Monday, May 31, 2010

The Prayer Chest

When I went to bed last night and started to quiet my mind for sleep, I realized how sad I was feeling over a situation one of my loved ones, and her family, is facing.  It had been bothering me all day, but more on the edges of my awareness because my son has been home from college this week, and I’ve been happily involved in spending time with him.

Last night, I had a chance to think about how serious her situation is.  Most gratefully, there is always a tool in times of need, one that will redirect my attention to the truth that the light of God exists in all things.

I read a book some time ago with a Unity study group called “The Prayer Chest: A Novel About Receiving All of Life’s Riches” by August Gold and Joel Fotinos.  It’s a short book and an easy read, told as a story.  I enjoyed it on a number of levels.  First of all, the story provides some wonderful insights on when and why we perceive that our prayers are being answered, or not.  I plan to write about those insights in a later post.

Another very helpful thing in this story is the central idea of a prayer chest, which the main character finds in his attic.  It's a simple wooden box, filled with his ancestors’ prayers.  He and his children are changed as they begin to use the prayer chest through their hardships.  The important thing about the prayer chest is that once the prayer is written down and slipped into the box, it’s never taken out again.  Once it’s in there, it’s in God’s hands.

My husband made a wooden prayer box for me this past Christmas, which now contains quite a few of my prayers.  It's very simple and beautiful, maybe the size of half of a shoebox with a slot on top for inserting slips of paper.  I haven’t felt the need to use it in some time, but last night I realized that I, and the family in question, could be helped by it.

I turned on the light, got up, wrote out my prayer and put it in the chest, and got back into bed.  A few minutes later I realized that I had something to add, so I got up and added another slip of paper to the chest.  Then got back into bed and went to sleep.

This morning when I woke, I knew that the burden had been lifted.  I felt clearer and lighter, but more importantly I knew that the situation with my loved ones would resolve in a way that benefits all.  The prayer chest is a physical place where we can store our concerns, then let them go, knowing that God will find them.  It provides a way to turn our concerns over to the God within everything, creating space for the light of divine intelligence to shine onto the situation.

I asked, through my written prayer placed in my prayer chest, and was answered, as I always am when I ask in the many different ways that are available to me, knowing they will be done. 

I'm thankful that my husband made the prayer chest for me; I really enjoy having it.  I don’t always use it because I pray in many different ways.  But the prayer chest is a very gentle, physical reminder that we can always ask, and we will always be answered.  

May you find many ways to know the God of your heart, and may this tool be a blessing. . . 

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I believe that stopping is a simple but important skill to cultivate. We can learn alot from cats, who elevate the skill of stopping to an art form!  Pausing from our daily activities for any amount of time, whether it’s 30 seconds or a few hours, can provide a way to reconnect with the pure intelligence within us, so that we know how to go forward in a way that is the most grounded, creative, and healthy.

Stopping is important for me to remember because like a lot of people I am busy, sometimes too much so. While it’s all good stuff, it’s important to me to maintain my equilibrium. I strive to hear my own voice and priorities as I live my life, and when I get too caught up in “doing” that becomes increasingly difficult.

I use the tool of stopping in many different ways. I teach it in classes as a stress management strategy. I have found that I'm never so busy that I can’t stop for 30 seconds, sitting at my desk between patients at work, and appreciate what’s outside my window, the trees, hills and changing sky. Thirty short seconds is enough to lift my perspective from “gotta hurry” to “I am open to the good that the upcoming encounter will bring.” All is changed in those few seconds.

The essence of my day is enhanced when I spend my lunchtime stopping, meditating or sitting in my car with the windows down just listening to the wind in the trees. I nurture my time with my husband when we sit facing each other at the end of the work day, before getting on to cooking or whatever else is in store, to see each other, hear each other without distraction, and say hello.

