Pray....And Things Happen!
So here are the praying hands which I was avoiding in the first part of this prayer series.
As I thought back over my reticence to portray prayer in any traditional way, I realized I was denying access to many people, a tenet which would never suit PATH Ministries. Since I was raised Episcopalian, and may have stayed Episcopalian if they had ordained women in those days--or at least given us some hope--I have to admit, there is a signal to the brain from the physical body when we kneel and fold our hands that something sacred is about to occur. Whatever your prayer position, traditional or not, it will become that signal to your whole self that it's time to pray.
Many people like to meditate or focus on a mantra or a lit candle or mandala as a way of centering themselves. I can still remember when I was a young girl growing up in a turbulent family that I would go to my room, pull the covers up over my head, and say the Lord's Prayer over and over to block out the yelling and screaming that was so upsetting to me. I found my comfort in the repetition of a familiar prayer; it somehow connected me with a power bigger than myself that could absorb the anger and rage in my household, and I felt safer.
As a writer, I am working on a book on sensory meditation, the introduction to which you can read on the meditation page on this website. As the book unfolds through me (and that is how it is happening), I am learning more and more ways to let my body be not only a signal but also a gatekeeper and welcoming committee to a state of prayer consciousness. Rather than trying to ignore all distractions incoming from my senses, I am using my senses to direct and enhance my prayer and meditation. It seems more in a natural flow, and I'll tell you more about it later as it grows.
Sometimes, my prayer is a song which I allow to sing through me. Perhaps it is a known chant, or often it is just a word or phrase that becomes my mantra and melody...sort of a song of my soul. It beats running around with "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner," from TV circulating through my head!
Whatever brings you to that awareness, to that interface with the Divine in you and in the world, is prayer for me. When I reach the point where I feel suspended in time and space in a consciousness of pure love, I try to stay there for as long as it is possible. I almost hold my breath, for fear it will leave or I will fail to maintain it. I suspect that true enlightenment is being able to walk in that Presence at will, or even perhaps all the time. In the meantime, there is that potential and possibility of frequent visits to this peaceful, loving land of prayer.
Divine Presence, I give thanks for my growing awareness that you are with me and accessible at all times as I remember to turn unfailingly to You.
What does a picture of an eclipse have to do with prayer?
After searching, searching on a quest for a visual symbol for prayer, and ruling out praying hands and angels, I came upon this. Prayer for me is an activity in which I let my own ego self be eclipsed by my higher spiritual Self and thereby touch the hem of the garment. Prayer is a state in which we are able to interface with the Divine and feel its presence take us over, blocking out all negativity, conflict, judgement, and doubt.
I also love the darkness and the light in this picture. It expresses for me the the Womb of the Universe and the Birth of the Light into the world. For me, this is the process of prayer in which we encounter the fullness of Creation in ourselves--the light and the dark of us--and the unlimited connection we have with Spirit.
How do we pray? There are as many ways to pray as there are ideas of God. I can only share what i have come to understand, and if that touches you, try it. Whatever you read in this blog is for your consideration and the not the truth of the universe. No one can dictate your prayer life to you, only encourage it.
How do I pray? I pray in several ways. I pray in many places, in many states of mind, and at all times. Even in the midst of turmoil and anger, I pray that my Higher Self will prevail. When I see someone else in trouble or despair, I pray that they may feel the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding and comforting them. When I am in Nature, I pray feeling my oneness with all life. When I am sitting in my living room, I center myself in the Silence, letting go of every distraction that enters my mind.
Often, in the middle of the night, I will pray the ancient prayer of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, descending with my mind into my heart and there encountering God. There it is safe to confront my demons, my pain, my negativity, my judgement, and my grief and losses.
The greatest and most constant path I pray is gratitude and thankfulness for all the blessings I have in my life...even those that feel like trials and tribulations. For I know, without a doubt because it has always been so in the past, that there will be a lesson that will prosper and bless me, and in turn, others as well.
