"In Wonders We Sail, Questing for the Answers in Veil"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Power Of Prayer

Prayer is a means of connecting your heart with the Divine, thereby allowing grace to flow and touch your heart. The heart is the seat of absolute, transcendental Truth. A prayer that truly comes from the heart transcends all boundaries and has the power to destroy all bondage.

The power of prayer is so immense that it has an unfailing effect on the mind and heart. Prayer changes intellectual dialogue into spiritual contemplation, transforming our normal emotions into devotion. Because it quiets our mental chatter and calms emotional turmoil, prayer creates the environment for the inward journey. One of the biggest problems that meditators face is preparing the proper mood. It is true that meditation makes the mind one-pointed and tranquil, but when we are already in a bad mood it is difficult to sit down and meditate. That is where prayer comes in.

Prayers can be repeated aloud, which does not require a great deal of concentration. The meaning of the prayer helps us organize our emotions, calm them, and turn our attention toward the Divine, the object of our prayer. Thus prayer is a technique for making the transition from mundane to divine awareness. But this is true only when the prayer comes from the heart. Prayers should not be said in a perfunctory manner. Prayer can be a complete path in and of itself, leading to the highest level of realization, provided it is genuine and not a mechanical regurgitation of some lines we have committed to memory.

Yet even the act of memorizing prayers and repeating them mechanically has some value if the prayers are authentic-that is, if they are prayers which were revealed to the saints and sages. Revealed prayers came directly from the Source, and because of this, they retain the power to transform and heal. This power is further intensified when such a prayer has been used and passed down for a long period of time. For example, people have been using the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi for several centuries and so it has gathered immense energy. When you say this prayer from the heart you are repeating words that have touched the lives of countless people and allowing yourself to become part of an ever-flowing stream that reaches its destination by its own virtue. A prayer composed by an ordinary mind may induce a pleasant feeling, but it will not have the same effect as the prayers of saints such as Francis, Narada, and Tulsidasa.

When we repeat an authentic prayer our mind and heart are purified, and eventually the higher virtues of love, devotion, and faith begin to unfold within us. When these prayers fill the deepest recesses of our heart, the mind automatically travels inward to enjoy their subtle vibrations, and meditation begins spontaneously. The spiritual history of both the East and the West is replete with examples of saints who had never heard of meditation but, due to their intense practice of prayer, were blessed with meditative minds.

Prayer and Remote Healing

Prayer has an immense power to heal. Through prayer we can heal both ourselves and others, but there is one condition: the prayer must be selfless.

Healing at a distance through what is called remote prayer is possible. The prayer acts in much the same way that a remote control device acts in operating a television set. We may not see the connection between the remote control and the television, but the energy being emitted from the source (the remote control device) is being received by the television. If the battery is dead, the remote control will not work. It is the same with remote prayer. Selflessness and uncondi-tional love are the batteries. Without them, the prayer has no power.

According to the Yoga Sutra the energy emitted from prayer is eternal and cannot be sent forth in vain. This is also the secret of a blessing. Both intense prayer and blessing are at work in the process of an authentic spiritual initiation. You may pick up a mantra from a book and practice it for a long time without seeing much result - but if you receive the same mantra through initiation you will perceive a distinct difference. Initiation must be accompanied by intense prayer and unconditional love. If either of these components is missing, the initiation loses its power.

Prayer is also a means of unfolding our own willpower and connecting ourselves with the Divine within. It is an invisible thread of sounds connecting the individual with the Supreme, and it is strengthened when spun with feelings of faith, love, and total surrender.

Prayers that burst from us when we are confronted with life's calamities are too weak to connect our heart with the Supreme. The same is true of the prayers we say by rote or as part of a ceremony. The formal practice of prayer involves choosing a specific prayer and focusing our mind on that - but when we do so, the selection of the right kind of prayer is of the utmost importance. The best prayers are those that have been revealed to the saints and sages, and because they have their origin in divine experience, such prayers are capable of leading the mind and heart to that experience. These prayers are al-ways accompanied by anahata nada, the eternal music that is always playing in the interior of our being.

www.HimalayanInstitute.in - Online bookstore featuring the collected works of Sri Swami Rama and Pandit Tigunait.
www.YogaInternational.com - Thousands of articles, videos, and eCourses from the Himalayan Institute's world-renown faculty, including Pandit Tigunait.


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