I stopped believing in God on a Monday in 1967.
At Sunday School the day before, we made Jesus in fuzzy felt with palm trees, a manger and a pretty star. I used a nice yellow felt for the star. The teacher in Sunday School told us about prayer. We could have anything we wanted, she said, if we prayed to hard enough to God. I added this to my religious database; not only was God fun to play with, he was also like Santa Claus.
“Right”, I thought. Because what I really wanted then, was a Jack in-a-Box. So, I prayed. I prayed really hard for a Jack-in-a-Box. Monday morning arrived, and no Jack-in-a-box. “Well, that’s it, “I thought. “God doesn’t exist,” and never gave it another thought. It took the next thirty five years to make friends with my idea of God again and even longer to understand what prayer really is.
Prayer isn’t a list to the great shopping mall in the sky.
It’s not a list of ‘I want’ or ‘please give me the magic beans.’ It isn’t even a way to control an outcome, no matter how virtuous: “Please help Bob with his arthritis; Don’t let my parents split up; Help me get this job…” If my 1967 spiritual practice was only designed to get me stuff, or control and bend the world to my seven year old desires, I was headed for an empty and off track life. No wonder it felt hollow. There was no connection.
Prayer is less of a petition and more a chat with the Universe.
It’s also rather simple, like an attunement. Preparing for a client is like a prayer. The same sort of things happen. As I prepare for a reading, I withdraw from the outside world and imagine my heart expanding out in love, and awe, as if I were bathed in the dappled sunlight of a stained glass window, smelling frankincense inside an 600 year old church.
As if I were standing by a waterfall, being sprinkled with water, and watching rainbows dance. As if I am witnessing the birth of a puppy, or beautiful sunrise.
Those things inspire a feeling of something much bigger and much more wondrous going on. It’s awesome to ponder that we are also part of the magic. I tune in to feel the wonder and magic expand inside, until I feel one with it. It is me, and I am it. In that state, an intention is sent out to work – to serve. If it is demonstrating mediumship to of a gathering of people, or the intimacy of a personal reading, love goes out to those people.
There are no magic beans
And that really is the nature of prayer. There is no such thing as Santa Claus in the sky with magic beans to fix your life. There’s no formula that works for everyone, and there’s s no magic words to get. The magic beans have always been you.
What are your magic beans? Is it daily meditation, thankfulness, yoga or just being peaceful? Share it in the comments below.