Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022 |
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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 last week’s topic on prayer/meditation, the conversation resumes again this week. Next week’s subject is on hospitality. The suggested topic at the end of the column is for the following week.
by Pam Woolway – The Garden Island
Rev. Jasmine Schaeffer
Minister, Unity of Kaua‘i
As human beings, we spend a lot of time defining our relationship to that which surrounds us — fellow humans, nature and whatever name we choose to call a higher power. When we are able to define that relationship, we are better able to understand the tools we have at our disposal for achieving happiness.
By nature, we have feelers that extend out into the environment. When we are at odds with our surroundings it is more difficult to get in touch with those tools, so a clear understanding of our innate power is necessary, if we all want to connect. Prayer and meditation are useful tools in making that connection.
One of the most common things I hear when helping people learn to connect through meditation is that they can’t concentrate. Deep breathing helps us relax and it also oxygenates our bodies allowing for a higher state of consciousness. Consider a few other forms of meditation: the dancing meditation, the skipping meditation, the jump rope meditation and my favorite, the tree climbing meditation. All will oxygenate your body, increase your concentration (lest you fall from a branch) and thus connect you with your higher consciousness.
Humanity has not yet been able to learn to communicate effectively with its own species, much less with the rest of life. At Unity, we teach that God not only knows all, God is in every living thing. Meditation is an opportunity to practice something that nourishes our souls and keeps us grounded. It teaches us to grow by opening up, by allowing ourselves to settle into a rhythm that is timeless and not controllable, to grasp and experience the love constantly flowing to us from every living thing.
North Shore Christian Science
When you wake up at night for no apparent reason and can’t go back to sleepy you’re being asked to pray. Don’t fight it. Turn on the light, get out your most uplifting thought source and don’t try to go back to sleep until you’ve found that sense of peace you get when you feel loved.
This happened a lot when my husband Rich went to Iraq. In fact, our whole church was praying — not only for his safety, but for every soldier, child, family, contract worker and terrorist on all sides. In our own way we wrapped the country in love, acknowledging God’s loving omnipresence as the only true power. Prayers in Christian Science don’t plead to get things or make things better, but rather, in a “Thy will be done” manner, to bring a situation into harmony with good.
One of my favorite prayer themes comes from the last line of the Lord’s Prayer: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” With this support, Rich felt safe and protected. A missile aimed at the Sheraton missed the guest rooms and hit an air conditioning unit instead. A few days later a suicide truck bomb blew up short of its intended target, but very near my husband’s hotel. We felt these incidences of disaster averted were the results of the prayers from devoted “pray-ers” from all over the world.
Later on a flight on the Mainland, I asked a Marine Corps officer headed for home on leave from Iraq if he could feel the prayers from all the people praying for them? “Oh yes,” he said. “We feel it. Don’t stop. Tell everyone you know.”
The Spiritual Assembly of
the Baha’is of Koloa
“O Son of Light! Forget all save me and commune with my spirit … this is the essence of my command, therefore turn unto it.” Baha’u’llah, from ”The Hidden Words.”
“There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer,” wrote Abdu’l Baha, an early leader in the Baha’i faith. “The most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication. The greatest attainment is none other than conversation with God. It creates spirituality, creates mindfulness and celestial feelings, begets new attractions of the kingdom and engenders the susceptibilities of the higher intelligence.”
In a prayer written by Baha’u’llah, the founder of the faith, we are called upon to beseech the Lord “… to make of my prayer a fire that will burn away the veils which have shut me out from thy beauty and a light that will lead me unto the ocean of thy presence.”
Regarding meditation, in the book “Baha’u’llah’s Teachings on Spiritual Reality” compiled by Paul Lample, it is explained that “the reason why privacy hath been enjoined in moments of devotion is this, that you may give your best attention to the remembrance of God, that your heart may at all times be animated with his spirit. Baha’u’llah says, there is a sign (from God) in every phenomenon: the sign of the intellect is contemplation and the sign of contemplation is silence, because it is impossible for a man to do two things at one time; he cannot both speak and meditate.
Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves. To illustrate this, think of man as endowed with two kinds of sight; when the power of insight is being used the outward power of vision does not see. This faculty of meditation frees man from the animal nature, discerns the reality of things, puts man in touch with God.
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 email@example.com
• Deadline each week is
Tuesday, by 5 p.m.
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