Is Prayer Religious or Spiritual?

Is prayer necessary on a spiritual path? Is prayer truly a religious aspect, or is there a deeper power in praying? Reflecting on these questions.

Growing up in a Hindu family, prayer has always been an integral part of my religious practices. But as I grow more conscious of spirituality, I come to one conclusion.

Prayer is NOT religious. It is infact, a vital part of our spiritual practices.

Let me start by clarifying the misconception, that “God comes to us when we pray”.

God is omnipresent. Well if you’re rolling your eyes at the use of the term God (because you are thinking of one specific energy), then let me rephrase.

The Universe is omnipresent.

Thus, in prayer, WE go to God.

What does that mean?

In prayer, as we establish a connection with the ‘beyond’, we work to eliminate the heavy densities of fear and doubt, and we start moving up the ladder, to start operating in a lighter state of knowing.

This often occurs in our worst times, when we remember, or atleast hope to be assured, that life can’t be this bad. There must be grace somewhere. And we reach out to it. We take our leap of faith.

Running, Freedom, Sky, Run, Motivation

So, the Universe is always subtly present but in true, deep-felt prayer, the subtlety becomes a roaring presence.

And thus, the grace we seek is no longer subtle either. Our life speeds up.

Have I experienced this personally? YES. For each prayer I share in today’s list, there’s a personal story associated with it, to help you see the power of prayer.

Ofcourse, there would be no point chanting a prayer if you didn’t know what it meant, and any prayer is only as meaningful as you, the person praying can intend it to be, I’ve shared the meanings for each, that you can invoke in your heart.

#1 – Om PRAYER

Om, Sign, Icon, Reminder, Yellow Sticker

MEANING : OM, or AUM, is the sound of vibration that reverberates throughout each particle of the universe, of existence. When you become one with this prayer, you become one with existence itself.

NOTE : Here’s a beautiful OM chanting music, click to check it out.

MY STORY : I started chanting Om when I first began meditation and my mindset was very pessimistic, and depressive. I talk about more about my meditation stories in this dedicated post, and as you will find, this simply word with its vibrations was just the beginner’s luck I was aching for!

#2 – Heartfulness Prayer

O Master!
Thou art the real goal of human life.
We are yet but slaves of wishes
Putting bar to our advancement.
Thou art the only God and Power
To bring us up to that stage.
Daisy, Heart, Flowers, Flower Heart

MEANING : The first part of the prayer affirms our goal – enlightenment. The second part of the prayer refers to our present state, acknowledging that we are the creators of our own problems and that our wishes and attachments are obstacles to our progress. The third statement points to the source of our liberation, recognising that it is God alone who can help us rise to the higher state of existence.

(meaning extracted from : http://www.sahajmarg.org/sm/practice/prayer-meditation )

MY STORY : At a time where I was meditating daily but still quite restless and moody, the Heartfulness Way came to me like serendipity and changed my life. The prayer has brought me immense peace and clarity, and I continue to reflect on it every night before bed.

#3 – Lotus Sutra PRAYER

Namyo Ho Renge Kyo
Yin Yang, Good And Evil, Light, Darkness

MEANING : I am devoted to the mystical law of Cause and Effect. In other words, repeating this prayer is a reminder to ourselves to be Conscious of our actions, and to let the Universe help us rapidly clear it. The faster you pray on this mantra, it is believed that life moves faster too!

NOTE: Incase you find it tricky to pronounce, here’s a powerful online version.

MY STORY : I chanted this prayer for one hour, and three days later, met my to-be in-laws and one week later, my now-husband! Before this, we had been actively searching for the ‘right guy’ since several months to no avail. It was this prayer that assured me, that sometimes our life is just a few chants away from completing a life-old promise and experiencing a true transformation.

Did life speed up? Oh boy, it did! I got married within the next 6 months and it was time for me to move to a completely different continent, with a new career path and family.

#4 – Forgiveness, Grace & Protection Prayer

I often heard my grandfather say this prayer in Hindi, which translates to,

If I have created bad Karma, please forgive me.
Please grace me.
Please protect me.
Pray, Hands, Praying Hands, Sculpture

MEANING : The beauty is in its simplicity. When you seek humble forgiveness, when you acknowledge the karmic debts, you walk towards liberation. We alone cannot understand our Karma, because we are not that Conscious or evolved, but the all-knowing within each of us can help us act in a way to release them and free us.

MY STORY : This prayer humbles me, every time. Having been reflecting on it since I was a kid, it always reminds me that I’m only a part of the grand scheme of things, and only here to play my part. There are moments when I’m filled with hopelessness or resentment, and this prayer clears my head and the hurt.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON PRAYING

While Karma, action, is important, so is being still and acknowledging the power of the Universe. Through prayer, you develop that connection during stillness; a key component to Self Actualization.

Keep doing, keep being, keep praying. 🙂

-*-*-*-

Once a month, I send a Self-Love and Spiritual newsletter containing highlights from the month.

