Prayer And Meditation

Do you pray? Do you meditate? Maybe you do both.

What is prayer and meditation?

You can find a meme for everything nowadays, and prayer and meditation are defined in this one.

We Like To Define Things

As humans, we have a need to explain and define things. It makes us feel more comfortable to think we know what things are. It makes us feel a little more safe when we think we understand something. It even gives us a little illusion of being in control.

Now, most of us would admit that, in truth, we're not in control of anything, but that's easier said than believed. So, off we go with our definitions clutched tightly to our chest.

Then again, perhaps we are, indeed, talking and listening as we pray and meditate. This idea captures the duality of the breath in and out and an exchange of giving and receiving.

Here, we have a statue of St. Francis sitting on a hill that overlooks the valley of Assisi in Italy where he often came to be in prayer and meditation.

Prayer And Meditation Are A Circle

Where does the beginning of a prayer become a meditation and when does a mediation start to slip into a prayer? I would propose that they co-exist in a circle. Without a beginning or an end, we constantly meet ourselves at the start of a prayer and at the end of a meditation session.

As he sits outside on the steps in Assisi, a Franciscan monk lifts a prayer to the heavens.

Expand The Light Within

With use of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®),  you access whole, universal energy that illuminates your prayers and meditations. With TRT®, you bring expanding light to each breath, every time you pray, every time you sit in meditation.

With our ongoing use of TRT®, we move in the direction of our lives actually becoming the prayer or meditation, whatever we are doing.

Better Than A Hallelujah

Sometimes when we pray and meditate, we find ourselves facing aching tears, sorrow and anguish. In these moments, we fear our prayers are not heard. Perhaps our meditations are not "holy enough" to be considered worthy. 

Have courage, and know you are held within a great light in both the good times and the bad. Your tears and your laughter are all a melody within the heart of the universe. 

Amy Grant captures this in her heart-expanding song: Better Than A Hallelujah.

 

When You Are Meditative The Whole Day

Consciousness Is A Continuum 

Meditation cannot be a fragmented thing.

It should be a continuous effort. Every moment one has to be alert, aware and meditative. But the mind has played a trick. You meditate in the morning and then you put it aside. Or you pray in the temple and then forget it.

Then you come back to the world, completely unmeditative, unconscious, as if walking in a hypnotic sleep. This fragmented effort won’t do much.

Consciousness is a continuum. It is like a river, flowing constantly. If you are meditative the whole day, every moment of it – and only when you are meditative the whole day – the flowering will come to you.
— Osho
 

Does this happen to you? You meditate in the morning, then you jump up to get ready for work and off you run into your busy day.

The next time you connect to mindfulness or meditation is in the evening when you get home.

Oops. What happened during the rest of the day?

Meditation Throughout The Day

In the beginning of our journey, it's not uncommon that we "pop in and out" of a deeper awareness. It can be a challenge to bring the awareness from our meditations into our minute-to-minute lives that are stuffed full of outer activities.

Even if our goal is to have less busy-ness, sometimes we don't have a choice. Work demands gobble up our days and time-consuming obligations take us further away from our own center point.

Whenever you remember, bring yourself back to the awareness. Don't beat yourself up over forgetting. It's okay. It's part of the path in our personal growth.

Expanding Your Awareness

Once you have studied The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you are able to use TRT® hands-on throughout your day. TRT® enhances your dedicated meditations and also benefits and expands your awareness throughout your busy days.

You can integrate mindfulness into your daily life, such as when you get ready for work, while you are at work, watching tv at home, whatever you may be doing. It's effortless with the use of your TRT® hands-on, for example, with just one hand placed in a position in the midst of talking, walking or in a meeting.

Integrating TRT® into your daily life doesn't make more work for you. It doesn't require extra effort. It's easy to blend your TRT® hands-on into daily activities; TRT® makes it simple to bring increased awareness to all you do.

The more you practice, the less separation there is.

Allowing you to expand your knowingness of wholeness and to be in touch with the continuum of consciousness.

 

 

Imperfections As Part Of The Path

Imperfections And Acceptance On The Path

 
We must be willing to be completely ordinary people...,
which means accepting ourselves as we are without trying to become greater, purer, more spiritual, more insightful.
If we can accept our imperfections as they are, quite ordinarily, then we can use them as part of the path.
But if we try to get rid of our imperfections, then they will be enemies, obstacles on the road to our self-improvement.
— Chögyam Trungpa
 

From the book The Myth of Freedom by Chögyam Trungpa.

Does the line “willing to be completely ordinary” make you cringe even just a little bit?

Competition In Everything

Being ordinary isn’t what we’re taught in our society. Competition reigns supreme in our outer world and that means you’ve got to be greater, better – no matter which game you're playing.

Run faster, leap higher, stay up later, have more projects than the other guy, and yes, shine brighter, be more enlightened, than your meditating neighbor. You'll find competition even in the "game" of meditation.