Stopping can be quick, or we can enjoy even more extended amounts of time. For me backpacking for a weekend feels like a whole 48 hours of stopping, no phone or clock, and nothing whatsoever to do except exist in awe of the beauty of nature.  Moments of stopping allow me to connect with the infinite wisdom of my soul, where all that happens before me is an expression of perfection.

May you relish your moments of being in the middle of your doing, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Surprise!!!! Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Sherry! Five years ago Sherry threw me, her husband, a surprise 50th birthday party and I thought I would never get a chance to top that but, since she has spent the last five months writing this blog, sharing her wonderful wisdom with readers around the world, a plan started forming. An idea came to me in the middle of the night that woke me up and I couldn’t go back to sleep until I had thought it through. I wondered if anyone had ever thrown a surprise birthday party on the internet. Where else could you invite people from around the world, but no one would have to leave the comfort of their own home to attend. So welcome to Sherry’s surprise birthday party! Thank you for coming. We will all sing happy birthday now. “Happy birthday to you….."

I was so happy that Sherry decided to share the tools she’s learned with others. Since the first post, Sherry has tirelessly written down thoughts and tools that have brought her closer to her own God within. I’ve watched as she excitedly talks about every comment that is shared by you who read this blog. You have become her friends and extended spiritual family. I’ve gotten to know you all, from Inspiration Autsin, who has been here since the beginning, to Despina, who we met here on the blog and later met in person to attend one of her workshops. There’s Harshad whose “wonderful smile” shows up in so many of the posts and Bill, AKA Timberwolf123, who adds amazingly heartfelt comments that continue to inspire further discussion. There are so many more who follow this blog one way or another and visit often. Thank you for coming.

With the continued support from you, her new friends and family, as well as the encouragement and support from her old friends like Jeri and the Ya Ya group, I know that Daily Spiritual Tools will grow even bigger and Sherry will continue thinking about you daily.

Sherry always speaks of blessings on this blog, but for me (and I think you can see as well) she is the true blessing. Sherry, you are amazing; I see you, I love you, and I cherish the days that I have been blessed with you as my partner and friend. May you continue to share you amazing insights with this wonderful spiritual community that you have developed here.

Thank you all for being here. I know Sherry would love to have you here in person, but having you join me from around the world, celebrating her birthday is the next best thing.

May Sherry and Daily Spiritual Tools continue to be a blessing…

Monday, May 24, 2010


At a meeting last week, some coworkers and I were talking about something one of them had read recently, which I thought was wonderful. It was, simply, “What are the 10 things that bring you the most joy? Why aren’t you doing them?” For me this is a very worthy question, and gets right to the heart of the matter of creating the life we're meant to live.

We are here to fulfill every dream for ourselves that we can conceive, and in this way honor God within us, as limitless creators in our own right. But what is commonly accepted is that we will move through our days mostly doing what is expected of us, and not give nearly enough thought to choosing to do what brings the most joy.

Watching my son, who is now in college and juggling work, school, rehearsals, and a growing number of responsibilities, it occurs to me how early in life this happens. I'm grateful that he loves what he does.  We work hard today for rewards to be had later, hopefully, when school is finished or we’ve found a good job, or it’s time for vacation from work or retirement. I like to think that in most cases those rewards do come to pass, but what about now? I believe that we can strive to accomplish those things that are important to us, but not get so lost in the striving that we miss knowing joy in today.

I tried it this morning, writing a list of 10 things that bring me the most joy. And what I found is that it contained simple things like dancing and backpacking, listening to God within me and nurturing my body, the beloved expression of my soul.

I’m finding that joy is a very moment-to-moment thing. There have been many big things that I’ve worked hard and planned for in my life, and they were unforgettable, but the conscious decisions that I’ve made to find joy in the small daily events are what have brought the most peace and happiness.

When the big things come up that I want to do, I find a way to do them with relish and remember them always - one noteworthy example is skydiving.  I've done it a few times and it's always amazing like nothing else I've experienced.  It's huge fun, but I can't say that having done it brings joy to my life.  As great as the big things are, they don’t add as much depth and meaning and love to my days as the simple things on my list.

