A True Prayer
The first question to ask is what is your prayer? ?God give me this, give me that, and save me.' What you are seeking in prayer is not God, what you are seeking is free happiness. Ultimately what you want with prayer is well being, you just are not willing to admit it. The first step is to be straight with yourself ? then we can see how to cross the threshold of limitations to true happiness and well being.
It is time that we realize that looking to God will not help until we look at our own foolishness. If you sincerely look at your deepest motivation for religion, you will see you have never aspired for the Divine. Please understand this. Your aspiration was never for the ultimate. Your aspiration is for comfort, for wealth, for power, pleasure. But you think God is a tool to achieve all those things. When you are seeking protection or materialist things, greed and fear have become the basis of your prayer and this will not work.
Ordinarily, we think prayer is a means to reach God, but what do we really know about God? If we are truthful, we must admit we have no direct experience of God; we are coming from a particular belief system. The danger in using prayer to reach a God we have no direct experience of can be illusionary. Thoughts and prayer can open a person but at the same time they can create hallucinations. Once hallucinations start growing, they take on such a big dimension because the illusory is always more powerful than reality. An illusion has the freedom of becoming anything it wants.
The cinema is more powerful than real life given that you can just exaggerate it the way you want it. When the illusory process gets exaggerated, it becomes more powerful than life. That is why we have always stayed away from prayer because prayer can be not only misused but also deceptive. Meditation, compared to prayer, is a much more reliable method to reach the inner nature and experience the Divine.
Authentic prayer is a deep connection with the Divine inherent in everything and everywhere. It is a quality, a state of being. As we become prayerful it is extremely beautiful but that state is reached only when we connect to our inner nature. Then the experience is absolutely joyous.
When we are really joyous, we are wide open and can receive. Prayer no longer becomes a monologue, but a beautiful phenomenon and a celebration which brings great joy. Then we pray not out of fear or greed, but because prayer itself is the reward. Patanjali, considered the father of yoga, goes as far as to say that when one knows how to be truly prayerful, prayer is not a means to reach God, but God is only a means so that we can pray.
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