I also include exclusive content such as e-books, guided meditations and numerous other resources – all of which you get access to as soon as you sign up!

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Spiritual Awakening : Don’t Let These 7 Experiences Disappoint You

Special 11/11 post at 11:11 PM! Discussing the ebbs and flows of the spiritual awakening, and some tips on overcoming these moments.

A 11/11 special post, at 11:11!

As much as I am excited to be on this path, there have definitely been some odd and unnerving experiences along the way which took some patience and perspective to overcome. These make me nostalgic and grateful to see how far I’ve come though, so no grudges! 🙂

Sharing a few of such moments, and hopefully in better light, so that you feel motivated to keep going.

#1 – You will not be regular with your practices.

If you’re like me, you might actually jump between one form of healing to another and feel short-lived joy. Here’s what I was like in the first two years.

  • Balanced chakras a few times and felt like a saint, until I clearly wasn’t;
  • Learned Reiki and completely quit after 3-4 days of practice;
  • Practiced hypnotherapy for a few sessions and felt healed (that bubble did pop quite a number of times);
  • Meditated sporadically and kept getting agitated at home and office;

My takeaway : It’s okay to be inconsistent or to keep exploring. Spirituality cannot and should not be FORCED. Treat this as your “no-strings-attached” period with spirituality where you’re not completely committed for some time. Eventually, you will automatically incline towards some practices more than others. Until then, keep going!

Checklist, Check, Think About

#2 – The duality will seem more obvious and unsettling than ever.

This may mean a few things, all which can be really scary to feel, such as,

  • you no longer like your job;
  • you no longer enjoy the things you used to (drastic change of habits, possibly making you an introvert if you weren’t one already);
  • you no longer enjoy being around certain people;
  • you may start resenting material pleasures;
  • you might look down on people that aren’t living as Consciously (which takes me to the next point);

My takeaway: I experienced ALL of these, and almost all at once. It was scary and I felt isolated. But gradually, I started enjoying my own company. So much, that I stopped going to parties or hanging out around people that I didn’t really vibe with. In other words – you will be able to transmute this into your strength, once you realize that YOU are still with yourself, and that’s really all that matters!

Girl, Feelings, Solitude, Unrest, Detail

#3 – You may experience arrogance, that you’re better than the people who are not Spiritual.

On the contrary, you may feel arrogant infront of other spiritual people too, and cut them off when they’re sharing something.

You might roll your eyes and think, you already know that, why are they wasting time repeating things to you!

My takeaway: Life has its own ways of humbling and grounding us. To save the embarrassment, I’d encourage you to focus on holding more compassion in your heart, so that you are able to accept people as they are. Work on keeping your heart open. And also on holding space for repeated advice – usually its the things we are so confident about are the ones that require most attention and sorting through.

#4 – You may feel overdosed.

When I had first started reading spiritual books and trying all sorts of Spiritual practices, I would swing like a pendulum. A few days or weeks, I’d devote to all things Spiritual.

And then, I’d ‘compensate’ because I was feeling overwhelmed by my experiences.

Upset, Overwhelmed, Stress, Tired

My takeaway : Though you will gradually establish a natural and less awkward rhythm in life, if you’re feeling this way, and want to do something about it, here are some suggestions. Try to balance yourself a little in both aspects of your life, by practising grounding and balancing your chakras. It also helps to meditate on crystals that balance our energy.

#5 – You may actually lose a lot of relations, or they may become somewhat irrelevant.

This is natural. You’re experiencing a growth spurt and the only thing that’s constant right now, is the growth itself!

As with all things, you will find new relations form where people vibe at your frequency and understand the experiences you’re having!

Men, Women, Apparel, Couple, People

My takeaway : It may be this way for quite some time, don’t let it get to you. Place your anchor within yourself, and your faith in the universe.

#6 – You may not behave spiritually at ALL!

I can’t even count how many times I’ve exploded in rage when cars on the streets cut my lane or honked incessantly at me the second the signal turned green. Even worse, I’ve over-reacted at home, and at work, for situations that now obviously seem petty. For a long time, it hardly seemed like spirituality was changing my behaviour.

Fist, Strength, Anger, Tear, Breeze

At times, it feels like being Spiritual is a curse more than a blessing because now we REALISE how many mistakes we make and we are desperate to really correct ourselves.

But being so deeply rooted in our past habits and patterns, it can take a really long time before we start acting like the way we think we should be acting, now that we’re Conscious.

My takeaway : As the saying often goes around, give time, time. Let yourself gently come out of years of behaviours and patterns. I assure you that in due course of time, you will be able to match your mind and actions.

#7 – You may start preaching and oversharing.

Because we think we know better (#3), we start preaching and nitpicking at people. We want them to behave in certain ways and we might scoff at them for not being conscious about the things that we have. We might think we’re being helpful, but it can seem more like mothering or teacher-ing, to those at the receiving end.

