The Magnificence of Prayer

I have always been of the mind-set that prayer should not form mere words that are recited as an obligatory duty but should be a form of meditation, where a connection is established from the heart. For this reason, I used to pray but not very often – just now and again when my heartfelt the desire to establish contact.  I couldn’t pray in front of anyone as I saw this as a public display of what I considered to be a very personal affair between a person and his Creator.  Maybe, in the depths of my distorted thinking, I thought I would be judged and shied away from this. 

Image result for the magnificence of prayer.
Expressed through my words, my gratitude and my connection with Him. This is the magnificence of prayer.  

I would witness people praying quickly before a specific programme was to begin. I would witness people praying in front of others, yet this routine was not established when in solitude.  I witnessed prayer as a bargaining tool in return for something.  I would witness a state of worry even after prayer.  How could this be?

How could there be worry where there was faith? Was prayer performed to please others? Was it a tick box exercise?  Was this appointment with the Creator squeezed in but not prioritised.  I found this odd, almost insulting and although I had no right to judge, I couldn’t allow myself to fall into any of those categories. 

As my meditation practice became more established, something within me began to change.  There was more of an inner urge to connect with my Lord.  Like a magnet, I felt pulled to prayer and so a more regular routine for prayer started to develop. I aim to ‘connect’ every day, at least a few times – not because I have to but because I now have the desire to, because I want to feel closer to Him – like a mere drop wanting to be part of the Mighty Ocean.

I consider prayer to be my personal appointment with my Creator.  This is my time to connect and feel at one, feel at peace with the Deity who provides me with all I need and so much more. To feel like I am surrounded with His love and in His divine presence.  A time, when I am able to shut out the world and focus on the love I feel in my heart – expressed through my words, my gratitude and my connection with Him. This is the magnificence of prayer.  

Prayer has helped me not only in my darkest hour to feel the strength I need to carry on, but also in my brightest hour to show gratitude and appreciation for all I have.  The strength of prayer has created within me a healing light that brings inner peace to my thoughts and energy of love that heals and radiates through my body. It is the magnificence of prayer through which I sometimes feel fully immersed in the presence of my Creator. I feel this time cannot be spent whining like a child who always wants, but just stilling myself in His presence as I know he knows my needs better than me…

My faith in my Lord beckons me to absorb the magnificence of prayer…   

Pray…  from with heart…. Pray to connect…

What we think, We become

Positive thinking- what we think and repeat we become

Have you ever stopped and thought about the language you use? The words and phrases that become a habitual part of everyday life?  

There are so many phrases that become routine in their usage. Words we say all the time without thinking of their impact:  ‘that’s stressful!, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ , ‘ I’m fed up!’ ‘Why does this always happen to me?’  ‘I’m having a bad day!’ ‘I’ll never be any good at this!’ and then there’s the endless ‘What ifs’ – creating a whirl of negativity, which ends up manifesting into mental and physical ill-health.

Do words really have power? I pondered upon this and came to the conclusion that yes, words have power but ONLY because of the FORCE that powers them; our FEELINGS.

The feelings with which we use words gives power to them and those words manifest into actions and behaviours; what we think of and tell ourselves is what we become and this is what we radiate, so make sure your thoughts are kind and loving.

Most of the time, I think people are unaware of what they say and how their chosen words affect their state of heart and mind and ultimately level of happiness.  What we tend not to realise is that we fuel negative phrases with great belief and determination, yet that same level of determination is not always applied to positive phrases. 

I remember a time when the language I used was extremely negative and I was oblivious of the impact this had on me.  The endless negative language engulfed me into a state of chronic stress, where nothing was positive or good and resulted in me feeling despondent. 

When I look back at that time, I can now see the power with which I used those negative phrases – I fully believed in what I said.  Words like ‘I can’t cope’ ‘I’m stressed’ were uttered with such depth of negative feeling that those states manifested.  I had convinced myself that I was stressed and couldn’t cope and that’s exactly what happened.    

The irony is that now I do more than double what I used to do but I don’t utter words that are fuelled with negativity – I just get on with it. I fuel my positive phrases with the power of determination and fill them with positive feelings and beliefs; this creates a wonderfully positive attitude to do all I put my mind to.

