Rewards of prayer and meditation. First, let us consider some basic questions and ideas, as they will relate to this blog entry.
What is a reward?
A gift or compensation for an effort or action
Does this mean prayer and meditation are difficult or require substantial effort to gain a reward?
For some, their personal connotation of these words will cause them to be difficult to achieve. These are folks who have allowed the words (prayer, meditation) to become entangle with and overshadowed by their perception of the word religion. These may be folks who have developed a general aversion to religion and are not aware that religion and spirituality are two distinct different things. Or possibly folks who have just never developed an understanding of spirituality. For others, over emphasis will make them difficult to achieve. These are folks who feel it must be done in just such a way or feel crippled by not “knowing how” to.
For others prayer and meditation are very easy, sometimes spontaneous, or just “natural.”
What is prayer?
Prayer is a directed, one-way communication with an outside force. We direct or thoughts or questions or concerns or requests to a specific entity. This is focused expression to a distinct spirit or group of spirits. For some it may be a “casual conversation” to (not with) their Creator. In other words, they are chatting with sincerity to their entity not expecting any exchange dialog. This may be to express concern or request guidance. To express gratitude for life’s gifts or beauty or to seek an understanding of something that troubles us.
What is meditation?
Meditation is a purposeful quieting of the mind with intent to focus deeply.
The focus may be on many different intents such as calming the nerves, relaxing the body, opening the mind to “answers,” receiving direction from a higher power, “installing” a concept or idea as a new belief or truth. Calming the nerves, relaxing the body and opening the mind are all part of the process into meditation; however, they may also be the single goal of that specific meditative session.
How must one pray?
The way that is best for them. Individual philosophies and religions often teach a recommended way to pray, however, there is no spiritual law that dictates how you must pray.
How must one meditate?
The way that is best for them. Again, there are many “suggested” ways to meditate, however, an individual can easily try them out to find what fits them best just as they would try a few pairs of shoes or pants to find which fits best.
So… what are some of these gifts or rewards that come to us through prayer and meditation?
There simply is no faster, more effective way to gain serenity than through prayer and meditation. Do you have to both pray and meditate? Not at all. In fact, prayer and meditation are separate functions. Prayer is a fast, at the moment communication with a higher power and can be achieved at any time. Whereas meditation requires time and the absence of any other activity. Both however, are very effective in gaining peace of mind and quieting the internal chatter, often called the “committee.”
For some this single, pure reward of serenity may only be brief following immediately after or shortly after prayer or meditation. For others it may be residual for several hours or even days. What I have learned is that the more frequently I pray for guidance and to express gratitude, the more residual and steadfast the serenity. The more regularly I meditate, the deeper the serenity.
The ingredients that combine into serenity are peace of mind, faith, acceptance, patience, tolerance and gratitude. Any one ingredient gives us a “bit” of serenity; however, the more of the ingredients that come together, the deeper and more fulfilling the serenity.
When we pray or meditate, we need to focus on each of these and seek them.
Each individual ingredient is also a gift in itself. In times of uncertainty, peace of mind is priceless. When we are in a hurry, patience and tolerance can be wonderful when we encounter others who have no need to be in a hurry.
Ideally, we should be praying frequently throughout our day and meditating 2-3 times a day. Praying for guidance in decisions, praying for guidance in living “in a good way,” and acknowledging gratitude for the special moments in our day (seeing a flower, seeing an animal, seeing a smile, opportunities to smile to a stranger, opportunities to do good things,..). We should pray gratitude for the things and people we have in our lives, and gratitude for our lives. We should meditate in the morning asking for guidance and the blessing of starting the day in a good frame of mind with good intentions. We should meditate in the evening and seek guidance and awareness of how to become a better person and for answers to our questions and awareness of our mistakes.
Hello my friend- it’s very difficult to live ideally! What we can do though, is make a conscious effort to live that way as best as possible. Work at becoming aware of opportunities to pray throughout the day and set aside time to meditate at least once a day. The gifts and rewards are priceless and the “effort” fades away as the practice becomes part of our life.
The rewards also include a wonderful transformation of our attitudes towards life and all things. In time there are less “problems” and more serenity.
The bottom line of step eleven is improving our conscious contact with our Higher Power and seeking to live the type of wonderful life that HP intends for us. We do this through prayer and meditation. We become better people. We experience life in a better way. We come to know a sense of serenity that baffles “normal” people.
By Wolf running with the Spirit Wind