Eckhart on Prayer

Q: From the time I was a little girl, I was raised as a Catholic. I went completely full circle to denying God, not believing in God. And now, thanks to a large extent what you teach and share, I know that connectedness is there, awareness, Stillness is there. But I got the thought, why do I pray? Because if God is all-knowing, omnipotent, all-loving, and so on, I don’t think he/she/it needs me to say, “Psst – my friend is dying of cancer, can you help her?” I don’t think it’s necessary, but I enjoy praying. I’d love to hear your thoughts; what would be appropriate to pray for? Do you believe in prayer?

ET: Perhaps you can upgrade your prayers from petitionary prayers (“please make this happen”) to little mental pointers, towards peace for example. Little mental pointers still use concepts, because every prayer consists of words and concepts – to point, to help you go beyond concepts. You could say, for example, an affirmation – like what Jesus said, “I am the light of the word”. It’s an affirmation – it’s a concept, it points to a reality far deeper than the words. You can say, if you still want some petition, “please let me know that I am the light of the world”. Duality is implied usually, in the usual prayer.

It implies that there is God, and here is me, asking God. That duality is ultimately an illusion, because you are an expression of God. You and God merge. The deepest prayers, then, are no longer prayers as such. They are when you adopt a listening attitude rather than a saying of words. As long as you enjoy it, that’s fine. But gradually get away from asking somebody to do something for you, because that keeps you stuck in duality.

Affirmations, if they are done rightly, can be very beautiful substitutes for prayers. “I am healed and whole and at peace”. And after that, let there be a space. And really, the power is in that space. In the space, you experience that you are already whole. The outward form might tell you something different – “I am holy”, A Course in Miracles says. You are, and so it’s simply an affirmation of how it is. Healing, for somebody else – you are either with that person, or that person comes into your mind, that person may be ill.

The most powerful healing, I find, is to hold an image of that person and then go deeper into yourself, where the wholeness of life lies. Where nothing is needed, nothing needs to be added. There you find the wholeness also of that person – they are already healed at the deepest level, beyond form. So you go from form, into formlessness.

That is the healing that was practiced by Joel Goldsmith, he has a lovely book called “The Art of Spiritual Healing”. That is really not to dwell at all on the condition that needs to be healed, but to focus on the essential reality of that human being which is one with your essential reality, and go into deep Stillness where nothing is needed.

He would often get phone calls, sometimes in the middle of the night. Someone would desperately need healing, and they would tell him the name of the person and what they were suffering from. What he would then do is immediately put the phone down and go into absolutely no thought. For a moment he heard the name of the person, he heard what was wrong with them, and immediately let go of that, then for two or three minutes went into no thought – just absolute presence. There is absolute perfection in the realm of the formless. And that is the essence of the person who needed healing. So you take the form into the formless, where the form is no longer. No condition to be treated, nothing is needed, just go into that.

That was his way of healing. He was quite a powerful healer. That is the ultimate form of healing, and that really is the non-dual kind of prayer. It’s going beyond prayer where you say “Please God, heal” – you go to the very Source itself, that is inseparable from who you are, and is inseparable from who that person is.

Prayer can gradually become listening to God rather than talking to God. What does listening mean? Listening means there is a field of bare, pure attention. Listening does not mean that you are waiting for some answer, because then you are not really listening. In listening you are not waiting for anything – there is just a field of pure attention.

That is a much deeper prayer than any words. True prayer is where prayer also becomes meditation. Not even wanting an answer, it’s enough to be in the silence. Sometimes an answer comes, or the thing becomes resolved, sometimes, suddenly. Listen. Any trouble in this world, any disturbance, and they happen all the time – people around you, or a disturbance in the mind, goes into pure aware, listening presence. Listening is a way of speaking about presence. When you are present, it is as if you are in a state of listening.

Now, listening is usually associated with the auditory sense perception. But this listening goes beyond the auditory sense perception; it’s the state of consciousness that underlies the auditory sense perception. Everybody knows what that is like – because when you are really listening for some faint sound, what is the state of consciousness that underlies this listening for the faint sound? It’s a state of absolute, relaxed alertness. So when we say listening, it’s a helpful thing because everybody knows what listening means. I am just pointing out that it’s not the external sense perception that is the essence in listening; the essence in listening is the underlying state of consciousness, of absolute receptivity and alert presence.

This is why I believe that Jesus had parables about the servant and staying awake, because he doesn’t know when the master is going to come home. Many of the things have come down in a somewhat distorted way, because it was transmitted verbally, and then written down, and in the process some things got turned around or went missing.

