It is easy to be confused by powerful words and concepts such as religion, prayer, worship, meditation, spirituality, etc.particularly when they are bandied about so cheaply and irresponsibly.
Most of us humans are obsessed with greed, material success and failures. We are also plagued by both genuine and imaginary fears and problems. To cope we have conceived of an all knowing, all powerful parent figure called God.
God, in the world of believers is someone high and mighty, before whom we prostrate and submit ourselves to constantly plead and occasionally thank.
The elaborate and complicated social system to connect Man to God is called 'Organised Religion'.
Like all management systems, each religion too has its specialists, experts and managers and controllers and they are called priests.
Both greed and fear are matters of the mind and thus organised religions work on the mind, producing a heightened emotional state. Once emotions take over the individual becomes a believer, blind to facts and immune to rational thought and logic.
In all organised religions, priests connect humans to God through various paths by a system of standard procedures which include prayers, penances, rituals and pilgrimages.
One path for coping with life is the path of abdication, where we leave responsibility of our lives to God. If things work out that is good, if they do not, we can always attribute outcomes to or even blame God.
Submission, is another path which is adopted by the believer suitable for someone who is in fear of God. The individual simply follows what he or she is told or instructed.
Prayer is a pleading, a child appealing to a parent. The fearful yet expectant child that seeks protection from numerous fears, forgiveness for trespasses and never ending requests for gratification.
Prayer is worship, the reverence and adoration of God. Followers do not want anything except to worship and fear, sometimes to even love God. Their end objective is for the imperfect being to be accepted by the perfect being, God.
This is the main aspect of organised religion and prayer. God becomes master, parent, friend, spouse and partner, and the follower can demand anything and hope for it to be granted. The follower just wants fears to be addressed and needs to be fulfilled.
Each group of followers think that their God a Super-Human is the most powerful etc. and superior to all other Gods, therefore the followers are also superior to all other humans and all creatures who may or not believe believe in other Gods. This arrogance is the root of all conflict between organised religions.
Blind faith helps political forces to tap into and exploit religion to easily control and govern the mass of people. The older the religion, and the closer it is to political power the more corrupt religion becomes.
The person who prays is usually just a follower, a physical being who has no unique individualism but is part of and follower of a social group. and therefore rarely do followers evolve intellectually or spiritually.
All of them looking for a God outside.
Prayer has some advantages, it is relatively less demanding, it can easily be outsourced for a small amount of money. However the disadvantage is, prayer becomes a bondage to the religious institutions and the priests in the name of God.
There are some individuals who see little or no merit in the path of prayer, and turn to meditation. The search for God within. This requires above all else the individual to possess personal integrity, to be honest with oneself. Meditation is an individual's journey, it's the true seekers way.
Each true meditator believes he or she is just an individual being and part of an infinite inexplicable universe with whom he or she seeks to merge with. A universe that is pure energy, without physical, mental or social boundaries. The meditator seeks to break all chains and dissolve back into this great energy which is what they interpret as God.
Meditation places demands on the individual to be physically and mentally healthy, invest some time, possess a fair degree of individual discipline, being loving without getting attached to thoughts, people, and things. Meditation holds the promise complete freedom. That is the continuous and positive evolution of the individual and the irreversible progress of society.
If one chooses to pray then one simply believes unquestioningly and follows the priests and the herd. If one chooses to meditate, it becomes an individual's journey. It's the rejection of everything external to us and eventually even our own minds.
In prayer we fatten our lives, acquiring things, people and influence.
In meditation we slim our lives shedding everything that is in excess. Discarding material wants, thoughts and even socially acquired traits of ego, anger, greed, lust, etc. Unburdened by all baggage, the soul which is pure energy attains complete freedom.
Rarely is there a meeting of the two paths of prayer and meditation.
That is why those who do both things simultaneously tend to become confused and lost. However there is hope because we learn best when we fail.
I am in the minority who chose not to follow the crowd. I started with prayer but achieved very little. I have since a while begun to contemplate and meditate, not to seek the infinite, but prepare myself to one day be received the universe, the infinite which we call God.
When to pray, and when to meditate? ~ Guru Wonder
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