How prayer and meditation are metaphysical metaphors
Now for the nitty-gritty of how to get this actually applied.
Prayer and Meditation have an extremely long tradition in their various cultures. There is no denying that each of them has results and are able to improve conditions around them. Dr. Peale's bestseller has many examples of how this works. Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer recount others in meditation. Others, such as Silva, take a secular approach to this. They also have a long history of success.
What I say here is that they share the same underlying principles.
Prayer/Meditation connects the person with Higher Intelligence directly and enables various natural laws to become effective for him personally. Make no mistake, the person is manifesting anyway, but the average person believes that it is all Fate or Karma or Luck which rules his life. Once one starts to discipline his own thought and attitudes/emotions, he/she will start to gain control over manifesting as that person sheds self-limiting doubts. That is the core to the success of any self-help system. They are all based on the same underlying concepts, which are universal and found in so many religions, psychotherapies, and esoteric literature to almost defy counting.
The trick is simple, per many authors, but Deepak Chopra (in his Seven Spiritual Laws of Success) seemed to outline it best where he lays out the sequence of doing this as:
1. Slip into the gap, the silent space between the thoughts. In Silva, this is getting into the alpha state or “Going to Level”. (Note here that the deep breathing exercises of Huna are used to attain this relaxed state; Silva also uses several deep breaths to accomplish this.)
2. Release your intentions and desires into this gap. (Silva has several techniques for this, as does Huna.)
3. Maintain your own counsel. (Keep your desires to yourself – this seemed initially unique to Chopra and Dyer, but later showed up in other self-help studies, Hill and Allen. It has some relevancy, in that one tends to agree with those around you and so accept their own limits and cross-survival patterns.)
4. Drop your expectations for exact result. The Universe will present it to you in its own time and in its own way. Having to have it a specific way and time actually hampers the manifestation. You have to trust the Universe with the details. (This is common to nearly all the above sources.)
Joe Vitale, in Spiritual Marketing, echoes these same sentiments through his book, with many illustrations throughout.
“In short, the secret to increasing your business or manifesting whatever you want is:
“1. Know what you don’t want.
"2. Select what you do want.
"3. Clear all negative or limiting beliefs.
"4. Feel what it would be like to have, do, or be what you want.
"5. Let go. Act on your intuitive impulses and allow the results to manifest.”
The more one looks through self-help books, the more one finds these same points over and over.
Dr. Peale covers what he terms “Prayer Power” as a whole chapter in his Power of Positive Thinking. He mentions that prayer is a manifestation of energy and follows exact laws in this regard. While he says that prayer is successful when informal, treating God as a business partner and present in the room or car, this isn't different with other beliefs along this line.
While all these have differing approaches, they share commonalities:
1.Contacting the Higher Intelligence / Universal Mind.
2.Expressing a wish or desire.
3.Leaving it over to God to deal as He sees fit.
Now, the differences is where we can see how to make this most effective. Silva, in his research into what became Silva Ultramind System, found that the common factor in genius and creative inspiration was the alpha brainwave state. Silva's technique for entering this state is quite simple and is very similar to Peale's techniques from his chapter. While there are other brainwave activities of note, Silva's techniques stayed with alpha's. Some other research has stated that Theta and Delta waves have even greater ability to contact and communicate with Higher Intelligence. Unfortunately, their methods are not substantiated.
What is interesting is the approach of possibly the oldest religio-social philosophy known – Huna. There is an approach which uses a garden metaphor to access this Power. Early steps are deep breathing and relaxation, common to Silva. Then the person considers himself being transported to his own personal garden, either by boat, walking, opening a door, or some other approach. Once in the garden, one simply asks to see what needs correction or handling – any problem one has in life. A symbol appears which you can use various resources within the garden to handle. Both King and James cover this in great detail, as do other Huna authors.