Others will likely find a completely different focus in considering what 10 things bring the most joy, but the important question remains, if there are things on your list that you are not doing, what better time to begin than now?

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Saturday, May 22, 2010


We all feel a sense of belonging in this life to varying degrees, to our spouses or partners, children, birth families, friends, communities, ethnic groups and cultures.  We strive to belong, as it is a very basic human need.  It provides not only safety and security, but also the opportunity to know ourselves more fully by noticing how we are seen by others, through their own life's lenses.

The truth is that the moment we draw our first breath in this world, we belong.  As children of the earth, we join the ranks of all others who have molded this gift of life into our best vision.  We belong to that very holy family of spiritual beings having a human experience, encountering myriad paths, trials, tribulations, and joys and sorrows along the way.

From where we sit as children of the earth, the world can seem very big indeed, our perspectives divergent, and others' ways difficult to understand.  But from farther out, the worldly belonging that we share pales in comparison to the common spark we share as children of creation.  Our being here, as we know it, is as our neighborhood playground is to the entire universe.  That is not meant to diminish the tremendous joy of playing at the playground, swinging high on the swings until I'm not sure I'll be able to walk straight when I stop.  My husband and I still do that sometimes, and it's a whole lot of fun.  But our belonging is much more profound.

I told a group of friends the other night that in those fleeting moments when I completely trust the God of creation in all things, it doesn't really matter if I am here, or somewhere else.  In those moments, I am aware that as a child of creation, my existence here is only a small part of all that I am.  As children of God, we are made of the consciousness that conceived all that is, the seen and the unseen, the known and the unknown, being, or ceasing to be.  We all embody the spark of light that contains all future and all past, transcends them, and just is.

May you rest in knowing yourself as the light of creation, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Letting God

I have often heard the saying “Let go and let God.” I so very much agree with this statement, and when I hear it I think, “Yep, that’s important.” It is important, and simple in theory, but not at all easy in practice. More and more I am aware of how much I hold on to worry, and fear, and trying to control the outcome of things. It doesn’t matter how much I know in my head that my fussing isn’t needed or helpful, I end up fussing anyway.

It seems that the more I intend to let go and trust the divine intelligence that drives everything in my experience, the more I notice where I’m not letting go. Life is always providing opportunities to shine some light in the darkness. I am here to remember, and I am grateful.

When I do remember, in the middle of being troubled by some situation that is out of my control, that God has all of it, things get very quiet, and much simpler, in my body. My jumbled thoughts become peaceful, and I am aware of a rightness that leaves nothing for me to fight against. All is as it should be. That awareness is a huge gift.

That we can just let go are simple words to say, but the reality behind the words is powerful beyond measure. When we seek to fully grasp the truth that there really is nothing stronger than the endless, all-encompassing love we’re born of, overcoming any concern we could ever conceive, the human mind can't contain the immensity of it.  But spirit knows, and speaks quietly to us throughout all time that nothing less is true.  We are remembering that all that happens is designed for our ultimate good, because goodness is what we are.

Things will evolve in their own perfect way, as we remember that where we are, there is always light.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Know Thyself

I think that knowing ourselves may be the most important spiritual tool. When we truly know ourselves, there can be no room for doubting our own precious value to the world. As unlimited creators made in the likeness and image of God, we could never be any less than perfect. And in fully accepting this truth, we cannot help but shine brighter in the world, living in awareness of the grace, intelligence and love that we embody.

Our existence provides much room for questioning the perfection of ourselves and our world, but that is as it should be, for we know something much more completely by first experiencing its absence. We are given anger so that we may know forgiveness, pain so that we may know peace, and fear so that we may know faith, and ultimately love. The dichotomies of our world give us divine experience in choosing a higher truth to live by. All is such that we may grow in forgiveness, peace, faith, and love for ourselves.

