tonight, and you will pray for mine.

And then as an afterthought:

Prayer is worth more than ten dollars.

It was one of those heartfelt and deeply human interactions that brings a deep sense of meaning to life.

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Prayer w. true meditation and self-inquiry

 

Prayers continues to be an important thread in my life…

Sometimes with words and visualization, sincerely wishing all good for others (without exception) and myself.

Sometimes with words, asking for guidance and to be shown the way.

Sometimes visualizing Christ (or Buddha) in my heart and in front, behind, on each side and below and above me. (Christ meditation.)

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Prayer of Surrender

 

Come, Most Holy Spirit Come, Spirit of Grace. Come Our Healer. Come Risen Lord. Come our beloved teacher.

Lord, my heart is in need of You. The depths of my heart cry out to You. I wish to open myself entirely to You. I desire that you penetrate me completely, that I belong to You. That you enter into my heart, that only you dwell there. I desire to love you eternally. Fill me with your Holy Love. Strengthen me and be with me always.

May your Holy Name be Praised.

I pray for you Lord, for every person, for every heart that is beating for You. Answer their prayers. Do not allow any of them to be lost. The life passes so quickly. Allow us to become aware of what is important, to not lose ourselves, but to gain You. You are the only center of our lives. Only with you can I know what and who I am.

Come, Lord. Come, Most Holy Spirit. My heart is waiting for you. Amen

Fr. Zlatko Sudac’s Prayer of Surrender.

Ways to work with the dark night

 

I am no expert on how to work with or relate to the dark nights, but here are some things that seem helpful to me….

First, all of the usual practices can be helpful, whatever they may be. Ethics. Work in the world. Relationships. Inquire into beliefs. (Including those about the dark night.) Allowing experience as it is, as if it would never change. Be with experience, in a wholehearted and heartfelt way, with kindness. Be with emotions, with heart and kindness, allowing them to unfold and change as they want. Tong len. Rejoicing in others happiness. Jesus prayer. And so on.

And one that is especially helpful for me now is to explore how the dark night appears in each sense field. How does it appear, whatever it may be? (Despair, aridity, grief etc.) Is it content of experience, as any other experience? And then also notice the doer and observer of this inquiry. How does the doer + observer appear in each sense field? Are they content of experience as any other content of experience?

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Need a little help

 

Tank: Got him! He’s on the run.
Neo: Mr. Wizard, get me the hell out of here.
Tank: Got a patch on an old exit, Wabash and Lake.
Neo: Oh shit…. Help. Need a little help.
Tank: Door…. Door on your left. No, your other left…. Back door.
– The Matrix (transscript)

When I first watched The Matrix, I was touched by this moment of honesty and humanity. It is a little out of character for a hard-core action movie, but then The Matrix is more than that.

As always, it is a reminder and a question.

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Let Your will be done

 

What are some of the ways of working with let Your will be done?

In general, it makes sense to do what needs to be done in a conventional sense. Acting in ways that seem appropriate to whatever situation we are in, with whatever kindness and insight is available to us.

And within this, nurture an attitude or orientation of let Your will be done, and also notice that it is already so.

I can use it as a prayer, in a sincere and heartfelt way.

And I can take it as a pointer, a starting point for inquiry, and maybe notice that it is already so. God’s will is already done, in everything that happens, including that which I take as initiated by a doer here.

I can notice that through the headless experiments or the Big Mind process.

I can inquire into causality, finding infinite causes to everything that seems initiated by a doer, leaving the doer as nothing at all.

I can explore the sense of a doer as it appears in the sense fields, maybe finding it as a gestalt made up of sensations and images. And finding only a story saying that this gestalt initiates anything.

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Asking for it

 

A couple of weeks ago, I set the intention for whatever has not been seen/felt/loved yet to surface. (Knots, beliefs, emotional attachments.) Whenever I do so, I get a few weeks of amazing intensity – usually involved many nights with hardly any sleep.

It is good. And I also see the intelligence inherent in the process. It backs off a little when daily life requires my attention, and turns up the volume when space opens up – mostly at night! And if I ask for the volume to be turned down for a few days, that happens as well.