I have a friend, Joanie Levenson, also a singer and minister, who professes to be a "promiscuous prayer," meaning that she will pray anytime, any place, with anybody. I feel the same way as she does. There is never a time, place, or occasion where prayer is not appropriate. Prayer honors everyone in every situation, no matter what their beliefs or lack thereof. At times, it may be a silent prayer for guidance, or a positive, powerful prayer for Divine Order or Intervention. Sometimes, it is an inner assertion that I am one with God and God is one with me and others.
Since I am a singer, I have a song for everything, according to my friends. When I think of prayer, I think of a line from an old Buffy Ste. Marie song...."Magic is Afoot...God is Alive." When we affirm the Presence and Power of that One Universal Creative Force, then there is a seeming magic. Of course, it isn't magic at all, but Divine Order and Power being displayed and demonstrated for us. But it often feels miraculous and magic, which brings us the elation of Oneness with something greater than ourselves.
Do you remember a song Michael Jackson recorded called, "Smile?" Let's replace the word "smile" with "pray."
Pray, though your heart is aching
Pray, even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by...
If you pray.
Pray through through your fear and sorrow
Pray and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just...
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Pray, what's the use of crying
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just...PRAY.
There's never a way to predict what the universe will bring you at just the right time. Today was Richard's birthday. He is impossible to buy for, because he wants so little. After a lovely day which included a tasty Thai lunch with friends and then a trip to the Clay warehouse in Asheville, we came back home for a quiet evening. No cake. No party. No big hullabaloo.
Richard went out to work in the garden just before dusk with Lady Dog. Suddenly he came in the door with Lady yelling, "We've got bears! Bears!" I didn't particularly get excited, since we have three metal bears in our garden that our grandkids painted. But Richard insisted I get on my shoes and come out, so I did. He pointed down our street, and there next to a grove of trees I could barely make out a BIG BEAR!
Richard told me to call the Wildlife line, which I did. I told them there were some big bears in our +55 community. The lady calmly told me that there were bears all over North Carolina and hung up.
We hopped in our car to warn the neighbors near there, since many of them go out walking when it cools off around sunset. We saw one lady and told her about the bears, and by then we could see not only Mama Bear, but also two cubs by the trees. One cub was trying to climb the tree, but Momma quickly put a stop to that.
Fortunately I had grabbed my camera when I realized Richard wasn't kidding about live bears. I got one shot of Mamma Bear crossing the road, and Richard got the two cubs following right behind her! It was so exciting!
Now, why am I telling all of you this? Well, I hadn't known what to get the finest man on earth for his birthday, and the Universe, probably without much effort, delivered THREE LIVE BEARS...which just happens to be Richard's totem!!!
Thank you, Mother Nature, for making this a spectacular day for My Beloved!
Let me introduce myself to those of you who don't know me by saying that I
am the veteran of many religious institutions. That has left me with mixed
feelings about the purpose and reason for the existence of “church”. In early adulthood, I came to the
conclusion that I need to understand religion from a spiritual perspective. As a
result, I investigated existential philosophers, Catholic mystics, theological
perspectives, and Native American spirituality, in addition to Unity’s
Unity provided an
accepting environment for me to explore spirituality and through Unity I became
acquainted with Sharon Poindexter, who was my business consultant. After she was accepted to USRS (ministerial school), she
began to facilitate Bible, metaphysics, and prayer groups in her home. After her ordination in 1988, she formed PATH Ministry, where I was ordained by her as a Trailblazer
in ministry to a community of people with AIDS. Rev. Sharon, in her short time on earth as a minister, mentored and
encouraged me to explore ministry from different perspectives.
As a result of our involvement with PATH, over the years Eileen and I have
conducted gatherings in our home, in parks, by streams, in churches, meeting rooms, and the residences of others, with the
belief that one’s spiritual journey is shaped by their life experiences,
culture, history, sexual orientation and their willingness to create. We have both worked as hospice chaplains and had our own award-winning live talk radio show, and cable TV show, plus we facilitated a gang truce in a large city of the southwest.
Working together again in this resurrected, reinvented PATH Ministries, I have no doubt that Eileen and I will continue to grow spiritually and to minister to all who may benefit from our gifts.
Please read Rev. Richard's biography on another page in our website.
