Editor’s note: Every Friday a question is printed at the end of this column inviting a response. If you are a religious leader on Kaua‘i please send in your thoughts or suggestions for future topics. Due to the generous response to this week’s topic on prayer/meditation, next week the column will continue on the same subject. The suggested topic at the end of the column is for the following week.
by Pam Woolway – The Garden Island
Rev. Rita Mekila Herring
So often people wonder how they can improve the bond between themselves and God. The quickest way to increase your connection with your creator is through prayer and meditation.
Prayer is talking to God, or whatever the name is you’ve given to your creator. Prayer does not have to be a formal combination of words given to you from any religious authority. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. In actuality, some of the most powerful prayers are those that just flow out from your heart. Prayers are not always just requests for things. Prayers are any heartfelt words that you intentionally share with God.
Meditation is listening to God. Many people have no space in their busy lives to slow down and quiet themselves enough to hear the nudges and guidance that God willingly showers upon them. Do you find yourself constantly chattering away in your mind from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed? When have you stopped to listen?
All relationships require attention. It makes no difference whether it’s a relationship with plants in a garden, with your friends, family and co-workers or with God. If you want the relationship to continue to grow, you must take some time to nurture it. Prayer and meditation help you build that truly unique relationship between you and the divine.
Science of Mind practitioner
We say prayers almost every day without even realizing it. We can be anyplace to say it. I can remember once, having driven to the furthest point on a road in Kaua‘i just to see what was up at the top. I got out of the car and said, “Oh God, I’d love to own this piece of land.” Two years later I received an inheritance and this land came up for sale. We are now in our home on this incredible piece of land. I received my “exclaimed” prayer.
It has been said, “Ask and ye shall receive.” God has made it pretty simple. A prayer is simply asking for what we desire. But the key is in knowing (believing) and accepting that we shall receive it.
Meditation is a different type of communication with God. In meditation one finds a quiet place, releases the thoughts of the mind and lets go, allowing Spirit-God to enter. It may last a few minutes or even hours, but it feels wonderful and exhilarating. Why don’t more people meditate? It takes practice and patience and perseverance, as with all things worthwhile.
Both prayer and meditation give results. Prayer may give us what we ask for. Meditation gives us what we are open to receive, allowing God to do the choosing. Both prayer and meditation may give us results in ways we’d never expect.
To make it clear and simple: God does the talking in meditation. We do the talking in prayer. Either way we benefit greatly.
Fellowship of the Inner Light
The definition that I’m choosing for meditation is the emptying of the mind of one’s thoughts in order to open to the voice of God. The reason that our enlightened spiritual teachers retreated for long periods of time when they wanted to connect to Spirit, is that the senses are continually bombarding us with information. The voice of God is a still small voice, which because we live on a free-will planet waits until we are ready to receive it.
Once the senses are minimized, the ego chatter really gets going. “Did I turn off the coffee pot? Will I feel like I connected this time? What would that feel like? Is this Spirit stuff really real? What was it I needed to get at the store?”
Many people just give up at this stage, or take a long break from their goal of spiritual connection. But the voice of God never stops telling us that we are loved, whether we are listening to it or not. That voice comes from the Holy Spark within us that is part of God’s mind. It continues to call us in dreams or inspires us with others who have connected until we remember that we want peace and connection, and try again. A loving creator loves. We are all loved maximally and equally. It is worth listening for that voice.
Next week’s question:
• Will you speak to us on kupuna?
• Spiritual leaders are invited to e-mail responses of three to five paragraphs to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Deadline each week is Tuesday, by 5 p.m.