Prayer: Living from the Present
I just finished another one of Osho's books called: The Tantra Experience. I find his books extremely useful in understanding the deeper messages of Tantra and how to live a Tantric life. He is a sage beyond sages, a master of the ages. Many of his books are just collections of his answers to questions in his lectures. He hasn't prepared anything; he just answers people in the moment. One of the final questions he answers is about prayer and it struck me so much that I wanted to share it with you. The questions was: Is prayer useful? If so, teach me how to pray. I mean, prayer to receive god's love. Let's explore.
Osho starts by explaining that prayer is not useful. Because what is use? Use means that there is a means to an end, but prayer has no use because you cannot use it. It is not a commodity, or a tool, or a utility. Prayer is not a way to receive god's love. Prayer IS god. The end use of prayer is just prayer. Prayer does not lead you to god or divinity. In prayer you discover your own divinity. If you reduce prayer to a use, then it has lost all of its beauty.
Osho uses the word god a lot, whereas I use the word infinity or universe. We mean the same thing here.
Prayer through the ages has been used as a tool though. Religion says PRAY! And maybe you can hear god. Pray! And maybe you can get closer to god. Pray! And maybe you can possess god. But god cannot be possessed. You cannot get closer to him. You cannot contain god. You can only BE god. It is like love. You cannot do anything but be love. You can try as hard as you can to contain love or possess love, but that is not love. Love can only be experienced first person by becoming it. Whether you recognize it or not, you are god.
So, the moment you try to use prayer it loses its beauty. Just be prayerful because it is joyful. Don't use it to arrive at some other destination. Through prayer you are, through it you start being. Prayer is presence. It is not some future goal; it is the opposite. It is the now. To celebrate this moment is prayer. To listen to the ocean is prayer. To look at your partner in respect and honor is prayer. To walk in the forest with love and compassion is prayer.
So, where to start? Gather all the moments in your life that have been absolutely beautiful. These moments are your foundation of prayer. Think of when you held the hand of your lover for the first time. Remember that incredible sunrise you watched from the mountains. Recall the dead silence of a pitch black night. Have you felt life pour from your soul? Collect all these moments, these moments are prayer. Build your prayer from this place of presence and beauty and interconnectedness in the world. Prayer is not something far away or hard to understand. You are not so poor that you have not experienced these moments in your life! Build your foundation of prayerfulness, then you will know how to return to it. This is the beginning of prayer, but prayer has no end!
How then does Osho teach prayer? He doesn't! He can only be prayer. He can only show you his being and maybe you will absorb his being and you can also become prayer. Meditation is a method. You can learn meditation. But in prayer you can only be. Get in tune with presence. Be vulnerable. Suddenly you might hear a singing in your heart, or something dances within you. This is prayer. But it cannot be taught. It can only be allowed to happen. Osho says feel me and you will feel prayer. Touch me and you will touch prayer. Listen to me and you are listening to words which are full of prayer.
But don't repeat someone else's prayer. Maybe you are sitting silently, let there be a dialogue. A conversation with existence. But don't repeat some other prayer. Be present with yourself and all of existence and see what conversation comes about. Don't prepare for it. Allow it to come naturally. Don't bother the universe with the same repeated prayer over and over. This is a mechanical thing. If you don't have anything to say then don't say anything. If you have something to say then say it, but don't just go on repeating mantras or prayers you have heard, hoping it will bring you closer to god. It will not. Pray whenever the feeling arises for you to pray. No matter where or when, just do it. Without ritual or fanfare. Have a conversation openly and with love when it arises naturally within you spontaneously. This is true prayer.
For so long I resisted things that are heavily in religion. Even with the word god, I feel it is too close to religion and has connotations to it that I don't want in you. So, I move away from them. This usually has no side effects. I just say universe instead of god and it is solved. But prayer is different. I resisted really until I read this. I practiced presence and used a foundation of presence to build upon. But I love how he describes prayer and that it is so utterly far away from how religion uses prayer. He has reclaimed prayer as what it truly is, not the bastardized version that religion uses. This is what I wished to share with you today. I love you.
INSPIRED ACTION: Be prayerful. Build your foundation of prayerful moments. Compile what they all felt like, then feel that. Start the dialogue once you are deep in that presence. Watch videos of Osho and see if he can rub off on you as he as on me. And don't use prayer for anything. Be prayer.