I think he was talking about the attitude of that – a state of consciousness, the servant waiting just to hear the master come home. It’s waiting in a different sense from the normal thing that we call ‘waiting’, which is the mind saying “When is it going to happen? Why isn’t it happening yet?” – he uses waiting in a completely different sense. Many times Jesus talked about staying awake, that’s a very important part of his teaching – stay awake, don’t go to sleep, stay present. Any words you use in prayer, use them as pointers toward that. You could say “I am listening”.

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Deepak Chopra’s Introduction to Meditation – Part 1 – 6

First segment of Part 1 of Dr. Chopra’s series on meditation.


Second segment of Part 1 of Dr. Chopra’s series on meditation.

Are You Self Actualized? ~ Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD

Self actualization is one of the highest levels of humans’ growth. It is not superior since everyone can get there, it is just a stage of being. Here are some of the characteristics of self actualized people:

1. Real not ideal: Self actualized people have a healthy relationship with reality and are more comfortable with it and do not deny it. They accept the good and bad as parts of the same spectrum where one is in balance and the other out of balance.

2. Accountability: Self actualized people do not get into the blame game but look for their role in a situation to make improvements.

2a. Open to making mistakes: Self actualized people give themselves and others the right to make a mistake and do not limit their life’s experience because of fear of mistakes. At the same time, they take reasonable cautionary steps not to repeat the same mistake over and over again.

3. Acceptance: Self actualized people have acceptance of self, others and the world around them. They are objective in general but also aware of their subjectivity and how it may deceive them.

4. Spontaneous: Self actualized people are grounded but at the same time learn to be open to new experiences, bring the inner child out and have fun with life. They don’t force themselves to be as others think they “should” be and go with what feels right to their core. At the same time, they do not try to intentionally hurt others and are sensitive to what is good.

5. Problem focused:
Self actualized people focus on the solution from a more multi-modal perspective and are open to new ideas and options. They also look at a problem from above their emotions as if they are standing outside the chaos to see what is happening to make an unbiased judgment about it.

6. Desire for detachment and privacy: While interactive and well connected with their surroundings, self actualized people have also a need to have time to themselves for quiet time and reflection and do not always have to be with others to enjoy their time. While with other people whom they feel connected to, the presence is enough and there does not have to be any open communication all the time.

7. Autonomy: Self actualized people are independent of their culture and their surrounding while are aware of them fully. They make decisions on their own without being conditioned toward any particular culture, religion and else. They are aware that conditioning can be limiting and illusive and need to be used with full awareness.

8. Appreciations of simple things:
Self actualized people learn to enjoy simple things in life and to connect with nature. They take time to find joy and content in daily things that come to all of us for free without any effort. A walk in the park, looking at the moon at night, listening to a bird singing are activities that are close to her heart.

9. Honest: Self actualized people are honest but know the fine line between honesty and being blunt. Others always know where they are standing with self actualized people and relationships with them are usually drama free since they won’t say yes where they feel otherwise. In other words, they are assertive.

10. Mystical and peak experiences: Self actualized people have regular mystical and peak experiences and have the ability to find and connect with their authentic self. During these experiences, they feel at one with the world around them.

11. Oneness: Self actualized people become more of a global soul where their concern is more toward all mankind not just what they have been conditioned to feel more similar to.

12. Healthy interpersonal relationships: Self actualized people have clear boundaries therefore, their relationship is free of drama and anxious attachments. They have more profound relationships with other adults on a deep level. They are capable of greater love and focus on the good few rather than a large number. Their relationships are very meaningful and positive.

13. Equality: Self actualized people tend to believe in the equal nature of humans and believe that each person has certain strengths and weaknesses.

14. Playfulness: Self actualizing people are playful in nature, love to laugh, and make jokes but not at the expense of others. They are open to new things in life.

15. Creative: Self actualizing people are creative and express themselves in many positive forms like writing, speaking, playing, painting or else.

16. Resistance to inculturation: Self actualized people resist transcendence to any particular culture and go above their culture and maintain a strong individuality while learning and at times, practicing what seems positive in their as well as other cultures. This is done by choice not any force of attachment. They can evaluate the culture objectively to see what works for them and their loved ones. They can also assimilate naturally into a new culture if they live in it.

17. Imperfections: Self actualizing people are aware of the fact that they, like others, are imperfect because they are humans. But this awareness brings them opportunities to constantly learn new ways to grow. While being content with themselves but they never stop striving.

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