Rev. Richard may be reached a
360-606-2024, at Rev.Richard@pathministries.info or on facebook at
Richard Talley or PATH Ministries.
Layers upon layers
Is built our Earth...
Illumined with sunshine and quenched with rain from pregnant clouds.
And who are we? Are we not layered? Are we not deeply formed across time and space to be who we are in Spirit?
Is there no escape from the clear and present knowledge of who we are? Of who we are created to be? Of who we are to become?
We are no different than all of Creation. We think our minds set us apart and that we alone are vessels for the Divine. We, all of us in the Created World, are enthused with Spirit. We are all sentient beings. We are all held together with the bond of Divine Love into the forms we inhabit this time around.
In Spirit and in Truth, we are all One. I am you and you are me and we are One with everything. When we realize that we are essentially intertwined throughout eternity, we begin to feel our relationship with the rocks, the trees, the mountains, the rivers, the oceans, the rich, the poor, the sick, the healthy, the educated and the ignorant.
We are made from the same clay that is of the Earth. Only in our forms may we appear to be different and unique, alone and apart. There is no "apart." There is no separation. There is no individual personality that distinguishes each of us from the other in Spirit.
In your wisdom, Holy One, I acknowledge my Oneness with you and with all beings, all elements, all things in this world. I give thanks that I may lose myself in this Oneness and feel the truth of Love.
At the end.
Today I'd like to share with you an acronym written some years ago by a spiritually aware friend of mine from Kansas. I like acronyms because they help me remember important concepts that might otherwise slip out of my mind. This one is especially pertinent for this ministry and a good guide to pray or meditate upon. Thank you, Annola Charity for sharing this with those on the PATH.
Pray with passion and love and be ready to receive,
And allow magic and miracles to happen in your life.
Things will appear in wonderful ways from Spirit. Let it
Happen and be aware of the beauty of life and see
With new eyes, open-hearted as a child, so you will be
Abundant in all you ask and desire. Because Spirit
Yields according to the faith and measure of your belief.
It is the PATHWAY.
Annola M. Charity copyright 1999
Divine One, with your guidance I will stay on my PATH, wherever it may take me, as my life unfolds before me.
(Annola will soon have this available for purchase in a few days, and I will be sure to post the link where you can find it.)
When you judge others, you're judging yourself.
Judge not lest you be judged. (Bible)
advantage of age is learning to accept people without passing judgment.
"Ain't it good to know you've gotta friend?" James Taylor sang, so I interpret Liz Carpenter's observation to mean that age is my friend in learning not to judge. That's good news for me, as I know one of my greatest life lessons is to learn not to judge.
One of the things I know about judging is that it takes the one who judges a great deal of energy and doesn't necessarily affect the one who is judged at all. I shudder to consider how much energy I have wasted over the years in judging others needlessly. It never changes the other person. We canneverchange another person. We can only change ourselves.
Does that then mean we are to judge ourselves? No, however, it is important to realize that what we judge in others is most likely what we cannot see in ourselves...what we will not see in ourselves...what we don't want to acknowledge in ourselves...and so we project it onto others. That way, we can see it and hopefully heal it in ourselves. All too often, though, we don't claim it as our own and so we ignore and deny what needs to be healed in us.
Holy One, When I am quick to judge others, let me stop and look at myself first and see what part of me needs to be healed. Let me display compassion for myself and others, and in this begin the healing process.
Note: Judgement here is not the wise judgement written about by Charles Fillmore as one of the Twelve Powers of Man.
"Keep a green
tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come."
I have heard many definitions of hope. It seems to be a quality that is essential for the human soul to flourish in life on earth.
Winston Churchill believed, "All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in
a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope." Although he left hope for last, it is perhaps the most valuable, being a human emotion that motivates and encourages us in times of stress and negativity. In fact, we often think "hopelessness" is the end of the road.
When we have hope, as Shakespeare said, "Hark, there's hope in her soul," we are looking forward to better times and not wallowing in the past or even the present conditions. So hope propels us forward.