Know thyself doesn’t mean complete awareness of our own goodness in every moment. I believe that it means knowing just as thoroughly those parts of ourselves that are disconnected from the truth.  The less-than-perfect stuff is harder to get to know, because we tend to push it out of our awareness.  But both the darkness and the light are God within, expressing perfection through the finite, physical form that is us.

God is there, in our resistance to the parts of ourselves that get stuck and forget. God is also there watching our resistance, and knowing its temporary nature, a wave rolling by atop the vast ocean of our eternal selves.

In making friends with both the darkness and the light in our thinking, we find the courage to let go of the small stuff that captures our attention and holds us back. In our loving acceptance of ourselves, ripples of loving acceptance move out into the world, serving the highest good for all.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sound Healing

I was blessed today to experience the profound healing that can come from sound.  I don't know a whole lot about the subject, because sound isn't the type of healing that I have focused on in my life.  But I understand the importance of changing vibration in order to initiate healing, and sound is, of course, vibration.  In my own meditation, I have experimented with my breathing and allowing myself to release by sighing with the outbreath, and I have noticed that it creates a deeper sense of connection and softening within my body.  I know many of you have experience with sound healing techniques and I hope you share them here.

I am frequently healed by music.  I have a playlist on my IPod called "spirit songs," which has many of the songs that help me feel connected to the peace and truth that is the God within me.  Today, I was healed watching my son's final concert of the season with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.  I was enraptured by the first piece, called The Chairman Dances, composed in 1985 by John Coolidge Adams.  My son tells me that I prefer minimalism.  I don't understand much about that because I'm not  a musician, but I did notice that the pace and starkness of it allowed me to feel as if I could almost taste each sound, and was left waiting expectantly for the next one.

The concert brought me to tears, listening to those young people making such perfectly exquisite music.  That a fellow human being had the talent and vision to conceive such beauty to begin with, and the musicians had the commitment and passion to pour their hearts into the beauty of it, and that they can all come together and weave each of their parts into such a heart-rending, exquisitely beautiful whole speaks to me of the never-ending good that is us, expressing our greatness.  There can be no real ill in a world where that can take place.

I received another sound healing earlier today, at our Unity service.  A woman by the name of Denise DeSimone spoke about a video she created called "Pray Peace," which is a compilation of prayers for peace from all around the world, set to moving images and music.  Denise had stage IV cancer and was given a very short time to live.  She now coaches other cancer survivors and has created a program around sound healing, which includes chanting, breath and sound techniques, and specific combinations of tones (my son would understand more about this).  She also has a CD available called "Make a joyful noise - a meditation using sound."  I'm really grateful that I was able to learn about the amazing work she is doing in the world.  You can visit her website here.

Edgar Cayce is quoted as saying that the medicine of the future is sound.  May we be open to its healing vibrations, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

In Nothing Be Anxious

My mind lately has been tending toward worried thoughts, for reasons not fully known to me.  I believe I'm matching the energy of fear that is so pervasive in the world today.  It's also likely that some of it is hormone-driven. . . such is life.   It's amazing how quickly my thoughts can turn to concern if I let them race by unchecked.

As I began my meditation today, I was wondering about what tool I could use for the worry that creeps in for no apparent reason.  I decided to pick up my copy of The Writings of Florence Scovel Shinn, and flipped to the back of the book looking for a table of contents.  There wasn't one, but the very next thing I flipped to was the first page of a chapter called "In Nothing Be Anxious."  Perfect!  It caused a chortle, in my delight at yet another demonstration of the unfailing truth that we always find what we seek.

I was reminded that I just need to change my mind.  For as many years as I've been practicing meditation, and learning about the truth of myself as the creator of my experience, my mind still runs amok at times.  That is the nature of the mind, and I'm learning not to get too stuck on where it goes.  Rather than resisting the unbidden thoughts, or even trying to understand them, it's much easier to acknowledge them and then just let them go.  Holding on just gives them more control over my experience.