The interesting breakthrough this brings up is the possibility of using a metaphorical approach to accessing the tremendous amount of data stored in the Quantum Hologram/Universal Mind. Here is where more research is needed. I've discussed so far how this is already done within existing practices. Theta and Delta waves are usually associated with deep sleep and dreams which aren't usually recalled on waking. One researcher gives a radical use of Chakras in order to utilize this field. King, however, mentions that dreams are a common occurrence in our lives. Actually, he says that we are dreaming even during waking hours. King's chapter on dreaming is very specific and helpful in utilizing this as a tool to solve problems in life as well as deeper complexes. He also makes the statement:
“Every human being dreams every night. There is much evidence to indicate that animals do, too, but we are concerned now with humans. Even if you cannot recall a single dream that you have ever had, this does not mean that you do not dream. It only means you do not remember dreaming. ...
“The most common word for dream is moe 'uhane, which literally means "spirit sleep." A code meaning is "the spirit breaks away and goes elsewhere." Specifically, it refers to the dreams you have during a deep, sound sleep.”
In other words, through training yourself to recall dreams, you can access the deep connection through the subconscious into the Universal Mind.
Tie these together. The better connection with this Source, the more improvement one could make in one's own life. Access to that huge body of data would make one's own analytic process more exact, given that one were able to process that bulk of data. Given the idea of the Huna garden, as well as the Silva method of asking to be woken up when ideal conditions appeared – one could train oneself to be able to recall and process the data relevant to the answers one is seeking.
Another method, which King addresses simply, is recounting Edison's habit of napping as many as seventeen brief naps a day and so only required three hours of sleep each night. This light sleep enabled him to access the Higher Mind / Universal Intelligence through and recall these simply, speeding his work through such inspiration.
Hill recounts the story of a Dr. E. R. Gates who was able to contact this Field directly:
“In his laboratory, he had what he called his “personal communication room.” It was practically sound proof, and so arranged that all light could be shut out. It was equipped with a small table, on which he kept a pad of writing paper. In front of the table, on the wall, was an electric pushbutton, which controlled the lights. When Dr. Gates desired to draw upon the forces available to him through his Creative Imagination, he would go into this room, seat himself at the table, shut off the lights, and CONCENTRATE upon the KNOWN factors of the invention on which he was working, remaining in that position until ideas began to “flash” into his mind in connection with the UNKNOWN factors of the invention.
“On one occasion, ideas came through so fast that he was forced to write for almost three hours. When the thoughts stopped flowing, and he examined his notes, he found they contained a minute description of principles which had not a parallel among the known data of the scientific world.
“Moreover, the answer to his problem was intelligently presented in those notes. In this manner Dr. Gates completed over 200 patents, which had been begun, but not completed, by “half-baked” brains.”
Such methods above, using metaphor, or short naps, or shutting out external stimuli – all seem to enable the individual to develop the ability to access the Universal Mind. An objective, scientific view would say that all these enable a person to recall communication which occurred during theta or delta brainwave activities. What we cover here is something which medicine men and shaman have developed into a bit of an art – slipping off into another world and communicating with the “spirits” one finds there to resolve the problems of the present. At any rate, however one wants to describe it, there are methods which enable a person to directly receive inspiration from a Higher Power and so improve ones live markedly.
This book in no way describes any polished system of accessing this Field. It is tentative results in the search for underlying system(s) on which this universe is built. If you have a system of meditation or prayer which works for you, then I'm not one to ask you to change it. Nor is this section any critique of existing methods. I simply would point out the commonalities of these differing methods, which point to highly effective underlying principles, however they are applied.
Another interesting approach was used by Hill and described in his chapter on the “Sixth Sense”. He used an “imaginary” board composed of key individuals he wished initially to improve his personal habits and attitudes. As he continued this board, he found that these tended to take on a “life of their own”, meaning they started to interact with him during this meetings in ways which were not predicted. These individuals would, on occasion come early or stay late in order to give a personal message to Hill. Once, one initiated a toast for Hill, in celebration of one of his accomplishments.
Our interest in this is that it another approach to accessing the Universal Mind. The metaphor here is a meeting. The odd point is that, much as the Huna Garden, the environment of the meeting responded to the needs and unstated requests of the individual who called the meeting. What is common between the two is the suspension of disbelief and the action of the individual to initiate and participate in building the environment. After that, the interaction increases in tune with the efforts of the individual to resolve his problems / situations.
