There is a foundational principle for all of our human experience. It is the Law of Cause and Effect. This is the foundational pattern for all Creation. It is the male and female principle at work together.
For increasing numbers of people in Western culture, prayer has gone out of fashion. Religion has gotten ahold of the process of prayer and, in many cases, taken the life out of it. It has often become an institution of religion, followed by rote with lots of shame. In some religions, they dish out prayer as punishment—not very appealing, it seems to me. Not surprisingly, many people end up feeling disempowered by prayer, which is the exact opposite of its true purpose.
True prayer lets the Law of Cause and Effect work in our human experience. As a human being, our role is to let the Cause and Effect meet in consciousness. This involves asking with openness for the answer, whatever it might be.
Sometimes people try to roll the question and the answer into one thing: I’ve got this problem, and I’m asking for something; and by the way, this is the answer I want!
It’s not a very satisfying approach. When the person doesn’t get the answer they want there is a loss of faith, only because God—presumed to be the genie in the magic lamp—hasn’t given the person what they want. When we live life with an asking and an openness, but without a demand that the answer come in any particular way, we can receive a true answer. True Cause has been invited into our consciousness to create a True Effect.
We have to be prepared to not only ask the question but to have the answer come through us. Everything in us is asking already, if we’re willing to give voice to it. Everything in our hearts is wanting something. We have to have the courage to allow that wanting to come to focus in our own mind and heart to become conscious of it, and then have the courage to give it expression. To come before Life itself and ask, What’s looking to happen? What is the answer for what’s present here? If we ask with openness, honoring the source from which all answers come, we become an open vessel through which the answer can pour forth. We then have to take heart in hand and play our part to let that answer come.
True prayer is an openness upward, ultimately to the source of all answers. And then a person has to be willing to bring the answer. I don’t think it goes very far if you are just asking questions but you are not open to have the answer come through you. Ultimately the answer has to come through you, and then through all of life around you.
It doesn’t always seem like that is what is happening. There are those blank periods when we have asked a question and the answer has yet to come, and there we are in the middle of that experience. Uranda spoke of the abyss of nothingness. It can feel like that in the gap after asking a question and before receiving the answer. There we are, apparently with some kind of blank, some kind of void. But I’d rather have a blank and a void—maybe even what feels like an abyss of nothingness—than a pile of dung that is a humdrum life, a life full of routine, a life going nowhere. Or a life ruled by the belief that I am being victimized because I am not getting what I want. There has to be empty space in which a true answer to a true prayer can come.
The answer may be information that is guidance for a specific action. Maureen Waller speaks of hearing the answer as a voice that said, “I have a plan.” So you may receive direction and wisdom in answer to your prayer. But it may also be an answer of blessing, an answer of love, an answer of deep peace in the middle of what’s happening in your life. The answer may be the ordering power of the universe and the comfort of that power.
Have you ever had the experience of deep peace and a kind of still focus that put you in touch with something that you hadn’t been in touch with in the same way before? And then found yourself in a place of enjoying what had filled in the nothingness that had been there because of your still focus and deep peace? And wondered, What have I been missing all along? What is it that might have come to me, which I was not-so-blissfully unaware of, simply because I wasn’t tuned in? Simply because I hadn’t been open to receive it?
We have the opportunity to know still focus, but not as something to be achieved and then simply maintained, as if it were a static thing. In still focus there is an ever-deepening process. There is always more to receive from the Invisible. We could stop at any point and decide that it’s now time to go on about our lives, back to so-called “normal.” That plan runs into trouble after a while. It is going on a spiritual spending spree—you earn a deep experience through still focus and deep peace and opening to the ordering power that’s within you, but if you ever turn off that openness and begin to spend the spiritual substance that you generated without earning more, at some point you run out of substance. The spree can seem like fun—a spiritual night out on the town. But at some point you will end up broke in some area of your living.
Don’t be broke! As human beings, we are made to be the way by which prayers are fulfilled. Our consciousness—the realm of our thought and feeling—is created to be the meeting place where all the openness and desire of Creation gathers in our awareness. And is then met by the power and will of the Creator. We are made in such a way that we entertain both in consciousness—Creator and Creation. We feel and know both. This is the essence of prayer. It is the means by which Creator and Creation meet. What could feel more personal than that? And yet, if we take it personally, we spoil the experience.
In a fertile open field of consciousness, true prayer fulfills the Law of Cause and Effect. It allows the power of the Creator to be present to do His perfect work through us. Alleluia!