Words have power because of the feeling or determination with which we use them.  Observe your thoughts and become aware of the words you use, reflect and make changes.  We get into bad habits of regurgitating the same words and phrases without really thinking about what we are saying and how these words impact us.  

If they are negative, because you have habitually developed a problem-based mindset; be aware of this and begin to examine solutions so you are able to slowly develop a solution based mindset.  Through thinking in this way, you will begin to notice the positive determination that you use to power your chosen positive words.

Your words have power, use them wisely and observe the wonderful magic that happens when you just change the language yo use.

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In pursuit of happiness

Happiness, the one emotion we strive to achieve.   What will it take to make you truly happy? To feel content, to feel bliss?

What is happiness?  This state of mind, this feeling tends to be synonymous with success – success with health, with relationships with work and finances. We associate happiness with situations and people.  But why? Why do we give away the power to feel happy when this is a state of mind? A state of mind that is fully in our control.

The general consensus is that when everything is ok, I will be happy, at peace.  But in reality that seldom happens.  When we are at peace, when we are happy, then everything falls into place.  To feel inner happiness, without this being attached to people or situations is the key.  For me, this has been an area of great importance and development.

For me, the pursuit of inner happiness is the epitome of success.  I am happy and content with my life and all the challenges I have faced.  I have all I need and more. This state of mind has been achieved through adopting three specific practices: acceptance, awareness and gratitude.   When we don’t accept a specific situation whether that is related to relationships, career, finances or health, we become stuck and stagnate in a swamp of negativity and helplessness.  This lack of acceptance results in the creation of a negative narrative and it all begins with one negative thought which leads to another and another and before you know it you are tangled in a dark web of negativity.  This conditioned behaviour of overthinking leads to a number of negative emotions from stress and worry to frustration and anger.

However, when you begin to accept a situation, there is no struggle as the brain succumbs to the notion of what is, allowing the healing process to accelerate.  This then results in moving forward with a renewed mind set – where an alternative thinking pattern provides a more positive perspective.

As well as acceptance, be aware of your thoughts – observe them. When you are aware that your thoughts are taking on a negative form, shift this thought pattern.  The most effective method to do this, is through practising gratitude. Focusing on and appreciating what you are grateful for in life begins to create harmony and bliss in your life.  Think, say and most importantly, feel gratitude from your heart. It is when gratitude from the heart is achieved that you feel happiness emanating from within.

The practice of gratitude is very powerful – don’t underestimate the power of being thankful and appreciative.  For me, this practice has created within me a glow of happiness like a warm, glowing fire on a cold night that provides warmth and light.  The first words I utter as I awaken, are always those of gratitude: I am grateful for a good night’s sleep; I am grateful for a comfortable bed; I am grateful for my job which allows me to have these comforts.  Like this, through the day, be thankful constantly for everything and see the glow of happiness expand in your life.

Forgiveness

The notion of forgiveness can sometimes be unfathomable.  We tend to associate forgiveness with the degree of an unacceptable act.  But is that what forgiveness really is….?

To forgive is probably one of the most challenging things we do. Not being able to forgive carries with it a torrent of emotions from regret, resentment and hatred to guilt and anguish, with which we torment ourselves on a regular basis.

To some degree, I think the concept of forgiveness is not entirely understood, which is why we tend to associate forgiveness with the degree of the ‘unforgiveable act’.  This misconception about forgiveness results in agonising reminders about the past which are repeatedly replayed in the mind.  We tend to tell ourselves that we cannot forgive someone because of what they did – it becomes an issue of the ego…. And what we don’t realise is that we create our own inner hell…

And who does this affect? Only, the individual who is unable to forgive.  In doing so, we haul around an array of negative emotions, burdening the heart and the soul; living in the past; not allowing ourselves to move on fully with life.  The inability to forgive not only perturbs the heart and mind but, with time, this begins to manifest into physical ill-health.

