In my last post we looked at the contrasting nature of the Queendom of God and its ‘otherness’. Today I wish to examine one of the ways that can help us maintain a sense of remaining in such a radical and Divine realm viz. prayer or meditation.
Firstly, let me make a subtle, but important distinction between these two means of internal communication. Meditation is, I believe, a historical and much practised technique that helps us to bypass the conflicting voices of our fragmented psyche/soul’s subpersonalities. The human spirit has, I suggest, the innate ability to filter out these ego discussions and listen to itself.
Many who regularly meditate experience a sense of Oneness with the rest of the created order. In an Eastern Monist view of Reality, this Oneness is interpreted as the Divine, each of us being an integral expression of the Essence of All. Controversial as I may be, I’d suggest that this much sought after connectedness is one with none other than the individual’s own spirit, the ‘I am’ Self, a Divine spark without limits.
Meditation is a gateway through which many pass on their Way to the Divine City. Others tend to set up camp just through the gate, claiming that the secret of the Cosmos has been discovered. A new world has been discovered but one whose founder still remains silent.
Prayer, in its essence is similar to meditation but with one main distinction. In prayer the ‘I am’ is not alone, but listening for the Voice of Another. Within meditation, the human spirit alone communicates with the psyche/soul but within prayer ultimate communication is established between the Divine Voice and the psyche/soul via one’s ‘I am’ spirit. The difference is subtle but in Reality, worlds apart.
The meditator sees themselves as an intricate part of the Cosmic Consciousness, whilst the prayer practitioner sees their communication as a conversational union with the original Other or Source. In other words prayer is a relationship based communication whereas meditation is a vitally important Self Awareness exercise.
Unfortunately both exercises generally fall into two distinct theological or metaphysical camps. Prayer is generally the preferred practice for those of a monotheistic bent, e.g. Christians, Jews, Muslims etc whilst meditation is the technique of choice for those of a Monist bent viz. Buddhists, Some Hindu schools of thought and many New Age faiths.
As a follower of Yeshua, I reckon that both practices are essential for a truly integrated psycho-spiritual life. Many of us raised in traditional religious circles, no matter what the brand learned at an early age to ‘rattle off’ set prayers usually before retiring for the night. A religious duty to ensure that God didn’t get angry and leave us to the powers of darkness!
Much adult prayer remains motivated by these childish fears, a distortion of the nature of Divine Love and its desire for relational intimacy. Guilt plays a big role in our infantile approach to the One to whom we broadcast our request lists. Doubting that we’re truly accepted let alone loved by our God, we don’t cosey up too close in case we receive up a wrathful Divine clip on the ear! Rather, true prayer or conversational communion with the Abba of Yeshua is one of the benefits of Spirit encounter.
Meditation on the other hand is a valued technique for stilling the storm that rages from within. The key benefit of such a psycho-spiritual exercise is the revelation that we are more than ego, the hurting, fragmented soul, that holds on tightly to the control stick of our space-time existence.
The human spirit, contrary to popular opinion, always remains in a place of equilibrium and peace. The discovery that such a quiet inner chamber exists within the noisy household of our inner world brings much release and reassurance to our troubled psyche/souls; One within whom we suspect has a greater connection to Source than the ego guardian who claims all knowledge of both good and evil.
In times of stress, when we are unable to pray due to the confusion of inner chatter, a detaching or focus on the ‘I am’ within can bring surprisingly fast results as we yearn for a restored calm and sanity. From there, we can once more tune into the Voice beyond, the Voice of the Beloved, calling in the Garden.
In my next post I hope to examine Yeshua’s model prayer, known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer, from a mimetic perspective.