Scovel Shinn adds another important piece to this in her book when she says that "Infinite Intelligence will express through (us) as success, happiness, abundance, health and perfect self-expression, unless fear and anxiety make a short circuit."  She goes on to say that it is more than just a matter of visualizing, or making a mental picture of Infinite Intelligence expressing freely through us, but "it must be a spiritual realization, a feeling that you are already there; . . . in its vibration."

For me, this spiritual realization is faith, in life, in myself and the process, and in the God who made me.  Faith creates within us the vibration of being open to our good.  When we have our eyes open to the perfect creative intelligence that we're part of, we'll always find the right chapter, and exactly what we need on our own divine path.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I read a quote whose author I don't remember that said our reason for being here is to grow in love.  I remembered the quote, at least in paraphrase, because it was so simple.  There has been so much written over eons on the subject of loving - wonderful, insightful, inspirational things, some of which have provided me with raw material to mull over and see what feels true to me.

That we are here to grow in love has felt true to me for a good long time, but that truth came to me in a deeper way today.  I hadn't talked with the God of my heart about the "Why am I here?" question in quite awhile, and was feeling like I wanted a clear sense of it, in present time.  I have done many of the things I've intended to do, and was feeling the need to consider a next step.  It's pretty easy for me to get caught up in "OK, what next," which is not a bad thing entirely, because it allows me to focus on things that are important to me.  Sometimes, though, I think the tendency sort of clouds the big picture.

I asked God why I chose to be me, now, in my current situation, with my unique perspective and particular life experience.  And God answered in my heart, with eloquence and grace, as always:

"You wanted to learn about love, in the biggest sense of the word.  For loving yourself unconditionally, you sought a difficult childhood.  For knowing a mother's deep and profound love, you have your children.  You have created a healthy and joyful marriage.  You are learning about love by loving people at those times when they are less-than-lovable, and when they are at their best.  And in your life you strive to see the love of God expressing in all things.  Can you see how completely you are living your life's purpose?"

As I always am when I talk with the God of my heart, I was struck.  The meaning of life became simple all over again, and for that I am filled with even more gratitude (if that is possible) for being here in the middle of the countless, amazing miracles that are part of my very ordinary life.

I would love to some day remember this truth in every moment.  That probably won't happen.  But as I've said, I write to remember.  Writing at times is like taking a photograph of a breathtakingly beautiful scene I've witnessed and then having it to hold and go back to.  When I look at one of those photographs I am brought right back to the truth of the beauty that we are part of.  In writing I also feel as if I hold the beauty and grace of this life in my hands.

So the big question is answered, yet again.  Tonight I'll be comfortable being just where I am, in the peace where love is enough.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, May 10, 2010

Being in Your Bubble

It takes all kinds to make a world, as one of my favorite sayings goes. There is room for humanity to express itself, individually and collectively, in absolutely any conceivable way under the sun, in order for us to know ourselves more fully as God. There is no limit to how a life can declare itself, or to the circumstances that it can create in finding its path to the truth.

I honor and appreciate the profound grace inherent in our ability to choose a life of our own making, but that doesn’t always mean that I want to be part of what other people think, or create. As sensitive spirit inhabiting physical form, we are all affected by the energy of others’ creations in both positive and negative ways.

If you bump into someone who is in the middle of creating a very accepting, love-filled day and you get a big smile or a hug from that person, you will likely be affected by that reaction in an uplifting way. Similarly, if you encounter someone who is in the middle of nurturing a belief that they are not good enough for some reason, they may feel angry about seeing someone who appears to be doing better than they are, and that anger may cause you to walk away feeling like you somehow failed, regardless of how you had felt previously. These exchanges of energy happen to all of us on a moment-to-moment basis.