Another approach might be to access the Universal Mind as a large video library. One would relax and then request the librarian for a video which contained instructions or helpful data needed to resolve a problem. This would work as an interface through the subconscious into the superconscious. Continued work would speed the process, and mights, as in Hill's board meeting, prompt originations from the librarian or others in that library.
Many other possible metaphorical constructions could be invented / discovered. Your imagination should be able to create many scenarios which are comfortable for you. I'd suggest you get King's book and do research on the Garden, as well as reviewing Hill's book chapter before creating your own scenario.
Active and Passive
While Positive Thinking and Western prayer utilizes a very direct approach in working for specific manifestations, Eastern approaches include an indirect, or passive approach.
Passive meditation (and examples of this also exist in prayer) entails
1.Contacting the Higher Intelligence / Universal Mind,
2.Envisioning the ideal you would like to achieve. (If you want more wealth, you concentrate on Prosperity; if you want improved familial relations, concentrate on Love; etc.)
3.Give gratitude and trust that Source with the result.
While active prayer/meditation hinges on both emotive content and requesting in the past tense, the passive form concentrates on the ideal being present – again, experience the full emotive content of having the state in present time. Trust is imperative. Meditation of this type will bring up the doubts and fears, which are simply turning your attention away from there and focusing on the concept until you are filled completely with that concept.
Common to both passive and active is the high emotive content and realization that the result is already present. Gregg Braden (Speaking the Lost Language of God) talks about “praying rain” in one of his examples. He went with a friend to a specific spot, where the friend prayed by simply recalling the positive feelings of reactions to rain – and then experienced torrents within that week.
Others, such as Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) agree somewhat, saying that one must attain a joyful bliss in the Now. Braden says that such prayer needs to be accompanied by heart-based feeling. Peale has a somewhat different approach, but similar, who tells his readers to have only positive thoughts, derived from God's love. All of these hit around the same mark: one tunes into the Higher Mind/Universal Intelligence, achieving a mental calm, even a particular bliss and peace. Praying/Meditating with thanksgiving that the idea you want to achieve is already manifest – along with giving the whole concept over to that Higher Intelligence to sort out – will then bring it into your life to the degree you have faith and trust in yourself and God simultaneously. An optimistic and heart-based feeling is achieved as part of the prayer. All of these agree that you must request in the past tense for anything you desire to manifest.
This then brings it full circle to show that there need be a positive emotive content to prayer, which aligns to the Universal Mind and assists in co-creating manifestations.
Emotive content is the point. So often in our culture, one puts emotional content on hold, often habitually. However, Hill points out in Law of Success and later writings that an essential point of success is controlling one's own enthusiasm. Not that you would dampen it, but would be able to produce it when appropriate and develop it as a habit. Backing this with faith is another step to develop a “burning desire”.
I covered in Go Thunk Yourself how one can change his outlook by simply assuming the emotional attitude one wants. I found this as early as Aristotle:
“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way. . . you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions,
brave by performing brave actions.”
This idea Aristotle refers to shows up preeminently in Dale Carnegie's book, How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking. He mentions here that confidence as a speaker can be achieved by simply changing the actions one does and the emotion will follow. He quotes William James (from his work The Gospel of Relaxation):
“Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
“Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our spontaneous cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there. If such conduct does not make you feel cheerful, nothing else on that occasion can.
“So, to feel brave, act as if we were brave, use all of our will to that end, and a courage fit will very likely replace the fit of fear ”.
James himself refers to contemporary scientists who had studied this phenomenon. More recently many studies have been reported which have verified this to be correct in clinical studies and applied uses. People who before were not even able to experience many emotions were able to start relaxing once they practiced smiling.
Our work in this line not only achieves greater success in our manifesting, but also enables us to eliminate our worse habits of uncontrolled outrage or critical comments at inappropriate moments.
Being able to generate appropriate enthusiasm and confidence during prayer assists markedly in the resultant manifestations. Pray / meditate with heartfelt emotion, that is the lesson here.