Saturday, January 19, 2013

Prayer


Asking God or Jesus for things makes no sense. Why would an all powerful, all wise being be influenced by our whining and begging. The asking actually benefits ourselves. By asking for something that is in line with the will of God we sync ourselves to the will of God. Asking or begging for things that we just really want, attachments, should bring us to this realization eventually through the absurdity of the act, but still, it is human nature so we need to work with it constantly. So we keep asking. In Asia, many buddhists pray to the buddha and ask for things they want, even though that makes no sense either. In both Christianity and Buddhism, the end point- God or enlightenment - is mysterious to us, but in both cases the practices that lead there are aimed at letting go of attachments. Buddhism is more explicit about it but I think it is obvious in the mystical teachings of Christianity. Both Buddhism and Christianity have a lower form that involves begging for things you want and being good in order to get what you want - ultimately a spot in heaven or a favorable rebirth. Believing literally in this lower stuff results in fundamentalism and the problems that always follow. However, if done with a knowledge of the absurdity of it all, these practices help us to live with the part of ourselves that is neurally wired to think in this way. In particular, in a crisis, these practices may be essential for coping. Praying for things does not cause God to give you those things, but if the prayer is out of compassion then it is good, in and of itself and it is heard in some way. Expressing beliefs about fairness and being heard are two very human needs, but they will not help in a crisis. Prayer can fulfill the need to be heard and let us get on to dealing with the actual problem

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