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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On a wing and a prayer

The Power of prayer

Prayer can mean different things to different people. Let’s break it down to its basic principles. If you are praying then you are usually asking for assistance (help me) or guidance (show me) with something. This is when you feel that you either don’t have the means or capability to help yourself or see the forest for the trees.


This also means that you are asking someone outside of yourself, whether it is God or angels or ancestors. Prayer doesn’t normally mean that you’re talking to a close friend (or parent) in another part of the world. That’s what phones are for. Begging and pleading to a parent isn’t considered prayer anyway.


But if we’ve eliminated God or any higher power in this section of our story, we have to then assume that you’re not praying to anyone. Nevertheless, pray we do. If you don’t then what do you do when you’re hanging from a cliff by the last thread on your rope, watching it steadily fray?  And as covered earlier, our main instinct is to survive. Screaming, or crying like a baby in the face of adversity is an expression of your helplessness and your will to live. You express, you shout at the top of your lungs; you shout for help, if anyone is in earshot; you turn your head skywards and ask someone to just swoop down from those big fluffy clouds and save your ass before it’s too late. Then, when the panic is over, and you’ve said what you needed to say to the world, you calm down and a sense of peace washes over you. You’ve let go of the NEED to live and resigned yourself to the inevitable fact that you’re going to die. Now you’re okay with that. Maybe one last choc nut sundae would have been nice, but here we are anyway. At that moment, the clouds spread apart and the sun shines on you. SNAP. The string gives way and you plummet the twenty centimeters to the ledge below.


What follows the stunned silence, the staring in disbelief at the rope still gripped in your knuckle-white fists, is profuse thanks and gratitude and promises of living life to the fullest and being less of a dick to strangers.


Who do you thank? Afterall the ledge wasn’t there a minute ago. What happened? What’s the bigger picture?


An extremely visceral experience triggers our survival instinct and a moment of clarity descends upon us. If we’re not using the spiritual or religious experience to explain this (and we are not) then what happened was you asked for help or guidance, your mind cleared of all the daily clutter, you analysed what was important in your life ‘right now’ and did what you could to move forward. In this case you saw that complete panic wasn’t the answer.


In a word: you went ‘within’ yourself to find the answer, to find the peace, help or guidance in that moment. Whether you saved yourself or not, that is what physically happened.


When in need, go within for the answers. Prayer is simply the asking. We then let go of the outcome. And whatever happens happens.

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