| tadyatha om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
Neutrality versus Prayer
Mock-ups vs. victim state
Disciplined creativity and faith vs. ego-bondage
Puja versus Seva : which approach gives better results?
Oregon Coast * Rocky River sanctuary
~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Man is what he thinks all day long."
| ONE INTENTION
Pema Chodron. Always Maintain a Joyful Mind, page 79
"Whatever you are doing, take the attitude of wanting it directly or indirectly to benefit others.
Take the attitude of wanting it to increase your experience of kinship with your fellow beings."
|Letter to a client who suggested that "praying for good things " (like world peace) is a good way to make desires manifest.|| |
Thanks for the interesting message. Love the affirmation. But I have a philosophical difference of opinion on mixing affirmation of acceptance with any type of petitionary prayer (below).
I note the difference below between the affirmation (which I like, and find effective) versus a petitionary prayer for peace (which I dislike, and just makes a mess.)
If one is grounded in the neutral space of "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.", what is the conceivable purpose of praying -- for anything?
In my experience the ego-anxiety loaded into petitionary prayer (you God please submit to my control because I know better, please change thus-and-so to suit my viewpoint) completely defeats the heart's (usually) pure purpose.
Having said that, a skillful neutral coordination of self to divine can be very effective in increasing the balanced neutrality (peace) of the planet, and the more people linked in this way the calmed things are.
But neutral awareness is not "praying". It is "Being".
In Catholic school we were taught a piece of dogma which I disregarded until my 30's. Now, I can unpackage it from the authoritarian control energy it was once bound to - and I actually like it :).
The nuns taught that the only legitimate prayers were of ferings of praise, glorification of the divine. We were never supposed to ask for things, except that we were allowed to ask for moral courage, deeper devotion, etc - spiritual changes within ourselves, designed to align us more accurately with God's will."May Thy Will be my will," etc.
In adult practice, I find that petitioning is an act of the ego, and it leads to unhappiness.
Since I don't know the scope and detail of the divine plan; from what knowledge-base do I request those changes? From the anxiety of the ego, and nothing more. So, hah-hah, those old nuns were right: glorification is the only pure motive for prayer.
Petitioning the divine to use its power to enforce changes in the people around us is total hubris. There is no more offensive, intrusive, authoritarian, and toxically anxious energy in this universe than the penetrating, manipulative energy which a conscious psychic can feel when someone has "prayed for them."
Conscious people realize that a clear psychic space is the sine qua non of spiritual development; consequent to this consciousness they would not dream of manipulating another person or planet by"praying" for it.
In the end, petitionary prayer is manipulative and damages spiritual neutrality. The Supreme Being knows what It's doing.
We don't need to petition all the time with anxious, insecure"do this, do that" requests for changed circumstances. Trust that things are already just right - right here, right now, absolutely right.
Each person and each experience has been calculated in advance to provide exactly the correct karmic opportunity. Don't beg to change it. Use it in the provided form. Reality is holy fuel.
| THE GROUND OF RENUNCIATION
by Pema Chödrön, p. 112
| "It's probably good to think of the ground of renunciation as being our good old selves, our basic decency and sense of humor. |
In Buddhist teachings and in the Shambhala teachings, as well as in the teachings of many other contemplative or mystical traditions, the basic view is that people are fundamentally good and healthy.
It's as if everyone who has ever been born has the same birthright, which is enormous potential of warm heart and clear mind.
The ground of renunciation is realizing that we already have exactly what we need, that what we have already is good.
Every moment of time has enormous energy in it, and we could connect with that."
|Prayers of Praise|| |
Prayers of praise preserve neutrality, deepen humility, and encourage the supreme happiness of true faith. It's ironic, but petitionary prayer is actually a symptom of lack of faith.
If I have a few items left in my"heap" of samskara (old unrealized desires carried forward from parallel lives ) I do have a natural and spiritually authentic desire to accomplish things, have experiences, be recognized socially etc. Fine, fine - the whole reason we compulsively reincarnate is to burn off this big heap of unfinished obligation/desire from parallel lives .
Let me express my faith in the plan by first recognizing my desires and honoring them, then *offering* my desire to the Supreme Being in request of approval.
That's what a mock-up is: the vivid vision of a desire realized, formed in the imagination, sealed with certainty and trust, then sent off to the divine like releasing a helium balloon into the bright blue sky. Off, off it goes... and you now it got there, because faith always works. (It just may not always work the way your preconceptions expected it to work!)
|The Mock-up: Psychic Visionary Intention|| |
A mock-up is NOT a petitionary prayer. It is not superstitious, (giving away my power to something outside myself). I am not acting like a victim and saying oh, there's nothing I can do about this, I can't participate, I don't have any choice - I have to wheedle and manipulate the Divine to get anything done. Spiritually, praying for changes is disempowering and invalidating to the pray-er, and invasively manipulative to the people they are praying to change.