Naturally, we are all growing and striving to be the most authentic that we can be — and yes, we want to lessen or even eliminate our faults.

But, the first step is the acceptance of who we are?

Well, how could we begin without it?

Finding Acceptance Within Ourselves

On days when you are being particularly hard on yourself, the above quote is a nice reminder to be more gentle. Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can support themselves on the path with ongoing use of TRT® hands-on (Radiant Touch®).

Use of TRT® supports us to be the observer. It’s like turning up the lights in a darkened room. With increased light, we’re able to see more clearly.

TRT® hands-on helps us to relax into a deeper awareness of ourselves, gently and lovingly.

 

Freedom On The Path

The fact that Chögym Trungpa chose the title The “Myth” of Freedom is a bit daring, don’t you think?

Isn’t that the dream of all meditators — to be free? Free from it all? And yet, many of our teachers remind us that the path of meditation is not an escape.

There’s no escape from ourselves.

What is freedom? Where is it? Is it inside or outside of us?

Open portals are all around us.

Step through the gateways that you find in your meditations.

 

Micro-Cosmos, Up Close And Personal

Welcome To The Micro-Cosmos

In our last post, we looked at the Macro-Cosmos in terms of galaxies and the Constellation of Leo.

Now let's explore nature in the other direction, into the Micro-Cosmos.

We could choose many levels of the micro-world, going in as far as neutrons and protons. However, we'll stop at the level of insects and snails.

The World Of Tiny Creatures

In the first photo, a spider guards her eggs. Captured in macro-photography, we are drawn to these magical orbs. Photographer is Ondrej Pakan.

Pakan has over 2,000 photos on 500px that represent hours of patience and getting up early with the dew and the dawn to capture, up-close, the insect world. It's a world we don't normally see from our vantage point.

Here, we have morning dewdrops on a fly.

Pakan writes:

 
It’s always a big surprise for me to find out how many species, forms and colors exist in this kingdom.
I see the things around me a bit differently after each visit in this micro-world.
I try to look at them in their own way.
 

Feathers On Mosquito Antennae

Lush feather-like hairs on the antennae of this mosquito capture the slightest movement of air. Many humans would like to have lashes this lovely. 

The breath of life breathes upon all tiny animals and they spring into existence. They pirouette in the dance of life in their miniature worlds. Their secret lives spin around us and we stand beside them in the same experience of birth and death. 

Who can say their lives are of "less" importance?

Perhaps we don't need a designation of greater or lesser.

Curious Snails

Take a look at the photography of Vyacheslav Mischenko. His work focuses on the wonders in the land of snails. 

In this link is a collection of many of his snail photos. You'll come away with a new appreciation of this under-valued creature.

Mischenko's photos capture the evident curiosity of these snails. 

They may move at a much slower pace in comparison to us, yet snails are not any less vibrant with life and wonder.

Liiving With A Heart Wide Open

When we run through the days of our lives, we tend to scurry past everything and miss the details around us.

We can pause, even just for a moment, and open our hearts to all the quiet secrets the world has to share with us

Explore Our Micro-Cosmos

Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can use their TRT® hands-on in their heart center to bring them more in touch with listening to and becoming aware of the little ones on our planet.

Students of The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique® can direct energy to any small creature of their choice.

In our meditation, we start from where we began, as star stuff with the Macro-Cosmos and then travel to the Micro-Cosmos where we share this planet with all of God's creatures. 

From stars in the sky to a spider web at our feet:

 
The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff.
— Carl Sagan
 
 

A Butterfly In Your Radiant Hand

The Fluttering Of A Butterfly's Wings

 
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which,
if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
— unknown
 

Sharmon Davidson, artist

 

Butterflies Inspire Our Imagination

The metamorphose from wiggly caterpillar to cocoon to "flying flower" enchants us. 

Butterflies flit about our gardens, sipping from flower centers, in the intricate dance of pollination. 

Is that a smoldering tango that we see between butterfly and flower? Or an airy waltz?

Our hearts smile as we watch a butterfly's crooked flight path on the warm air. These tiny creatures fill our sense of sight, but what if we could perceive them at a micro-cosmos level?

What if we could actually hear their feathered wings in flight, beating upon the air, just as we can hear a bird's wings?

What if we could hear the siren song of a flower as it calls, coaxing the butterfly to take a delicate sip?

What a melodious mini-duet that would be.

A Butterfly In Your Radiant Hand

To enjoy a butterfly, stomping and yelling are not terribly effective. Rather, focus on moving gently or holding still. "BE the flower," I can hear the Zen teacher intoning.

Imagine yourself sitting in a meditation. You radiate such stillness and peace that even a butterfly feels safe to rest gently in your Radiant Hand – like the first image above.