It is a beautiful process, although certainly not always pleasant. Even in the midst of recognizing all as awakeness itself, as the play of the infinite, there is a great deal of intensity and sometimes contraction. As always, to the extent it is resisted – and that happens at times, it is uncomfortable.

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For the benefit of all beings

 

The basic Buddhist pointer of living for the benefit of all beings has a great deal of different effects.

It places my life in a larger context. It reminds me that I am a part of this world, of this larger social and ecological whole. It is not all about me.

It helps me see that my life not only influences myself but also everyone around me and rippling out from there in ways I cannot know.

It brings a shift from working against situations (complaining, resistance, victim role, making someone wrong, sense of drama) to working with situations (receptivity, open heart, sense of ease and simplicity, practical solution focus).

It invites in a sincere well-wishing for all of me and the larger whole. (If there is well-wishing here, it meets whatever happens in this human self and the wider world.)

It helps me see that just a small shift here, even just in intention, is a shift in the world as a whole. It brings about a shift in how I relate to myself and the wider world, and that benefits myself and those around me, and ripples out from there. It helps me appreciate the value and effect of small moves.

It may look like a noble aim, but it is really just a very practical and simple tool. It makes my life much simpler and easier in daily life.

In practical terms, it is a simple prayer or a setting of intention: May this practice benefit all beings. May whatever I am doing benefit all beings. May this life benefit all beings.

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Verbal prayer

 

Some forms of verbal prayer that I find very helpful. Nurturing and opening of the heart.

  • Prayer for the well being and awakening of all beings (including myself), and also for specific beings. (Some version of “May all beings find well-being and awaken.”)
  • Dedication of practice to the benefit of all beings. (“May this benefit all beings.”)
  • Expressions of gratitude. (Including the mantra “thank you”.)
  • Heart/Jesus prayer. (“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me” said with the breath and heart beats.)
  • Songs and chants. (The traditional Christian hymnals work well here too, much good stuff there if taken a certain way.)
  • Reading poetry of well-wishing and gratitude. (Rumi, Hafiz and others.)

I do these verbal prayers in my native language, since it seems closer to my heart. And I also use each of these as a mantra, repeated in a heartfelt way over and over, often while bringing attention to the heart.

Forms of prayer

 

Any tool is fair game, as long as it works and seems appropriate to the situation.

Many nondual folks are familiar with contemplative prayer, visualizations, heart prayer, Christ meditation and similar forms on prayer where a receptivity to and invitation in of the soul level is the main emphasis, possibly shifting into realized selflessness in glimpses or more thoroughly.

The more common forms of prayer, those where we ask about something specific, also have their place. They are a part of any comprehensive toolbox. They can be used as in Buddhism, to ask for awakening for the benefit of all beings. This sets a clear intention, which in turn helps reorganize and align our human self with this path and may even have effects beyond that.

And of course, prayers for the health and well-being of ourselves and others have their place. Again, they help realign ourselves with that intention. And it opens our heart. It opens for a sincere well-wishing for ourselves and others. And both of those spill over into our actions.

As with visualizations, these forms of prayer may (or may not) have an effect beyond how it works on us, in how the world shows up on its own.

In either case, the effect it has on us is more than enough reason to sometimes engage in them.

They set a clear intention for ourselves. They help realign us with that intention. They open our heart. They open for sincere well-wishing for ourselves and others.

And sometimes, especially in extreme situations, they may be comforting if that is what we need.

(And if not, if we are invited into being wholeheartedly with what is coming up and we use these forms of prayers as an escape, they – and anything else we do to try to escape – are likely to not work.)

Jesus Christ

 

A simple way to look at Jesus Christ…

Jesus was the human being, reorganized within the context of a soul awakening (alive presence, oneness) and quite possibly a nondual awakening.

The soul and nondual awakening is the Christ part. The awakening to who/what we are at the soul level, as this alive presence, and what we are as awakeness and this field of awakeness and form inherently absent of an I with an Other.

