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The Technology of Prayer

I had the great privilege and honor of attending a land & temple blessing for a dear friend and mentor of mine this past weekend. She is in the process of building a sacred space on her property here in Costa Rica and myself and about 30 other people from around the country assembled there during Easter Weekend (known by the locals in Costa Rica as "Semana Santa"). This 3-day gathering was a powerful representation of what I would call a ritual or ceremonial process. Humans since time immemorial have utilized astrological events as important moments for coming together as a community, driven by the collective, instinctual need for group worship, prayer, contemplation, reflection, orientation and re-direction. The construction of temples and places which can "hold" the powerful energies that arise during such events is apparent across time, space and culture. The use of prayer as a tool for the evolution of consciousness is and has been a sort of "technology" that humans have utilized for many, many thousands of years. Those who have spent time in any type of congregation understand the value and power of coming together in such a way. Prayer and group worship practices are, in my belief, central to the advancement of our human species. Over the years of my own spiritual exploration I have been studying WHY this is, and the unique alchemy that takes place within these containers. While there is undoubtedly an unexplainable "magic" that is happening when we join forces with a common purpose, there are also some ideas which I'd like to present here in this blog about the nature of prayer and its place in the life path of a human.


To begin with, understanding what "prayer" really is requires us to look at what the Sacred is, or means to each one. To tell another what the Divine IS or IS NOT is recipe for disaster, as we can see in so many of the cultural clashes that have plagued our human species for a very long time. The subject of God is perhaps the most highly charged topic in our history, and has consequently led entire groups and populations of people into the hell of all-out warfare between one another. The insanity of this is difficult to wrap one's head around. How is one to seek the Divine while at the same time condemning others to death for their own beliefs on the topic? The story of Jesus, which is very much present with us especially during the time known as Easter, paints a pretty clear picture about the craziness of what we are dealing with. As you know in the story, one man who boldly claimed his own legitimacy in connection to God, was persecuted and murdered by others who did not, would not or could not believe what he stood for. I believe this is a symbolic and metaphorical tale to help illustrate some very key points to reflect on for each of us on the spiritual path.


The reflection here that I am suggesting is related to the nature of the Divine and how one must secure their own authentic connection to what is ultimately ineffable and indescribable. The yogis placed more credit in direct experience than anything else. In mystical traditions this direct experience is known as gnosis, or essentially knowing by experiencing. To come into direct contact with the Divine through one's own internal effort, one begins to see beyond the illusory and divisive tendencies of the mind. To see beyond one's own illusion requires tremendous courage and a sincere intention. The illusions we often carry are so convincing and so deeply rooted that it can be very difficult to see past them. These illusions play out in our lives in terms of what we believe, how we view others, what we think we should or shouldn't do, what we think others should or shouldn't do, and more. Ultimately, the illusions create a disconnection to Source and trap us into our own selfish motivations. The difficult thing about this is that when we are in the illusion, we are unable to "see" that we are "in it". As Jesus had said during his crucifixion, "forgive them Father, for they know not what they do."


The hypocrisy of organized religion is tough to swallow, much less accept. Many people nowadays who have walked a religious path for some time find themselves fed up with the irony found there. Simultaneously, those finding their way into different forms of spirituality experience similar themes playing out. These "themes" are the themes of separation and a longing to re-connect to God. Whether one is steeped in the organized religious ways of a Church or has found their own authentic spiritual path, outside of any organization, the fundamental ideas are the same. An individual is endeavoring to locate their chosen Divinity and build a real relationship to "It". For some, this looks like following specific practices and doctrines, while others find their way "in" through art, beauty, expression, creativity, etc. The final goal is the same. Reunion between the individual and the Source of All Things. But why is there so much pain and suffering in the process?


