The Prayer Life

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Tau Malachi
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The Prayer Life

#1 Postby Tau Malachi » Sat May 08, 2004 2:55 pm

In the Gospel of St. Thomas Yeshua responds in a rather startling fashion to questions from his disciples regarding spiritual practice. Continuing from a response in saying 6, in saying 14 Master Yeshua says: "If you fast, you will give rise to sin for yourselves; and if you pray, you will be condemned; and if you give alms, you will do harm to your spirits." It sounds as though he is discouraging spiritual practice altogether, and yet throughout the gospel he is teaching the spiritual life and practice through which one can experience Messianic consciousness. The very first saying in the gospel relates directly to a method of meditation through which one can expeience gnosis and communion with the Risen Savior. Thus, whatever Yeshua's meaning regarding fasting, prayer and charity it is not to discourage spiritual practice. Rather what he is discouraging are practices approached in the dualistic view common to institutionalized religions and their dogmatic creeds and dogmas - hence practice bound to the dominion of the demiurgos and the egoistic self.

A consideration of prayer and why one prays can give us insight into what Yeshua actually means in these words. Essentially, in their spiritual immaturity, many folks think of prayer as though it is an effort to change the mind of God. It is as though they are a little child and God is the cosmic mommy or daddy, and in prayer they are begging with God to get what they want or for things to go their way, no different than a child with a parent at the supermarket who is pleading with their parent who said that they could not have any candy. Firstly, such prayers are completely dualistic in nature - God is viewed and completely outside and separate from the person who is praying. Secondly, such prayers project human traits upon the Person of God and the Godhead which have nothing to do with God. Thirdly, such prayers are completely founded upon the vital demands of the egoistic self and bestial nature. In this sense such prayers are themselves a sin, which is to say missing the mark.

Yeshua is speaking about this kind of prayer, but he is also speaking about prayer performed as a religious duty, or for the sake of appearances, as though play acting. Thus, not only prayer from a dualistic view, or founded upon a spiritual immaturity, but also prayer lacking the empowerment of sincerety and faith, and kavvanah (concentration) and devekut (cleaving). In other words, any time a person is unclear regarding the true purpose and meaning of prayer it can become an activity that further binds the soul instead of serving to illuminate and liberate the soul.

The true purpose and meaning of prayer is not an attempt to change the mind of God, but rather it is to bring about a change in our own mind, heart and life, a change in our own consciousness. The purpose of prayer is to attune our consciousness to Divine Being and to bring our mind, heart and life into harmony with the Divine Will and Kingdom. On the one hand this may serve to facilitate a flow of Divine Grace that may well bring about a change corresponding to what we are praying for; one the other hand, however, it may equally serve to bring us into an acceptance and harmony with what is transpiring - what simply is not going to be changed. In this sense we are reminded of Master Yeshua's prayer on the eve of the Passion, when he prayed, "Father, if it is your will, let this cup pass from me, but if it is not your will that it pass from me, then let your will be done."

Whether something changes externally, or the change is completely in us, nevertheless what has actually changed is our own configuration of consciousness - for what appears external is, in fact, the same consciousness-force that is internal to us (the inside and outside are one and the same space, and one and the same being-consciousness-force). When we are able through prayer and Grace to bring about a change in our consciousness, things external might change correspondingly; in any case, even if they do not change, through prayer and Grace our relationship with them changes - and thus things change. This is the purpose of prayer, and it is the meaning of prayer. In such a prayer there is no sin, but it is completely righteous, good and true - and such prayers are always answered!

In the Zohar we are frequently told that God waits upon the prayers of the faithful and elect in order to bring about the working of wonders. When the Zohar says this it implies that human beings are meant to be conscious co-creators with God and centers of the activity of the Divine presence and power - channels or vehicles of the Light-power. Likewise, it implies a basic principle of the Law upon which creation and the world is founded: in order for a spiritual being-force to influence and enter into the material dimension it requires a physical being through which to influence and enter. This is true whether the spiritual being-force is Divine, admixed or demonic - there must be a vehicle for it to enter and act. Human beings are the primary vehicles of spiritual forces on earth. Thus, in prayer we make ourselves vehicles of the Divine presence and powers - conscious agents of the Divine Will and Kingdom.

Prayer in which we become a conduit of Grace (the Anointed and Holy Spirit) can only occur through an awareness of the Light-presence in us, as well as the Light beyond us; hence a sense of spiritual self-worth (or divine pride) and coupled with spiritual humility. In other words, through praying from a non-dualistic view, or at least with faith in one's inseparability from Divine Being. Engaging in prayer in this way leads to an experience of higher states of consciousness and the conditions necessary for wonder-working, and it is this kind of prayer Master Yeshua teaches his disciples to entertain.

Prayer forms a significant part of Gnostic Christian practice, along with study and contemplation, meditation and sacred ceremony. There are extensive teachings on prayer and methods of prayer in the Sophian Tradition, so I though it might be a good idea to start a thread of discussion on prayer and the cultivation of a prayer life, if anyone is interested. :D

Blessings & shalom!
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Elder Sarah
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#2 Postby Elder Sarah » Sat May 08, 2004 9:56 pm

Greetings Malachi,

I have been noticing lately that when the word "Prayer" is mentioned there tends to be a slight adversion arising. The adversion seems connected to what Yeshua is telling his Disiples about not being religous and such with prayer. How does one begin to cultivate a truly authenic prayer life? One that isn't fake and made up but one that has truth and passion to it. This doesn't seem to happen overnight, yet at the same time it seems one must just put oneself out there even if it does seem religious and self centered at first.