When we engage in Christian practices, such as the heart/Jesus prayer (brief prayer with the breath/heartbeats) or the Jesus meditation (visualizing Christ in the six directions and the heart) we invite our human self to reorganize within this new context, we tap into the particular Christ flavor of soul level awakening (one that I experience as especially fiery in the heart and on top of the head), and we invite what we are to notice itself.

Divine feminine

 

mellonmadonna.jpg

During the retreat, there was a shift into an immediate and very personal second person relationship with the divine feminine, one that reveals the divine feminine in its universal and intimately personal aspects.

In the past, second person practices has been more directed to the divine masculine, but now, probably from the shift and deepening into endarkenment, there is a deepening intimate second person relationship with the divine feminine.

None of this has been from choice, or from any conscious views, as I have for a long time been interested in and appreciated the divine feminine as well as the divine masculine. But the direct connection happens at a different level, outside of conscious views and choices.

So some of the second person relationships with the divine that are alive now are…

  • The divine masculine, with its sense of clarity, luminosity, and detachment, with void and luminosity in the foreground.
  • The divine feminine, with its velvety smooth, round, full, luminous blackness, and a sense of a gentle embrace and holding of all forms… including this individual and everything within this individual. Here, smooth fullness and gentle embrace is in the foreground.
  • The indwelling God, with its alive presence in the heart region, for this particular individual, with alive presence in the foreground.

The divine masculine is related to the head center, and filters Spirit (itself) through the head center as void, detachment and luminosity. The divine feminine is related to the belly center and filters Spirit as the smooth full luminous blackness. And the indwelling God is related to the heart center, and filters Spirit as alive and infinitely intelligent, loving, receptive and responsive presence. Each one is noticed through (even a partial) awakening of their respective centers, and each one filters Spirit in a particular way through this center.

All of these share the same qualities of infinite intelligence, love, receptivity and responsiveness, in their universal and personal flavors.

Each one is void, transparent to the void, a manifestation of the void, and also within and as all forms. For the Indwelling God, it is its quality of alive presence which appears within and as all forms, although now with a more universal quality.

Each one has universal and personal aspects. They are revealed as universal, as void, and within and as all forms. As impersonal, as void and a manifestation of the void. And also as uniquely and intimately personal in their immediate relationship with this particular individual.

Each one is explored through second, first and third person relationships… as a you, I and it. And also through a zero person “relationship” with an absence of I and Other.

(For me, each center, and the impersonal and personal aspects of what is filtered through each center, have been revealed at different times, which allows for a clearer differentiation within all of this… there is a benefit to resistance and blocks which reveals Spirit one piece at a time…! If it had all happened at the same time I may not have been able to differentiate it in this way, and that would have been OK as well.)

A few days before this shift, I bought a used book and found a picture of a beautiful icon of a Black Madonna with child stuck between its pages, and I put it up on the wall. It perfectly illustrates the experience of this immediate second person relationship with the divine feminine.

(When I just now looked up icons of Black Madonnas, I found it as the Russian 18th century Fedorovo icon. The picture above is a different one.)

Prayer and the indwelling God

 

My prayers have been quite different since the alive presence in the heart area came up around Christmas. This alive presence which is infinitely loving, intelligent, intimate, personal, receptive, and responsive. A fragment of God right here, for this individual. The indwelling God.

My old prayers were directed outward in space, and had a yang quality, as talking. Now, these forms of prayer seem a little noisy. Instead, there is just a very quiet and simple going to the alive presence in the heart, and an equally quiet and simple intention, more like a whisper.

The content of the prayers is maybe not so different, but their quality is. Going to the alive presence in the heart area. Quiet, still, like an intimate whisper.

Praying for knots to unravel, for a deepening into humanity and awakening, for living a life benefiting all beings, for all beings being freed from suffering, for all beings awakening and blossoming deeply, fully and richly.

Christ meditation

 

I did the Christ meditation last night, and noticed a new shift and a few familiar things as well.

In the Christ meditation, I visualize Christ in my heart, and in front and behind, on the left and right, and above and below, about 5-8 feet out. Christ can be visualized as a presence, a light, or even in the physical form of Jesus, depending of what resonates the most and gives the strongest sense of presence. For me, a combination of presence and golden light seems to work best.