Forgiveness does not mean you condone one’s actions; it merely allows you to release the pain you feel.  It does not mean what somebody did is acceptable – forgiveness is about inner peace.  I do not believe in the notion of forgiving and forgetting.  Forgive and let go but do not forget as that would be an act of stupidity.  Remember who caused you harm (just faintly, at the back of your mind somewhere) so you able to better protect yourself from any possible future hurt –   The act of forgiveness allows the mass of negative feelings to transpire into the abyss, resulting in a sensation of lightness of the heart and mind, like soft, billowy clouds drifting gently in the sky.  This restores equilibrium in the mind allowing the oppressive heart to heal, illuminating the darkest corners with the purest light of love.

It is vital to firstly exonerate yourself for anything you may hold yourself responsible for in a negative manner.   This can be accomplished through self-talk or a forgiveness mediation, where you verbally repeat the words ‘I forgive you’ and visualise the point of pain being released.  This, I found was a lot easier than to forgive others.  The arduous task of forgiving others demands a lot more inner strength but the liberation you feel after exonerating others in one that cannot be compared.

When forgiving others, we sometimes need to revisit this process repeatedly, in order to fully forgive and release.  It’s a layered affect – a little like an onion – the process can make you cry as you release a layer at a time until you a ready to fully release the hurt, ultimately resulting the lifting of a heavy burden allowing deep healing to take place.

Why torture yourself? Why revisit pain when you can release the anguish and live a happier, more fulfilled life?   Move into the present, leave the past where it is and focus on NOW – that is what will result in inner peace, contentment and bliss.  Stop existing and start living; forgive and let go. Forgive.

 

The Power of Gratitude

Is it a situation that is challenging and stressful or is that just our perspective?  When a situation arises in life that we deem ‘difficult or challenging,’ is it possible to modify that perspective to one that is more positive?

As I sit here gaze at the beauty in the skies, the greenery of the trees and the blossoming flowers that parade their beauty, I ponder upon the challenges that life presents us with and cannot help but be grateful.  I am grateful for the beauty that surrounds me, the ambience that it creates and for the challenges that provide an opportunity to grow and evolve as an individual.

Gratitude is the one mind-set that for me has had a humongous impact on my perspectives in life.   This has helped me though some of the most challenging situations that life has presented.  I always start the day with gratitude – my first thought is that of gratitude; for a perfect night’s sleep, a comfortable bed and roof over my head.  I adopted this practise many years ago and have continued it since.

Starting the day with gratitude led me to feel positive and happy.  I then began to feel grateful more often in the day – for other aspects of my life; from my job and the income it brought in to the love my cat Stormy would show. With time, this practise of gratitude would almost feel like a ray of contentment radiating from the heart – the effect of gratitude is profound; it is life changing.

Scientific research reinforces the fact that our brain changes according to our thought pattern – neurons fire to form connections that become strengthened with repetition. This is how a behaviour or thought pattern becomes automated.  We remain in a state of unhappiness, stress and worry because these thought patterns become ‘hard wired’ and thus, automatic.  Break this negative thought pattern and shift this thinking by focusing on gratitude – and make it a daily habit! By doing so, the brain learns to remain in a state of happiness through strengthening those neural pathways in the brain that are reinforced through repetition.

To remain in a constant state of gratitude creates a barrier of positive protection from the forces of the overthinking negative mind.  Through this attitude, I feel the chaos of the mind beginning to rewire itself to peace.  For me, these thoughts have developed a feeling of ‘love’ in my heart.  The attitude of gratitude allows me to feel connected to my Lord – I feel the light within me connecting to the light of my Creator.

The words ‘Thank you’ – although the initial step, just don’t seem to be enough.  Gratitude has to be thought by the mind, uttered by the tongue, demonstrated in every action and felt from the heart; like a beam of light radiating from within. Take a step back and allow gratitude to create a sense of contentment, which will transform your mind, body and soul, filling it with love for the Divine. Through this meditative state, I feel my Lord in my heart – love filled to the brim, overflowing as tears through my eyes– giving me the inner strength to accept what is and face any challenges in a more positive way.

When you feel your mind is ‘overthinking’ or you seem to be focusing more so on negative situations, then take a moment and shift your thinking to something that is good in your life.  Appreciate and be grateful for this, for when you do, you will realise, that there isn’t enough time in the day to be grateful for everything you have.