One reaction to finding ourselves affected by another in an uncomfortable way is to resist the person. Resistance doesn’t tend to help. It causes communication to break down and negative feelings to grow. A very helpful and proactive way to limit how much we are affected by where others are is a simple technique called being in your bubble, which goes as follows:

1. Spend a few moments with your eyes closed, quieting your thoughts.
2. In your imagination create a bubble all around you that is about a foot out from your body. I like to picture this as a big soap bubble that is clear but indestructible. Picture this in any way that works for you.
3. Notice yourself within this bubble, and acknowledge that any type of energy you don’t want to experience in your own body will be unable to get through the bubble, and will just bounce off.
4. Walk through your day within your bubble. Take a look at the bubble periodically just to affirm that it is there, and recreate it whenever you want to.

There are some really great reasons to use this tool to manage the energy that bounces around us all of the time. A big one for me is that it frees me up to create my own experience the way I choose, as I leave others free to their own expression. I don’t need to get into the struggle and discomfort of resisting what others are doing or thinking, because it happens outside of my bubble and doesn’t need to affect me.

Being in my bubble allows me to stand quietly and witness, and even admire the myriad ways that my fellow humans choose to express their greatness, and still be true to my own experience.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Miracle of Being in the Body

Beverley at Dragon Intuitive kindly asked me to do a guest post for her called The Miracle of Being in the Body, which I was happy to do.  Dragon Intuitive brings together an amazing amount of information on many different topics relating to spirituality and mysticism.

My son is home from college this weekend for Mother's Day.  I'm really looking forward to his visit!  My thoughts today are on being very much in the moment, and creating joyful memories.

May your Mother's Day be joyful as well, and may this post be a blessing. . .

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Twenty Words to Change Your Life

I found this video when I visited a fellow blogger's site, Journey to Perfection, and I had to share it. It's a wonderful and  uplifting video that left me dancing!  Enjoy!

May this video be a blessing...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Healing the World

A tool that I want to use more frequently in my life is to help heal the world. People are floundering now, struggling to keep up with personal and global challenges that are unsurpassed in our experience. I believe that the great chaos in the world today reflects the growing pains of humanity taking a big step. Circumstances are forcing us to stop and take a stand, to make different choices, to consider the effects that our actions have on others, and to choose to live more intentionally in expressing the best in ourselves.

But it’s tiring, I think, and more than a little bit disheartening for people, faced with an intense amount of negativity that seems insurmountable. It wouldn’t be hard to succumb, and accept that the world really is “going to hell in a handbasket.” But in extreme challenge also lies the push we sometimes need to get out of our unconscious and habitual ways of thinking, and recognize that we need to choose a higher road. The truth is that everything happens for good. And our planet and its people can surely benefit from our focused healing energy as we move along on our individual and collective paths toward that good.

I learned a simple technique for healing the world at the Berkeley Psychic Institute called "hooking it up to the Supreme Being."  This is similar to the post I did recently on setting the body's energy, but on a bigger scale.  Visualizing our intention helps make it come to pass by giving our thoughts even more creative power.

1. Close your eyes and get comfortable. Breathe deeply and quiet your mind as much as possible.
2. In your mind’s eye, visualize the planet out in the dark universe.
3. Create a connection, in your mind’s eye, between God and the planet. I picture the connection as a thick cord, and I picture God as a bright golden spark of light further out in the dark universe. Please see this in any way that you are comfortable with.
4. Allow the golden light of God to shine down through the cord and into the planet, and watch as the planet becomes suffused with bright golden light.
5. The planet is now hooked up, and all are elevated to the vibration of love, peace and divine order.

It really is this simple to change the world, and we have the power to do it!  We can do this for the planet, for a group of people, or for someone individually. I hook people up to God fairly often, and the process is the same. Just see them connected to God by a golden cord, and then watch as the bright gold of divine light moves into and through them. As I do this, I notice that any concern I might be feeling for someone dissolves as I release them to infinite wisdom, and affirm their perfect path.

May this tool be a blessing. . .

Monday, May 3, 2010

Seeking Out Your Blessings

I was inspired to write today by a piece of chocolate – specifically by one of the Dove dark chocolate promises that have the little messages on the inside of the wrapper. I’ve always wondered why they’re called “promises,” but to me it implies that I will be receiving some type of special gift, and dark chocolate is definitely that! I would buy it even without the inspirational messages, but the spiritual tool that came with today’s after-lunch bite was (chocolate) icing on the cake!

