WRITING PRAYER AND MEDITATION
by Elizabeth Welles
In every spiritual tradition there is reverence paid to The Word. However for some, the word prayer is a trigger with unpleasant memories or of a strict religious upbringing left far behind. But here prayer is addressed not in the religious sense, but as a way to deepen into the quiet and explore your own heart, what it needs to hear, and how it hears it. Even secular scientists find solitude and time to contemplate their theories and to ask, seek or know, and reflect on the wisdom of the ancients.
The very act of writing and then reading aloud to hear your own voice and words, or to let others hear your voice and words, drops you into a listening, reflective-contemplative mode wherein you are received, first by your Self and then another. You will see that you are not alone in suffering and that your words can bring wisdom, solace or counsel to another. Reading your words aloud and listening into the silence that follows can unearth revelatory insights for your life and its direction. Finally you will find nourishment to “just be,” able to return to your activities rested and restored.
If you are writing about a challenging situation, then apply your own prayerful words of that still small voice as a healing balm by using
The Voice of Compassion. If your words are of elation and celebration, then share your understandings and rise of communion and bliss. Celebration is just as much needed in the world and your voice will be appreciated.
You can always return to Basic Journaling Practice I to describe the immediate present moment slipping between the spaces of time to touch into an ongoing spiritual rhythm that underlies life. For “extraordinary” mystical states are available to you right now. Millions of Divine Beings are on the head of every pin, attached to every atom, only waiting for you to turn your attention to them. The essence of life, strands of DNA, molecular structure, and energy in every form that pervades this universe are miracles in themselves. All life is.
You can pen words of prayer, poems, psalm and songs for yourself or to share with others, prayer as self-revelation. Prayers that help you deepen and see what you would love, pursuant of your dreams. Prayer can have a place in your plays, films, monologues and dialogues.
You can create characters of wisdom endowed with the gift of words and prayer at their fingertips. Muses, fairies, elemental Devas, angels, and invisible time travelers with the ability to appear and disappear, get small or large in size, or disguised as humans, can find homes in your stories or act as guide, mentor and friend to you in times of need. Such is the healing power of using your own words as prayer.
Many people think of prayer as a formal way of talking to God, often with getting on your knees. Prayer can be that. But the beauty of prayer – or of simple good thought – is that you can do it in any moment, anywhere, with a few words of silence held in your heart. For prayer is simply a way to connect, to deepen faith, and come into the silence.
Connection is a way to hear and be heard, a way to see and be seen. It’s a way to acknowledge and validate your experience or that of another. Prayer is the telephone line between you and your own heart and peace. It’s the toll-free 1-800 number between you and something “greater,” be that connection to Spirit, God, Source as you define it, or your very own Self. It can be your connection to a noble cause or to an element of nature like the strength of a tree, the ocean, or mountain-sky.
Faith is trust in the Grace of the Unknown, a trusting that everything will work out, a trust in love, and a trust in your own Self.
And finally, prayer is an invitation into the silence.
In meditation you dive deeper in silence. In that dive you may initially encounter the body, including sensation and feelings, the noise of your own thoughts or the honking horn outside. But slowly you get to see that although you wear a body and it can be your ally, an instrument of your spirit and soul, you are not your body alone. You are not your feelings, sensations and thoughts, just as you are not the horn honking outside. Meditation is a gentle and open exploration into that which does not change. It is a coming home to the space between what was and what will be, where you are forever in ease. In every moment of reflection, prayer and meditation, there exists the opportunity to move yourself to deeper realms of your own nature with wonder in bliss. Ultimately meditation is your appointment with peace. And as each layer of existence is encountered in silence, it is as if the Magi-Wise is being born.
There are countless kinds of prayers:
Prayers of protection
Prayers of inspiration
Prayers of petition
Prayers of thanksgiving
Prayers of communion
Prayers of silence
Prayers of affirmation
Prayers of praise
Prayers of celebration
Prayers of silence
Prayers of peace
Prayers of healing
Prayers of blessing
Prayer of loving-kindness
A client once said, “I don’t want any more pain in my life. I don’t want to suffer in my life anymore.” I asked her to rephrase it, “What if you said something like, “May I be free from suffering. May I be free from pain.”
Her voice lightened. That one sentence opened up doorways of possibility. I asked her to practice sitting with the phrase. It’s not an original. It’s a basic Metta or loving-kindness practice from the Buddhist tradition. I asked her to also work with, “May I be free from inner and outer harm. May I be peaceful. May I be peace.” This woman, a devout atheist, quietly whispered, “It’s like a prayer.”
Through prayer and contemplative reflection you create sacred space, which slowly changes your life. When you compose your own meditations and prayers, they hold that much more power and meaning for you.
My mother composed the following prayer for herself that she recites every time she gets in her car to drive:
Prayer for Protection
Surround me with Divine Light
Protect me and my car from any physical harm
And protect all who I meet and pass on the road
Bring me safely to my destination
And return me safely home
What kind of Prayer or Words of Protection would you write for yourself or another in need?
What kind of Prayer or Words of Inspiration would you write for yourself or for another in need?
*The chapter in it entirety is in Journaling for Well-Being & Peace.