November 9, 2011 on 7:08 am
Dear Spiritual Explorer: What is the difference between prayer and meditation? Joan L., San Diego, CA
Bodhi Inlay Wrist Mala
Dear Joan: A difference that I have heard is that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening. I think one does not necessarily exclude the other. In fact, you can probably do both at the same session. They say that there are no atheists in foxholes and many who do not consider themselves particularly religious have been known to turn to prayer during times of extraordinary stress. I find the Bodhi Inlay Wrist Mala in Ma’s India to be suitable for both prayer and meditation.
Meditation appears more passive and also receptive; prayer is by its very nature a beseeching of a power within or outside of oneself for guidance or favors. Praying for and then remaining open for guidance is similar to meditation since both require openness.
Prayer has received quite a reception these days. It is reported that people are turning to prayer more, asking for guidance in troubled times. Perhaps the economic clime renders people feeling more powerless in their lives to achieve their desires, and they have turned to something “greater than themselves.” The question arises then whether or not powerlessness is a necessary condition to prayer. While praying as a last resort sounds slightly deprecatory, isn’t it when one feels powerless that one is more willing to surrender to a greater force inside them? Interesting question to ponder.
Meditation by its very nature is an effort to let go of the “asking or praying self” but still encourages an openness to receive. This meditative openness is not necessarily the openness to receive from some greater figure, but the openness necessary to effect a change in one’s perceptions in the world. Meditation then becomes a desire to let go of the “I” inside oneself and surrender to the moment or the deepest part of oneself. Keeping still with one’s back straight allows us to return to a space within ourselves, uninfluenced by the demands or noise of the world. In that meditative space, we have the chance to hear our true selves and desires.
This inlay bracelet has a wonderful sandalwood scent, increasing its spiritual overtones. Set with contrasting colorful inlays, this sturdy wrist mala has 27 beads and a comely fabric tassel. Looking down upon it is a reminder to do our mantra and our prayers.
Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer
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