Lecture, Conference, Mission, Planning

My takeaway : Eventually, you’ll learn how to experience your truth without trying to impose opinion or recommendations on other people unless asked for. This infact has been my latest lesson, several years into the journey. Stop giving unsolicited advice. I still fumble with this one, but I’m getting there!

So you see, the journey is quite a ride. But the thing that always makes it promising is the benefits. You will start feeling balance in many forms, and it’ll all fall into place much faster than things do for people that aren’t consciously living out their lives.

So, hang in there. Not only does it get better, YOU get better too! 🙂

-*-*-*-

Once a month, I send a Self-Love and Spiritual newsletter containing highlights from the month.

I also include exclusive content such as e-books, guided meditations and numerous other resources – all of which you get access to as soon as you sign up!

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What My Year of Unemployment Taught Me

I took every ounce of my year of unemployment as an opportunity for personal evolution, and came across with these major realisations.

To clarify that I did not get fired, rather that I resigned from the corporate world because I had other career plans for myself. But, those plans didn’t happen on my timeline. As a consequence, I lived with my parents and had zero active income for nearly 1 year!

That being said, I took every ounce of it as spiritually beneficial as possible, and came across with these major realisations.

#1 – Whatever resources I need, will come to me exactly when I need them.

I’d heard a lot about the abundance mindset that is promoted in the spiritual community, but this became my first-hand experience.

The first concern people have, is the loss of a security net. Though I lived with my parents, there were some financial expenses and assets that I continued to take care of independently.

There was a certain amount of money I needed to complete my pending investments in the upcoming years, but being unemployed, my savings were not fitting.

It might sound unbelievable, but the truth is, as soon as the next instalment would come around the corner and my account was depleted, I received the financial support I needed through a gift, older investment maturing or returns from tax.

Money, Dollars, Success, Business

This happened on several occasions and now I have a safety net big enough to even generate some savings, too. 🙂

#2 – You get to choose your story.

I often got judged, hard. At first, I used to try to invoke sympathy by saying that I was fed up of my job and that it wasn’t my thing, and this and that… but later I realised, I was only trying to seek approval and second-guessing myself every time gave me that look of disappointment.

My story is as simple as this, now. I’m transitioning into a more fulfilling role. And in the process, I’m building my presence as a writer. 🙂

#3 – Other people’s success does not mean I’m failing.

I was always somewhat proud to say that I’ve never felt envious before. Until the day my best friend started getting back-to-back job offers and I sensed a tinge of envy.

He took it really well, held compassion and even admiration that we could be so honest with each other. This became the opportunity for me to see that my life is succeeding in other spaces.

#4 – Unemployment doesn’t equate to purposelessness (I spelled that right on the first shot, phew!).

I used to work 5 days a week, now I work 7.

Building a morning and evening routine for myself was the best decision I could have ever made, and I’m only sorry I waited 25 years! I am able to do EXACTLY what I want to do with my time. And this has improved my mental health in ways I cannot even begin to describe!

#5 – You learn how to un-workaholic yourself.

Like I said, post leaving my job, I became occupied around the clock. Even if they were meaningful ventures, it took me a lot of patience to undo my need to work too much.

I started balancing myself. I became active, but not necessarily productive, in business terms. I wasn’t a couch potato, infact I only watched a few minutes of comedy at the end of every day, but the rest of my time was devoted to my well-being and spreading the Light.

#6 – It is lonely.

I love being alone, it’s my comfort zone, to be honest. But even to me, it became quite lonely. When I was working and constantly surrounded by people, I always craved solitude. I spent whatever time I had after work just soaking in my own energy and trying to experience ‘freedom’.

Now that I had it unbarred, it taught me so much about the need for companionship. I began to appreciate group meditation, workshops and even collaborations with people for my blog.

It taught me a big lesson – we aren’t meant to live life on Earth alone. We just need to learn to live it with detachment and compassion. As my husband puts it, inter-dependent versus co-dependent.

#7 – Balance is NOT effortless, atleast not at first.

In the truest sense, unemployment taught me to balance myself in a way, that no job can teach anyone. When you are fully accountable of yourself, it can be daunting. Full accountability means being able to make small choices at every awake moment.

Fisherman, Fishing Boat, Boat, Fishing

Do you spend your day sleeping because you slept late at night? Do you take a shower the first thing in the morning or skip a few days at a time? Do you spend time reading a book, or in front of the TV?

It calls for the need to have certain routines, to keep growing, educating yourself and moving forward even if not in terms of a paid career.

And most importantly, my unemployment taught me that my job doesn’t define who I am.

I define who I am.

And I am a little more awesome, every single day! 😉

-*-*-*-

Once a month, I send a Self-Love and Spiritual newsletter containing highlights from the month.

I also include exclusive content such as e-books, guided meditations and numerous other resources – all of which you get access to as soon as you sign up!

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