Also I am curious about cycles of prayer and how they can connect with the Divine Names in this work to acsend consciousness. I notice sometimes a clunky feeling like one is all over the place, and a feeling like there are being arbitrary connections made and that things are not centered in one particular cycle. As you mentioned, one must be clear regarding the true purpose and meaning of prayer and as the Zohar mentions, one must complete Prayer. It seems that to be clear and complete one must have a conscious intent. Is it a conscious intent that draws out the truth and passion?

I wonder also how we pray but don't know we are praying. For example, how we pray in the work we do all day. Or how we pray in our interactions with others. Going about daily life seems to be a prayer in its self.


Many Blessings and Thank You!
Sunny

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#3 Postby Rebekah » Sun May 09, 2004 6:12 am

In the Bible, prayers are often begun by asking God that the prayers be heard. This seems to indicate that our prayers can be “intercepted” en route by whatever spiritual forces we are attracting by the state of our minds and hearts.

Matthew 6:14 says: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

This certainly seems to speak of a willingness to change our own mind, heart and life. Why would we expect God to change something that we are unwilling to change in ourselves?

Many blessings!
Rebekah
Sophia Fellowship
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Tau Malachi
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Conscious Intention: Kavvanah

#4 Postby Tau Malachi » Sun May 09, 2004 9:36 am

Greetings Elder Rebekah & Sunny!

First, it is always good to look and see exactly what the cause of aversions are - what is in behind an aversion. Typically speaking there is either a misunderstanding, or else there is an impurity in consciousness needing purification or some issue left unresolved.

It is quite true, as with all spiritual practice, prayer at the outset is likely to be self-centered and contrived - that is typically were we start with most new things. In fact, that is why we pray; to transcend ourselves to to get real.

As I mentioned in a post on the first repentance of Sophia, our mind becomes what we entertain in our thoughts, our hearts become what we entertain in our emotions and feelings and dreams, and our words and actions flow from this. Prayer is a redirection or reorientation of the mind, heart and life - a centering of ourselves upon Divine Being, upon the Inner or Christ-self and the Mother Spirit.

In terms of prayer with thoughts and words, given that we constantly generate an endless stream of thoughts, it is a methods of transforming and illuminating that stream - uplifting and energizing the mental being. And so it is with the heart and life (vital being) by way of prayer. In terms of cycles of prayer and their focus, the key becomes acquiring the secret knowledge of the correspondences of Sefirot, Netivot and Olamot, for this is how we are able to pray with clear and conscious intention, and thus stay focused. Yeshua make the point of teachings that, generally speaking, prayers and invocations should be short and to the point - hence fully focused and clear in intention. They are drawn out only when we have a reason to do so, as in certain theurgic invocations or certain Merkavah Meditations.

Prayer goes far beyond words, however, for there are also prayers of silence, and prayers of tears and laughter, or some times just sounds reflective of emotion and feeling. Song and/or dance may become a prayer. In fact, any action can become a prayer with consciousness intention (one of the meanings of Kavvanah). As an example, if one plants a flower or plant with conscious intention, aware of the One Life-power in the flower, within and all around oneself, and a feeling or praise, thanksgiving and worship of the One Life-power, then that action is a holy prayer.

When I was a young boy and first heard Tau Elijah speak of adepts and masters who abide in constant prayer I would often think to myself, "I'll never be able to do that!" One day Tau Elijah picked up on my doubts and he turned and said to me, "Little one, every thought, emotion, dream, word and deed is a prayer, the only question is to whom are you praying, and what is the nature of your prayer?" Life is a constant prayer - a constant spell-speaking, as it were, it is only a question of what magic spell we are speaking, what self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sunny, you are familiar with the power of invocation: you have witnessed it, seen and heard and know it power - that is the power of prayer, my friend. To call upon Divine Being, archangels and orders of angels as though dear friends, or as though brothers/sisters, implies a relationship built by an ongoing knowledge and conversation and communion; hence a prayer life. One talks with one's friends and one's kindred all of the time - the Gnostic merely has very powerful and luminous friends and familiy - a divine or enlightened family and friends! Perhaps dispelling this aversion is about realizing your kindred in the Light-presence and Light-continuum as you have experienced it; hence spiritual self-worth and unification.

It is quite true - passion and truth come by way of concentration or conscious intention (kavvanah). Also, learning how to generate energized enthusiam (devekut). Everyone knows something about energized enthusiasm, for everyone has been in a negative mood before and put on some favorite music to lift their spirits. That's a simple method of devekut! The question is, what generates energized enthusiam for you?

Prayer truly is all about a conscious participation in the play of cosmic and spiritual forces, for our thoughts, emotions, visualizations, words and action are all links to spiritual forces, whether divine, admixed or dark and hostile. It is a curious thing. To say, "O Light (God) hear my prayer," is equally to say, "O Light let me hear you and see you and feel you and know you with me - guide and illuminate me." It is an invitation. Quite naturally, to invite the Light in is, at one and the same time, to banish negativity and darkness - to restore one's conscious awareness of being Spirit-connected.

Forgiveness seems to be all about the restoration of our Spirit-connection through the restoration of our awareness of the Sacred Unity underlying all things - when we recognize the unity of others with Divine Being, we ourselves experience the Sacred Unity. The sun in the sky shines on everyone, and does not distinguish between friend, stranger and enemy, or between saint and sinner, and so also does the Spiritual Sun, the Christos and God. Forgiveness brings all things into the Light - it gathers in the holy sparks and restores them to Sacred Unity.

Indeed! The mind of God does not change, it is we who change, just as there is no night and day for the sun, but night and day appear only to earth-dwellers. This can prove to be a very good contemplation/meditation.

When we pray and meditate we draw near unto the Spiritual Sun because we let the Spiritual Sun shine from within us - we become the Light of the world, as Master Yeshua taught.

Blessings & shalom!:-)
Tau Malachi

Sophia Fellowship

Ecclesia Pistis Sophia


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