By contrast, the mock-up begins with my taking responsibility for my own desires. I am not praying to change other people, I am making a commitment to change myself. Ah, here is a power base. I am not investing my power in anyone outside myself. Other people do not, in fact, have any inherent control over me - although, it is probably the most widespread and popular of the low-consciousness Big Lies that they do.
desire for perfection,
craving for control,
ambition to"get ahead"
Yes, desire is the root of all evil and we'd all like to burn that heap of samskara right down to a pile of ashes and get off the wheel of suffering and death. Yes. But right now I have plenty of heap left. I acknowledge my desires, and I take responsibility for the process of realizing them. I do not ask, beg, whine, or demand that the Divine confirm the righteousness of my desires and make changes in all the people around me so that I can get what I want.
Rather, I acknowledge that those desires are mine, and that making changes in other people is precisely NOT what gets my desires cleanly and neutrally realized. I am responsible for achieving the consciousness necessary to skillfully make the changes in myself, to neutralize my own resistance to my desires, and most importantly to not blame others for my spiritual failures nor invest them with the power to make my spiritual success.
Blaming other people (or investing them with control power) only perpetuates the ignorant cycles of guilt (I carry blame for your failure) and grief (I take responsibility for your loss.)
Basically, the Plan is already made - a long time before we take birth. That Plan is set and maintained by the divine. The closer I align myself with that plan - which is to say the more faith I invest in the inherently divine goodness of life - the happier I will be.
BUT! We all come in with a carry-forward Heap of Desires (samskara). We are tasked to accomplish these desires in order to to be free of them in the future. When I am not realizing my desires I don't feel good at all, and all this faith business seems like a lot of baloney.
Manipulation and Achievement of Desire
Surely, other people need to be manipulated in order for me to accomplish my goals. For a lot of people, one of their biggest ego-membrane goals is to be Right - which means alot of people need to be forced to do things my way. What better method to accomplish my goal of being Right Good and True than to pray for world peace (surely that's Right) or long life and other assumed ultimately good outcomes.
Nope... Changes as small as growing healthier fingernails and as large as ending world hunger must begin and end with myself. My disciplined capacity to neutralize blaming and scrupulously avoid the victim state (giving my power to others) is the absolute and irreplaceable foundation for the realization of desires large and small.
|Manifestation of the Mock-Up|| |
No matter what my desire, whether it is apparently selfish (I want a chocolate bar) or apparently altruistic (I want world peace) -- the fact that you want it makes it YOUR desire. And you are responsible for manifesting it. And the only way to manifest a desire is to remove your resistance to achieving it. Resistance is fear. Remove your fear of having a chocolate bar and it will be remarkably easy for you to enjoy one. Remove your fear of armies, ethnic warfare, chaos, injustice, bad-parent authority figures, etc. etc. and you will be able to realize world peace. No kidding. You can do it - in fact, you have to do it.
Mock-ups are conscious and responsible. They are clear, self-acknowledging pictures of our internal desires which we *offer* to the divine in respect of its supreme glory - not a bargain or a deal, not a demand for ego-righteous be-on-my-team social validation.
Petitionary prayer perpetuates bondage to the victim state."Let thy will be Mine" is a way of saying something fairly crazy, which is 'let my ego-limited view of the world and the anxiety-driven urgency of my ego-membrane determine the outcome of the divine plan." Luckily the divine itself is completely immune to this sort of childish tantrum - but the manipulative, invasive, critical, authoritarian, control intention which motivates this sort of prayer does penetrate the psychic space of unconscious people, and many live in a toxic-aura state of fearful mind-control because of it.
Mockups (and affirmations) are intentional, non-manipulative, and based in true faith - faith in the inherent goodness of a Plan which I do not fully comprehend, but which I trust."Let my will be Thine" is a mock-up - let my consciously recognized desires be achieved as I remove my own obstacles (karmic fear, lifetimes worth of resistance) to their realization, while I live in a state of faith.
A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.
| 14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso |
An Open Heart : Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life .
Nicholas Vreeland (Ed.), afterword by Khyongla Rato and Richard Gere.
"We have the ability and the responsibility to choose to direct our actions on a virtuous path.
When someone deliberately makes a resolution not to steal, if he or she is simply motivated by the fear of getting caught and being punished by the law, it is doubtful whether engaging in that resolution is a moral act, since moral considerations have not dictated his or her choice.
In another instance, the resolution not to steal may be motivated by fear of public opinion:"What would my friends and neighbors think? All would scorn me. I would become an outcast."
Now, the same resolution may be taken with the thought"If I steal, I am acting against the divine law of God." Someone else may think,"Stealing is nonvirtuous; it causes others to suffer."
In the practice of Buddha's doctrine, if your underlying consideration in avoiding a nonvirtuous act is that it would thwart your attainment of a state transcending sorrow, such restraint is a moral act."
updated:05 February 2017
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| "And now my friends, |
all that is true, all that is noble,
all that is just and pure,
all that is loveable and gracious,
whatever is excellent and admirable -
fill all your thoughts with these things."
~~ Epistle to the Philippians 4:8