Meditation as a prayer step can overcome the effects of ‘negative prayer,’ where the prayer is affirming and giving power to the problem instead of to the solution.
Meditation and mindfulness have become a major part of our culture, with probably more people meditating than praying in the traditional sense of the word. The two are quite compatible, and there is nothing about meditating that could make it unacceptable to the traditional Christian.
An over-simplification is the saying, “Prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening to God”. In fact meditation does not require any belief in ‘God’–no matter how that word might be interpreted –but is not in any way exclusive of such belief. Meditation as a prayer step can overcome the effects of ‘negative prayer’where the prayer is affirming and giving power to the problem instead of to the solution.
In Unity teachings, we see meditation as a very important step in the prayer process; a willingness to cease the stream of prayer requests and affirmations and turn within to the silent place in our own being where we lose consciousness of ourselves and our concerns.
In the sacred silence we become aware of ourselves as part of something greater than our ego selves. We allow ourselves to unite with universal energy, the omnipresent Spirit that enfolds us and fills us. From this greater awareness, we feel the gift of life flowing through every cell of our body; we feel the divine gift of love filling our heart and radiating from us.
Only then can we truly enter into prayer in the deepest meaning of the word, to feel the reassurance that our human concerns are just that, and that good is established in every part of our lives. We can know this truth for those we hold in prayer, knowing for them that Spirit within them is drawing them to their highest good.
A friend who recently found himself unemployed used this form of prayer to stop himself from focussing on the problem (being unemployed). Meditating each morning helped him to let go of fear and concern, and hold the belief that he was being drawn to the right employment that would be good for him and for the employer. This helped him to face the daily challenges of unemployment with an attitude of expectation, and to stay open to all possibilities. Yes, he found a new position in a company where he feels satisfaction and fulfilment, doing work he enjoys and is good at.
We live in an age where we don’t have to choose between East and West, religion and spirituality.We can take the best of all practices and find what works best for us. The great teachers through the ages demonstrated unity and compassion. We can all be open to what serves our own spiritual awareness, and helps us to practise love, peace and wisdom for the highest good of all.
Rev Rhonda Murray is a Unity Minister with Unity Reflections of Truth Inc, meeting in Clayfield, Qld. She has been ordained for 22 years and, prior to returning to Brisbane eight years ago, she was Minister at Unity of Melbourne, Burwood.
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