Soft alive loving intelligent receptive luminosity

The difference this time was the quality of the light. This time, it had a soft rounded quality, as a soft luminous deep infinitely loving, intelligent and receptive luminosity, with an alive presence. It has the deep velvety quality of the fertile darkness, and the aliveness and love, intelligence and receptivity of the alive luminosity.

In my dream that morning, the fertile blackness took on the qualities of the alive luminosity, revealing itself as luminous blackness. And during this meditation, the luminosity took on the deep soft quiet qualities of the fertile darkness. They seem to be revealing themselves as just two facets of the same, in different ways, with one in the foreground, then the other.

Directions

I also noticed the experience of the directions again, as I often do.

The front seems to have to do with my conscious daily life and interactions.

The back with my individual shadows, maybe shared with people in my groups such as culture and nationality, and in general what I tend to be unaware of in my daily life.

The sides with community and relationships with humanity, animals, plants and the Earth.

Above with traditional yang spirituality, such as transcendence and ascension.

And below with deep feminine spirituality, and also deeper collective shadows.

Placing, or noticing, the Christ there allows the light of awareness into these realms, allowing them to reorganize within the light of consciousness.

Unique quality

I also notice the unique Christ quality. It involves the heart center, but so do anything else related to Big Heart, such as Avalokiteshwara (Chenrezig, Kanzeon, Quan Yin). It involves the head center as well, especially the crown. But it also has a very distinct quality, a fiery alive presence that I have not experienced with anything else.

Tongues of fire

I also took the opportunity to look at the tongue of fire in the mirror afterwards (I know this is weird! I am definitely pushing my comfort zone by writing about this.) It looks like a cylinder of very clear light attached to the crown, maybe about 1.5-2 inches wide and 5-6 inches tall. When I move my head around, it follows exactly, as if solidly attached to the crown.

So it doesn’t really look like a tongue of fire, but it is very understandable why it may be described – and depicted – that way. It is of clear brilliant light, attached to the top as a flame to a candle (!), and it also has the fiery quality of the Christ presence itself.

Tongues of fire

 

When we worked with the Hebrew letters on Sunday, sounding and visualizing them above the head and at the three soul centers, we used letters with tongues of fire above them.

It reminded me of one of the most surprising experiences in my life. In the years following my initial awakening, I did did the heart prayer and Christ meditations and visualizations along with a more Buddhist practice, and along with everything else happening, I noticed an unusually intense activity on the crown on my head. The awakening also allowed me to see energies, and as I happened to walk past a mirror following an especially alive Christ meditation, I saw a flame on top of my head.

It was hugely surprising to me as it seemed to reflect the descriptions in Acts, which I up until then had taken as purely metaphorical. Now, it seemed that it was far more than metaphorical. The tongues of fire is a literal description of what happens when we connect with the Christ consciousness and energy. There are literally tongues of fire, energetically, activated at the top of our heads, and visible in our energy systems.

I am also surprised by drawings and paintings such as the one above. It is just about exactly what I saw, and see whenever I immerse myself in Christ practices. Have these artists seen it for themselves? Do they intuit or sense it? Do they base it one representations made by others who have seen it? It is probably a combination, and different for each artist. But it is still surprising, and beautiful.

Music and prayer

 

As with just about anything else, my draw to food, movies and music goes through the usual fractal cycles (longer cycles over years, seasons, months and weeks, with short cycles overlaid going over weeks, days and hours).

So my music listening goes from 60s lounge to baroque (Bach, Marin Marais) to world (Mari Boine, Carlos Nakai, Hun Huur Tu, Yossou N’Dour), to renaissance (Palestrina, Victoria) to pop (Sting, Kate Bush, Stereolab) to religious (Rachmaninov’s Vesper, Sister Marie Keyrouz, Russian Orthodox) to folk music (Agnes Buen Garnås) to contemporary (Jan Garbarek, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Arvo Pärt) to romatic (Shubert) to other genres.

Music as prayer

This weekend, I got into an Arvo Pärt phase, and am reminded of music as prayer.

