What is a prayer? According to the dictionary , a solemn request for help or expression of thanks to God. What about those who are not big on the entire God thing? Do they not get to pray? Is prayer restricted to the religious context? Does it have to be done in a formal context?
For the religious or spiritually inclined, this is a no brainer, almost like breathing or eating. It is done either out of habit, social pressure or belief.
As humans, we seek connections. Connections keep us engaged, alive, happy and most important relevant. They act as both our inspiration and motivation. These connections could be to people, media, art, career, nature or what you may. We flirt & converse with our connections in the way that seems best to us, making us feel significant in this big, wide world!
But somewhere in the dialog we get lost. Either with success or failure. Some of us seek avenues for interference or help when that happens. While others drown their misery in self-prescribed toxins that give them temporary relief.
What the soul really needs in times like these is prayer! Prayer for the purpose of this discussion, is a collection of thoughts, sentiments closest to your heart- your fears, your successes, your dreams, your failures, or whatever you’d like or feel at that moment. It is a dialog between you and the universe that takes stock of where you are and where you’d like to be. It is in my opinion, the most important connection of your existence, because it helps you stay honest to who you are. It is an acceptance of where you’ve come and encouragement to where you’d like to go.
“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”, said William Shakespeare in the play ‘As you like it’. Prayer is the monologue that your character does very often- a chance to shine and enrapture the audience. Except in this case, the cosmos and your soul is the audience. Prayer is your connection with the divine/ power of the universe/ cosmos/ higher calling/ nature (call it what you’d like).
Prayer once done leaves you with immense strength and confidence to chase that dream that seemed impossible to get. It reassures you of the connections you have and helps you filter the genuine from the fake. It has the power to heal your soul and comfort your deepest fears. How does that work, you might ask? Through a phenomenon called ‘Neuroplasticity’ that you brain does very well. It is the ability of the brain to reorganize itself , both physically and mentally. It enables people to recover from injury, illness, depression or trauma. It enhances learning, pushing you to become better. Now with an army so strong, all you need is ammunition befitting royalty.
Prayer is that ammunition/ food for your soul and brain. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. There is no particular place of doing this. There is no one person that you need to think about then you do this. All you have to do is be yourself, close your eyes, focus and connect, and start talking, singing, dancing (your preference of medium). Bar your soul, make those emotions flow. Believe me when I tell you, you will only come out stronger. The more you do it, the more this connection will strengthen. The more insight you will gain into your life, leading to both confidence & humility. But you have to believe in a power greater than yourself- some call it nature, some call it God, some call it cosmos while others call it divine. Why is that important? Because the first step to becoming better is to feel humble, to feel the need to become better. Only when the windows of the mind and heart are open, can others be allowed to come in? If we don’t look down and see how far we are from the ground, how can we gauge how far we need to go to be able to fly?
And when you believe in a power greater than yourself, this power becomes your prayer mate for life. That someone who you will come to believe as having the ability to take you through mental/ physical storm and winds. Not to mention, as humans we tend to work better in groups/pairs. It gives us a feeling of importance that reassures our intelligence and existence. So this prayer mate, could not have come in at a better time.
How do we prayer- again there is no right or wrong way of having that dialog. Maybe start with gratitude for the things that are right in your life. And then recap of things that are disturbing you and why- confession of sorts. Thoughts on maybe how you can fix them, if possible or request for help or reinforcement.
Prayer is the doorway to spirituality and peace, that does not necessarily involve a particular religion. Religions are just pathways to gain peace and discipline with prayer being their tool. There is no copyright on that tool, that tool is for all to use and benefit from.
While I understand we’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg here and there is lot of room for discussion (in the interest of brevity, of course) , I hope this article stimulates you to reach into your soul and find those connections to lead a peaceful and blessed life.
For those needing more tools to make those connections, feel free to reach out.
As always, feel free to leave your feedback and comments.
Harleen Bagga Multi-Disciplinary Psychotherapist Self-Awareness Based Transformation Coach.