I believe the challenge we face is rooted in the psyche. Studying the work of Carl Jung and other depth psychologists over the years has brought me clarity and understanding around the "real" problem. For one, we are dealing with centuries of unhealed trauma and wounding at the core of the human psyche. Our DNA and genetic material carries memories of untold amounts of suffering and overwhelming atrocity. Our ancestors dealt with pain and suffering that many of us in the modern world have no reference point to even come close to understand. But we feel it; the memories live in our bodies and are stored in the subconscious and unconscious realms of our psyche. Certain things in the modern life we live trigger these memories and we re-enact history, even if the history we are re-living is destructive or painful. The yogis believed that these "happenings" are the expression & manifestation of karma, which is the cosmic law of cause-and-effect. Karma is a built-in universal mechanism to ensure that no activity in the Universe goes un-recorded, and therefore, everything that happens is saved on the cosmic hard-drive in the history section for ease of future pattern recognition. The principle behind karma is neither good or bad; it is both, depending on how you look at it. The fact that there is a sort of "record keeping system" ensures that the past doesn't disappear completely but informs the present moment, which allows a differentiation towards a new or evolved future. Without the record of the past informing the present, there could be a constant repeat of previous experiences. The very principle of Creation contains within it certain "laws" to ensure that life & consciousness continues to evolve in an ever-forward motion. One of these laws is karma. The yogi and the one valuing the expansion and creativity of Life works with the law of karma to learn from the past and generate a new way forward. This means understanding our past and history, integrating it into the present moment, and ultimately healing.


There is a great modern mystic by the name of Thomas Hubl who is a world-renown expert on the topic of trauma and the mystical principles of healing. I love what he has to say in relation to what I am sharing. He says: "an unintegrated past is history that repeats itself... the integrated past is the future." This really resonated for me. It made me think about the lessons I am learning in this life about how to actually move forward, and create a new outcome for myself, for my friends, my community, my theoretical family, etc. How do I actually heal? What is it that needs "healing"? What does all of this even mean?


I think about how difficult it is to carve out a new pathway in life. To break free from the mold or conditioning set upon us by our cultural, societal or familial environments. I think about the traumas and wounds that we ourselves have experienced in THIS lifetime: difficulties in the home life, challenging adolescence, the death of people close to us, etc. I ponder how all of these things influence how we behave and show up in the present moment. I look at the enormous amount of energy required to break a pattern and establish a new "way". Nature tends to conserve energy and it locks energy into grooves and patterns. There is a beneficial side to this but also a negative side. We don't need to re-learn to walk every time we wake up, as that "pattern" has been learned, established, and the neural grooves etched out within our physiology to make it flow smoothly each time we have the intention to walk. However we also have many other learned patterns which flow whenever the environment triggers their manifestation. Certain characteristics related to survival, such as the inherent, instinctual drive towards mating, are influencing our every move. There are programs in our genes that have been developed over generations of evolution inside the human organism that make us do things in very predictable ways. We are bound, in a certain way, by Nature and Her wish for us. We are bound by our genes and our karmas. However, we can create new outcomes for ourselves and set into motion new patterns and new ways of being. This requires a certain degree of self-observation and also a certain willingness to bring forth the energy required to establish the new.


Hence, prayer. Prayer is like a process of conversation with the innermost Spirit; That which happens to be the Source of All. When we enter into a space of true prayer, there is a dialogue happening between our individual self and the Supreme Self. This is the place that we go to connect with the new (& higher) vision, to carve out the new pathways and receive the guidance necessary to carry out the Divine Plan. I see it as the incubation ground. We temporarily turn away from all the "things" of the world and look towards the place every "thing" emerges from. If this is done well, with humility and sincerity, we loosen our grip on the usual mental conversation and create space for a different conversation to take place. To turn towards God in this way we have to let go completely of the default inner dialogue and become open and spaciousness enough to listen to a different tune than what is our own story. Tuning into a "bigger" or "greater" story than our usual, repetitive mind chatter allows us to access higher frequencies and higher vibrations, which then inform us about how to move forward in life towards the "goal" that is being revealed in these divine states of awareness. Entering into the space of prayer allows us to receive the guidance necessary to make things different in our lives. To upgrade, to heal, to move forward, to evolve. Each person has their own subjective experience of how this happens, but I believe that we are each plugging into the One Supreme Light whereby "It" informs "us" about what to do and how to do it. Following the instructions is how we manifest the inspiration that comes through... and when we begin to live a prayer-led life, the inspiration just keeps coming.


I give thanks to all the forms of prayer technology that have assisted and guided me to where I am today. I am and will always be figuring out this mystery of life and how it all works, but as I walk I am constantly receiving puzzle pieces which reveal little nuggets of wisdom.


I hope that each of you finds what you are looking for... by becoming what you seek. It starts in the mind and the heart. Creation seems to function through us in this way...


-GI

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