My chocolate promise reminded me today that “Blessings only come to those who notice.” Such profound words of wisdom from a snack food! It is very easy to allow our blessings to go by unnoticed, especially when we are distracted by what we need to accomplish in a day. If we are too busy to take heed of the little things, we miss out on that delicious feeling of receiving gifts for no reason other than just being here.

I’ve noticed many blessings already today, both large and small. The alarm was set an hour early for some reason this morning, so when it went off, I had an extra hour to sleep! A man I didn't know held the door for me after lunch with a big, bright smile. I also got a very clear answer today from the God of my heart about an issue I’ve been pondering, and that was an even bigger blessing.

I had originally thought to title this post “Receiving Your Blessings,” but I changed it because I think the real spiritual tool here is the “seeking out” part. It isn’t that our blessings are lacking; they are ours for the taking. Spiritual “law” tells us that what we seek, we shall find. What we expect, we will receive. And what we focus on, we will create more of in our lives. Actively searching for the blessing inherent in each moment allows us to live more fully in well-justified gratitude, and honors the glory of our being.

May you find all of the sweet blessings your heart can hold, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Sunday, May 2, 2010


My husband was dedicated today as a chaplain at our Unity church.  It got me thinking about the many different ways that we pray.  For years I was uncomfortable with the idea of prayer, because whatever special connection people I knew who prayed had with God, I didn't seem to have it.  It seemed to me at the time that prayer was all about someone asking God for something, and then having it materialize.  But the people I saw never seemed to be getting anywhere in the things they prayed for.  When they didn't get what they had asked of God, they explained it as "God's will," and left me wondering why people prayed in the first place.  I wasn't sure what talent or skill a person needed to have God not only hear them, but also answer.  Whatever it was, I knew I didn't have it.  It didn't seem like the people around me had it either.

As I've moved along on my own path, I've come to see prayer much differently.  I see now that because God lives in all things, she expresses not only through me but as me.  There is no separation between the God who hears my prayers and, well, me.   And so it is for us all.

Prayer for me now is ever-closer communication with the God within.  When I pray to the God outside of myself, I am praying to myself as well, to that all-knowing, ever-perfect and light-filled part of me that is God.  God and I are co-creators in this game called life, so I am in constant connection with divine order, perfect intelligence, and love that knows no bounds.  All that I choose to be, I am.  Prayer is saying hello to that.

I have always resonated with the way it is described in Neale Walsch's Conversations With God:  "The correct prayer is therefore never a prayer of supplication but a prayer of gratitude.  When you thank God in advance for that which you choose to experience in your reality, you, in effect, acknowledge that it is there . . .  Thankfulness is thus the most powerful statement to God; an affirmation that even before you ask, I have answered.  Therefore never supplicate.  Appreciate."

I recognize now that it is not about a God outside of me who answers prayers, sometimes.  We are part of a much more flawless reality.  There was a quote in the service at Unity today whose author I don't remember, but it went something like, "When God sees me in prayer, he sees me through the same eyes that I see him with."  The kingdom of heaven is within.

My husband has learned to pray with people, helping create a space where the truth of their own heaven within can come to light.  I still get down on my knees, sometimes, when I most need the comfort of feeling held by a power greater than myself, although I recognize that I exist as that power, too.  We can pray out loud, or in our heads.  A favorite form of prayer for me is writing letters to God, which I've described in previous posts.  I love writing, and for me the act of grounding my thoughts on paper, and then waiting for my hand to know what to write in response, is very clear and direct.

Prayer can be out loud, or silent.  It is not only speaking to God, but listening also.  Sometimes that's all I do, just sit and listen.  In truth, every thought we have is a prayer.

May you be grateful for prayers answered, and may this tool be a blessing. . .