Prayerful Living in the Moment

More and more I experience prayer as a form of attention, not paid but given, and largely without a subject. It is a recognition that what I am in truth is not separate from God, and that confirmation of this fact can be glimpsed and known even within the welter of illusions that appear to surround and define me.

This is not to say that vocal prayer or any other form of structured prayer is bad. I am not saying that. Falling to one’s knees and asking for help, or offering up a heartfelt “why?” in the face of strife, or simply uttering “thank you” at day’s end is a good thing. It reflects faith and willingness.

At the same time, one begins to experience God – or sense God – as not a separated and distant entity or energy form but an internal presence. When I come back from my morning walk, the sun just rising behind me, I often stop at study the flower garden which for the most part now grows dull and sags. It is beautiful still, in the way of things which graciously accept and lean into the end of physical form, and I deeply grateful for it. Standing before it wordlessly and not really needing it to be other than it is right now I experience God as here. The lines and circles of which reality seems to be composed shift and loosen and one glimpses without any real effort or need the Love beyond.

When we accept the idea that God is a present reality from which we are not removed, prayer adjusts itself accordingly.

Prayer has no beginning and no end. It is a part of life But it does change in form, and grow with learning until it reaches its formless state, and fuses into total contemplation with God (S-1.II.1:1-3).

If salvation is truly a recognition that “what was never true not true now, and never will be” (T-31.I.1:2) then what effort is required of us? We don’t have to dismantle the world, or rearrange our lives to be more spiritual or prayerful, or find new friends, or the right edition of A Course in Miracles.

We need to simply give ourselves to what is. It is there waiting and asks nothing but that we be willing to see it in place of the illusions we have raised to block and entangle it.

Heaven is Given. God is here now.

If we give attention to this truth – even if we doubt it, even if we are not yet glimpsing intimations of it – then it will dawn on us. Our attention to it is the gift.

Sometimes we are like children – well-intentioned but still deeply confused – who walk into a room filled with presents and say “where are the presents?”

Thomas Merton wrote very beautifully in Contemplative Prayer about the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit room in which to act. When we do, prayer – and life generally – become less and less about ends that we have chosen and more towards acceptance of “another way.”

[I]nstead of being directed towards ends we have chosen ourselves, instead of being measured by the profit and pleasure we judge they will produce, they are more and more directed to an obedient and cooperative submission to grace, which implies first of all an increasingly attentive and receptive attitude toward the hidden action of the Holy Spirit (41).

Rather than do and do more and do differently, why not simply give attention to what is – right now – in this moment?

When we do that, we discover first that the present – what A Course in Miracles calls the Holy Instant (T-15.I.7:5) – is sufficient unto itself. It needs nothing to be itself but what is already present. And we are whole within it. We encounter perfection.

The Holy Instant – which we drift in and away from – always begets a deeper capacity for stillness. In stillness, our awareness naturally expands. It is prayerful in a full and vital way.

Tara Singh talked about this in The Voice that Precedes Thought, calling on students to become grateful for the presence of God, and the simplicity of salvation.

So, come to simplicity
Do not look for saints outside of yourself.
You become the saint
for indeed you are a saint.

. . .

Gratefulness is an awareness
in which we see what is ever present
and ever manifesting.
It is a state of being.
It includes all of humanity.

Gratefulness is the expression
of light within . . .

(26)

Rather than ask for God to come to us, can we begin to practice accepting God is within us? That the separation never occurred? That our experience of being bodies in the world both forever subject to change and death is a smokescreen hiding a more glorious truth?

It is true that for most of us the light comes on slowly. An Emily Dickinson poem, the sound of leaves falling at midnight, moonlight on snow, a handwritten note from a child, a stranger’s kind glance or assistance.

But can we begin to see what lies beyond the form of those kindnesses, those moments of beauty? The pure stillness of love – Life everlasting – that is our inheritance because it is what we are?

God is here. We are already holy. Let prayer be the means by which we become aware of this deep truth about ourselves – and the means by which it radiates.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • June Fish October 10, 2013, 11:26 am

    I have recently discovered something new to me about prayer. I say “I want to talk to you about something that is troubling me”, then go into my Stillness space inside, but when I get there, words disappear, even thoughts seem to quiet down, and I just feel what it is I want to talk about. This is so much more complete/all inclusive than words. I soon feel like I have been heard and I leave my request or desire there, knowing I will have and already have my needs met.

    • Sean Reagan October 10, 2013, 11:33 am

      Thanks for sharing that, June. That is my sense, too – there is a space beyond words where prayer is heard and answered. It is very peaceful to reach that space or – when we are having trouble reaching it – at least knowing that it is there. It reminds me of that passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans (8:26): “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness: for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

      Love,
      Sean

  • Susan October 10, 2013, 2:41 pm

    Sean: Love this post!!! It was exactly what I needed to hear today. More and more is being revealed to me. I really look forward to your posts; they help me so much. Thank you.

    • Sean Reagan October 10, 2013, 2:50 pm

      You’re welcome, Susan – I’m glad it’s helpful. Thank you for being here –

      Sean

  • Janet Acquilano October 10, 2013, 6:16 pm

    Hi Sean, We just discussed the “correct” way to pray, and read through quite a chunk of Songs of Prayer, at my last Course meeting. It was quite enlightening. I have been working on lesson 155- I will step back and let him lead the way, for a couple of weeks. My life fell apart, as in I lost my job, but not everything. I am in the process of finding another job, and previously was a stay at home mom for 17 years, so I have no college degree. Excellent customer service!!! I believe everything happens for a reason, and I am going to continue to believe that. The sooner the reason shows up the easier this illusion will be for me. In some small ways it has, although that has not been monetarily so. At my meetings we now team up with one member, choose a lesson and work on it for the week, calling each other and discussing what we are getting from it. Very nice. Most all of my group is going through very “tough” times right now. My friend printed for me, from a book describing the lessons in detail, the one on lesson 155 which is 11 pages long. I do like this in detail description. I do not know the title of this book,but am going to order it when I do. I have Gary R Renard’s new book arriving hopefully by Saturday. Long sentences and all but still OK. I hope all is well with you. Even though I am not seeing that rainbow at the end of the tunnel right now, I do know it exists and I will get there. I actually know I never left it, but this illusion is quite deceptive at times. Take care and I look forward to your next post. I always post them to my facebook page, and I have over 400 freinds from around the world. If you ever go on facebook my name is Janet Wilcox Acquilano. If you would rather I not post them let me know. The beat goes on…..

    • Sean Reagan October 11, 2013, 5:18 pm

      Thanks Janet – I appreciate the kind words & your insights. Share away! I love that you are settled on a particular lesson – working it and getting closer to it. I was so type A when I first went through the workbook, desperate to finish and get an A from Jesus. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t about graduating but learning and that taking the time to really understand the teaching was a blessing. Also that shared experience with a brother or sister – very cool group that you are working with!

      Love,
      Sean

  • Gina October 10, 2013, 9:28 pm

    What a beautiful passage, Sean. We must remember to pray in gratitude each day ,to say thank you for all we have each day. Our God is good and loving. Thank you. Gina

    • Sean Reagan October 11, 2013, 5:16 pm

      Thank you Gina . . . Yes, gratitude is so powerful . . .

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