Albert Einstein put it another way, saying "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." With the addition of his advice to keep on questioning, we see hope as a vehicle for growth. As long as we are exploring and remain open to learning under any given circumstance, we have the opportunity to make even the worst condition a learning experience. In other words, as my friend Rev. Joy Young would say, "Another AFGO--Another Frustrating Growth Opportunity!"
Still turning to the wisdom of sages, I am enlightened and delighted by the words of Mark Twain: "Lord save us all from a hope tree that has
lost the faculty of putting out blossoms." If we can't grow and blossom from our inner core of being, then all the hope in the world cannot suffice.
I do believe that hope is generated by faith, and that it carries with it the belief that there is some spiritual truth to be had if we persist and pursue it.
My grandchildren, as most children will, express hope in things to come. Perhaps it is because they still believe in magic or because they haven't yet come to witness the cruelty and disappointment in our world. They are the ultimate optimists, and indeed, if we think about it, many of our world's greatest prophets, philosophers, and souls have had a childlike belief in the far-fetched and impossible. When he was just a little guy, my grandson Kyle would want to go places that we adults knew weren't open. He'd always say, "Maybe they are." Then his sister Ariel came along with a similar belief that things could go her way with, "You never know." Now the littlest one, McKenzie just goes about things as if they will, of course, go her way, no questions asked and no doubts!
Wise Spirit of Truth, open my mind and heart to all the blessings you have in store for me, as I continually commit to faith-filled belief in your goodness.
Fresh morning air...
Droplets on the leaves...
Bird calls from the trees...
Foilage gently swaying...
Chipmonks hurry, scurrying...
Gray and hazy sky...
Cool, crisp mountain air...
Summer morning delight.
This morning I am pure like the morning air.
The moist intake flows into my nostrils, cool and refreshing.
I feel my breath circulating through my lungs and to my heart,
delivering rich, renewing oxygen to all the cells in my body.
Every muscle, tendon, organ, and tissue quivers with energy,
revitalized with this gift from the air I breathe.
Energy is generated and my body tingles with health.
Sounds of Nature fall on my ears.
Cooing and calling, chirping away.
I am drawn into their language,
feeling at one.
Knowing I, too, can take flight
if I desire.
I wish to stay right here,
Suspended in time and place,
Aware of my senses
And aware of my soul.
I am a dancing leaf and I feel the lightness of the breeze on my skin.
The gentle, fragrant canopy shelters me and I am safe.
Droplets transform with magnifying illusion.
A clear, clean fragment of rain touches my tongue and I am refreshed.
I am calm and cool and closer than breath to the Spirit Within.
I am consciously aware of Holiness
in and all around me.
I hear it, feel it, taste it, smell it,
and see it with my inner eyes.
Spirit is alive in me and I am Holy.
I am healed.
I am whole.
And so it is...
Things are not always what they seem.
People are not always how they seem.
Words do not always mean what they seem.
How are we to know what's real and what's not?
How do we navigate the waters of life when we can't see the rocks?
Questions and doubts plague us on a daily basis, if we're honest about it. Who among us has all the answers?
I had a new little boy in my second grade class many years ago, and no matter what question I asked, he'd wave his hand wildly in the air to be called upon. When I called on him, he would always answer, "Jesus." One day privately I asked him why he did this. He replied, "Well, at church they say Jesus is the answer to everything!"
Of course his childish interpretation to what he had heard was cute, but I got to thinking....what if we could discipline ourselves in every circumstance, in every challenge, to turn to Spirit? If this was our baseline response, wouldn't the world be a much saner place? A less fearful place? A less daunting place?
When we feel like we're in a dark tunnel and the only light at the end of it is an oncoming train, perhaps we can gather our strength and turn to that power within us. Maybe, when people act unfairly or treat us poorly, we can remember to see them through the eyes of God. Even when the river of life appears to have submerged rocks in our path, sometimes we might be able to remember the Real Truth of who we are. PERHAPS? MAYBE? SOMETIMES? How about replacing these words with ALWAYS and FOREVER?
Mother/Father God, with strength I turn always to your Presence within me and my way is made clear.
The Joy of the Lord is My Strength – Nehemiah 8:10