by Catherine DeAngelis
“The best prayer is to rest in the goodness of God, knowing that goodness can reach right down to our lowest depths of need.”-Julian of Norwich, 14th-century mystic
Throughout time people around the world have turned to silence and meditative prayer for peace. It is natural during periods of unrest to pray or meditate to find strength and courage to get away from the upheaval – a pause from the thinking about it too much.
Emotional pain is gripping. Especially if a loved one succumbs to fatal effects caused by cancer, AIDS, and any kind of trauma, mental illness, grief and loss or financial crisis.
A Time article by Leon Jaroff, Investigating the Power of Prayer explains how an American doctor, Elizabeth Targ, was awarded substantial grants of $611,516 for one study, $823,346 for another to look at the therapeutic effects of prayer on AIDS and cancer patients.
Jaroff reports that Targ took to examining “distance healing.” This is where someone offers prayer, but is not present and it is recited for the patient from afar. Targ identified “the prayed-for patients had fewer and less severe new illnesses, fewer doctor visits, fewer hospitalizations and were generally in better moods than those in the control group. The technique, she believes, can even work on nonhuman species.”
Prayer can be a set of affirmations that guide one’s thinking to a positive place. It can be walking across a bridge imagining the space beneath it which meets the river below flowing with the rapids as nature inspiring hope and renewal.
Many people from diverse ethnic or religious backgrounds, whether e.g. Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Indian shamans take time to practice quiet prayer or meditation, more commonly the practice of mindfulness is becoming more and more part of the 21st century among western cultures.
Something as simple as Mindfulness Keeps You Emotionally Fit
Psychology today, as well as ancient Hindu and Buddhist doctrines contend that, rather than mastering our emotions, could we learn to live in equilibrium with them, and use the energy that they give us and mindfully work to free ourselves from the layers of unspent emotional energy that cloud our relationships, both with ourselves and with others.
The property of mindfulness or prayer belongs to no particular religion or group of people and neither does the practice of daily praying or meditating belong to only Buddhists. Anyone can sit mindfully under a tree, or kneel on a bench to find a moment to pray for e.g. empathy of others or compassion for ourselves.
More and more scientists are discovering, there are benefits in the practice of contemplative prayer, silence, or use of mindfulness to create a state of being and not doing to help manage stress and combat minor to severe illnesses. Practice is open to all faiths. It is astounding the rewards people report how prayer and meditation bring balance to mental health and well-being.
For resilience, recite a prayer, chant a veda or a mantra, say a blessing, and accompany it by lighting a candle or some incense, hold prayer beads to set in motion a formal or informal setting toward a quiet time for contemplation and thoughtful prayer, or walk a path and be guided by the simple wonders of our world and the grandness of its intelligent design.
Open yourself up to intuition, to the natural release of energy – both positive and negative – and to self-awareness.
- Check in mindfully each day, the moment your feet hit the floor next to your bed – it is as vital as the air you breathe.
- Simply take a few seconds by taking yourself to a calming yet brisk awareness of the ‘here and now.’
- Begin this mindful check in, by feeling into the body and mind, simply allowing waves of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations to just be.
- Breathe, Inhale, Exhale — No need to judge.
- Just let it be.
- Breathe, Inhale, Exhale.
- Formal breathing practice can be done anywhere anytime.
- Listen to all that is around you!
Enjoy one of the traditional core practices of Mindfulness meditation and be thankful to yourself for having taken the time to participate in your health and well-being.
from: Atharva Veda XIX. 9. 1 & 9:2
(Veda is Sanskrit for knowledge)
May the vast atmosphere be calm,
May the flowing waters be soothing,
And all the plants and herbs prove beneficial to us.
May all the foretelling signs of coming events be free from turmoil and
May all that has been done and that which has not been done prove the source of happiness to all.
May our past and future be peaceful and may all be gracious unto us.
May the atmosphere be peaceful,
May the medicinal herbs be peaceful,
May all my shining objects be peaceful for me,
May all enlightened persons be peaceful for me,
May all the peaceful actions be peaceful by me.