Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Giving Away My Prayers

I very rarely have prayed since I was 15 years old.  I figure that I should not bother the Gods or Goddesses with my concerns, and leave more access time for people with really urgent desires to pray or for people in dire circumstances. I do try to be generous in some way to others.  

One Greek philosopher, Epicurus, argued that the Gods and Goddesses seemed seldom interested in human problems (if at all), lived at another level of existence, consider us irrelevant or we are out of their sphere of knowledge, and they lived in a remote and blissful state.  Humans had to figure out how to solve their own problems. Praying was ineffectual.  

Why would Gods and Goddesses be concerned or know about humans?  How do supernatural beings get information about our petty lives.  How do supernatural beings create change in the natural world?  Many say, for the Goddess Guan Yin or Tara or Our Lady of Guadalupe or Lakshmi or Athena, that all will Listen to us, have compassion, and might be able to help us when we are in need.  The Divine Mother: The Essential God Duty.  

It would have been a little too bold in ancient Greece for Epicurus to call the gods or goddesses imaginary, archetypes, an opiate of the masses, or (like Nietzsche) "dead."  However, even many religious believers at times shrug their shoulders in disappointment when everyone's prayers are not answered.  We can't deny the facts of our senses, so maybe our beliefs are less accurate about the results of prayer.    

I am reminded of a story about a farmer and a preacher:

"A farmer purchased an old, run-down, abandoned farm with plans to turn it into a thriving enterprise. The fields were grown over with weeds, the farmhouse was falling apart, and the fences were broken down. During his first day of work, the town preacher stops by to bless the man's work, saying, "May you and God work together to make this the farm of your dreams!" A few months later, the preacher stops by again to call on the farmer. Lo and behold, it's a completely different place. The farm house is completely rebuilt and in excellent condition, there is plenty of cattle and other livestock happily munching on feed in well-fenced pens, and the fields are filled with crops planted in neat rows. "Amazing!" the preacher says. "Look what God and you have accomplished together!" "Yes, reverend," says the farmer, "but remember what the farm was like when God was working it alone!" "

Over the years, other people have invited me to pray in small or large groups.  One yoga teacher, had us chant and recite Hindu prayers.  An abbreviated rosary was said or gospel songs were sung at funerals.  I have occasionally listened to Christian or Hindu or Taoist or Tibetan Buddhist music.  People would recite the Lord's Prayer at sad gatherings.  Likewise, I join in, as is the custom, at ceremonial religious or political gatherings.  It is easy for me to, in appropriate circumstances, to respectfully recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or stand respectfully and sing while our National Anthem is played.  Courtesy and conformity and respect with others are useful at times, when we know their limits.    

So, for five decades, normally, I have not attended any church services or prayed.  

The options of Bhakti Yoga just do not suit my personal tastes, desires, outlook, or needs.  

Since my teenage years, my spiritual focus has been more on Virtue Ethics, Pragmatic Living, and Getting the Job Done Right for me and others, all as a kind of Karma Yoga.  

In addition, for five decades, my spiritual focus has been more on Philosophy, Wisdom, Understanding, Science, Self-Realization, the Big Hinges, all as a kind of Jhana Yoga

Gardening, Walking, Sex, Travel, Teaching, Yoga, and Science have all led to mystical experiences for me.  

I taught Hatha Yoga for 16 years in Red Bluff, California.  I taught 3 or 4 yoga classes each week, and two Taijiquan/Qigong classes per week.  I loved sharing these body-mind-spirit practices with persons in these hundreds of classes.  

In different ways, we all can do some kind of good in our lives.  Others will occasionally tip their hats to us.  

And, all the Gods and Goddess would indeed be complimentary of all of our good deeds if they knew about or cared about 7 billion humans and trillions and Mega-trillions of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, insects, bacteria, plants, life.

I think that there is even too much for Gods and Goddesses to care about.  And, their being so busy with billions of incoming prayers, they just can't get around to everyone.  

So it goes: roll with the flow.  

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