You may not actually have butterflies landing in your hand (although you never know), yet this is a lovely image for our meditations. It supports us to remember the energy of stillness and goodwill to all creatures of this Earth.

 
Only your surface is disturbed; in your deepness there is stillness and total tranquility.
— Bryant McGill
 

Butterfly Spiral In Your Heart

In this artwork a thread comes from another level and then turns in a counterclockwise spiral within the heart – imagery that reminds me how The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) gives us access to universal energy. The use of TRT® hands-on allows us to go deeper, to become more aware of the loving energy in our hearts and in existence.

You always access harmless energy with the use of  TRT® hands-on and when directing energy as taught in The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique®.

With the use of TRT®, we launch on a discovery journey.

Stillness Within Us

Exploring the energy of stillness we see that it can be found within us. The world spins ever faster, we, ourselves, are running madly sometimes, yet this stillness continues to bear silent witness.

Are we aware of it?

 
When you gaze out on a quiet, peaceful meadow, next to a still pond, under a motionless blue sky, you wonder how the noisy, busy cacophony of life could have arisen from such silent, motionless beginning.
— M..
 
 

Meditative Stillness In A Galloping World

Meditative Stillness

 
Meditation is the journey from movement to stillness,
sound to silence.
— Sri Sri
 

A lovely meme from the The Art of Living organization reminds us of the meditative process of movement to stillness.

However, because our lives are not a straight line, but rather an ongoing spiral – meditation also takes us back again from stillness to movement.

We are always in motion, but the balance between stillness and movement often becomes askew.

Our Modern To-Do List

Our modern lives are stuffed full of activities all the time. I'll bet you noticed. Upload a photo on Facebook, make sure you tweet something, email, text, call someone, watch a video. In the meantime you should also follow everyone else's Facebook posts, tweets, emails and texts.

Go to the workplace: work, work, work. 

Go back home: sleep, sleep, sleep.

Go out, go in, go to, go from... go, go, go.

Hurry up and work. Hurry up and sleep. Get up and do it again.

Stillness does not rank high on the to-do list.

Do More With Less

In the workplace, the dreaded phrase "do more with less" is used to justify squeezing more work out of you with less staff and resources to support the workload. Instead of being a terrible thing that should be corrected, "do more with less" has become a workplace badge of honor.

"I work 16 hours a day!" co-workers yell as a battle-cry, "Look at me, that must mean I'm important!"

It's incredible how skilled we are at turning things inside-out and backwards.

Caught in the dusty whirlwind of outer activity, I picture myself galloping like a horse from activity to activity, to yet another activity, and on and on, ad nauseum. Never stopping long enough to catch my breath, to gather my thoughts, or to look up at the bigger picture.

Galloping, galloping, galloping...

Have you noticed in our fast-paced world, there is never a lack of things to be galloping to or from?

Wild Horses Galloping

But we are not herds of wild horses thundering on the Great Plains; we are humans in search of our awakening. Part of that process involves stopping, sitting with stillness and holding space for awareness in our breath.

If we could master stillness, we could then learn to bring greater awareness to our "galloping."

Galloping with awareness. In motion with consciousness.

All this galloping made me think of a popular song from my youth – Wildfire. In 1975, in the days of driving down country backroads in my 3-on-the-column Rambler, I listened to the AM radio. Wildfire was a top hit.

For a little blast from the past – I created my own video version of this song:


Michael Martin Murphey, the songwriter, tells us much of this song blossomed from a dream. In his Story Behind The Song 'Wildfire' he shares:

 
The song came from deep down in my subconsciousness.
My grandfather told me a story when I was a little boy about a legendary ghost horse that the Indians talked about.
In 1936, author J. Frank Dobie identified this ghost horse story as the most prominent one in the lore of the Southwest.
— Michael Martin Murphey
 

You can weave the verses of this song into the context of your personal life. Murphey recognizes the fluidity of the symbolism in the verses and wisely resists trying to limit its interpretation, leaving it instead to each listener.

For me, some of the deeper meaning in this song has to do with cycles – how we come and go from this planet. The hoot owl can be a harbinger not just of death, but of a great transition.

I picture this aging, weathered farmer coming to the end of his life, setting aside the harshness of these outer planes and riding freely in the wind with Wildfire. Naming the horse Wildfire harkens to the inner fire burning brightly inside all of us.

What ideas and feelings does it evoke for you?

Finding Meditative Stillness

Mornings without time-constraints are the ones I cherish – when I have time to do a full TRT® hands-on session of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®).

What a healing gift.

For the many days when time is limited, however, I can still use TRT® hands-on while I'm on the move. We are able to use TRT® all the time, not just when we are meditating.

As we bring more radiant light to everything we do, our awareness of wholeness expands to both our stillness and movement.

Within our use of The Radiance Technique® is the vast, uncharted movement and stillness of the universe.

There's much for us to discover.