His compositions, such as Passio, Arbos, Tablua Rasa, Te Deum and others, are prayer in the form of music, and they resonate with and awaken prayer in the (receptive) listener. Wherever our center of gravity is, the music closely mirrors, reflects and awakens our relation with Spirit as a Thou.

For me, listening to Pärt brings me right into the deep, full, rich and all-pervading sense of mystery, awe, unspeakable beauty, longing, pain, passion, joy, bliss, and disappearing of any separate I as any heart-centered and deeply felt prayer do, such as the heart prayer and Christ meditation.

While our center of gravity is still in a segment of the totality, prayer in any form – including music, can help us shift out of it and taste selflessness.

And after the awakening to selflessness, prayer and music can awaken the same sense of awe, beauty, longing, pain, joy and bliss, and work in and throughout our human self, allowing it to mature, deepen, become even more of a vehicle for Spirit-awake-to-itself in the world of phenomena.

Heart Prayer

 

The Heart Prayer was very alive for me some years back, and is now coming back more.

The basic form is simple: Come to the breath and/or the heartbeat, and say a simple prayer in the rythm of the breath and/or the heart.

The words can be…

Thank you, thank you, thank you – to open for gratitude for life, allowing an atmosphere of gratitude to permeate our life, where all of life’s experiences are included.

Or more traditionally, Lord Jesus Christ (on the inbreath), have mercy on me (on the outbreath) – to open for a connection with the divine in the form of Christ and allow it to to work on our human self. The inbreath is the ascending, the inviting in. The outbreath is the decending, the surrender and letting go.

In any case, this invites an atmosphere…

of prayerfullness which awakens and enlivens the heart.

of receptivity to life, as it is.

of surrender to the divine and to life as it shows up in the present.

which – after just a few days – tends to continue throughout the day and even through sleep.

that works on our human life. Our human life soaks in it – realigns, knots unravel, we find a deepening peace with what is, and so on.

Christ Meditation & Prayer

 

When I lived in Norway, I engaged in the Christ meditation and heart prayer daily, along with sitting meditation, and appreciated it very much. The effects were powerful and blissful, and gave a passion and zest to my life.

Since then, I have focused mostly on sitting practice, and over the last few years have felt the passion fade. Today, I engaged in the Christian meditation and prayer again, and the passion returned almost immediately and is brought into the rest of my life.

Both practices are wonderful, simple and powerful.

The Christ mediation consists of sitting in meditation posture or on a chair, with the hands at the heart – holding the heart, in Christian or Buddhist prayer position, or with the heels of the hands at the heart and opening up as if receiving something poured down. I then visualize Christ – in the form of light – in my heart, and five feet in front of me, behind me, at either side of me, below me, and above me. Music such as Arvo Part’s Passio (or other compositions) and Rachmaninov’s Vesper is a great help in coming to a prayerful/receptive atmosphere.

The Hear Meditation is similarly simple, and can be done any time. It follows the heart beats and the breath. On the inbreath and with the heart beats, say (loud or within you) Lord (1) Jesus (2) Christ (3), and on the outbreath and with the heart beats Have (1) mercy (2) with me (3). Pause for a few heart beats, then repeat. This practice is described in “The Way of the Pilgrim”. My experience in Norway was that after a relatively short while, this prayer becomes continuous – day and night. A part of the mind recites it with the breath and heart beats – continuously.

With both practices, I experience a golden/clear light throughout awareness and in/around the body, especially centered in the heart and the crown. There is a passionate, fiery and joyful energy, and a deep humility and gratitude, that is quite different from what I experience in regular sitting meditation. Today, possibly because it is so long since I engaged in either practices, I experienced a shot of golden light coming down from the point above me during the Christ meditation. It shot down through the crown and into the heart, followed by a rain of golden light. My crown area has been very active since then.

For me, sitting practice is very good for resting in the part of me that is not this body/personality, for spaciousness, clarity, insights in the nature of mind, and for equanimity (from allowing experiences to unfold within spacious awareness).

Christ meditation and prayer brings something else in. It has the same effect of allowing me to rest in that part of me which is not the body/personality, but adds passion, joy, love and fire. It seems more directional and engaged. There is a stronger sense of passionate fullness and richness.

The combination is wonderful.