Personal Growth - Thank you God
by Suma Varughese
A new way to pray is paying rich dividends
One of the amazing perks of working for a body-mind-spirit magazine is that the books you read, the people you meet, and the articles that you edit, inspire you personally, and often provide the next step of your growth.
Thus it was that as I was editing Purnima Coontoor’s article for the May 2007 issue on the quandaries of trying and being (From trying to being), her reference to something Neale Donald Walsch said, hit me hard. What she said was that, we usually pray when we want something. This means that we don’t want what we presently have, or that we are coming out of a lack. We tell God, ‘Give me money’, which means that we don’t want poverty, and that we lack wealth. Thus, there is both a resistance to our present circumstances, and a desperation to have our prayers answered.
Naturally, our prayers take their time to fructify. After all, what we resist persists, so poverty crosses its legs, and sits back leisurely, in no hurry to go anywhere. Since there is desperation for wealth, we are not detached about the outcome, which is the equivalent of not posting the letter (as I read somewhere), so the prayer effectively does not reach God. The right thing to do, instead, is to recognise that the prayer is already answered – which it is, if we remember that in God’s perspective, there is no past or future. Everything simply stretches out in the unending present. We simply have to thank God for it.
I was forcibly struck by this line of argument. My own prayers have followed a certain progression. During the period when I felt completely helpless, I would throw myself at God’s mercy, begging for succour. And it usually came. As I become more self-reliant, this form of fervent appeal seemed less appropriate. I felt like a child running to daddy to fix her problems. Gradually, I stopped asking, except of course, in moments of fraught despair. I used affirmations instead to get me what I wanted – usually desired states of mind.
However, after reading the article, I have started praying again; only now, I simply thank God for giving me whatever it is that I want. It’s simple, and amazingly effective. Right through the day, I fire these salvos of gratitude at Him. Thanks for giving me an auto, I will tell Him while I wait outside my suburban station as autos swish by nonchalantly, and behold, an auto grinds to a halt! One hot summer morning, I was aghast to find the milk left outside the fridge overnight. I shot off an SOS to the Almighty. “Thank you for not making the milk get spoilt.” I put the milk on the stove, holding my breath. Behold, it rose up gallantly and almost boiled over!
With every success, my faith in the method is growing, so that I feel increasingly confident that what I thank God for, will come about. This confidence, I am sure, further helps the desired event to happen. Moreover, when we pray this way, our prayer comes from a relaxed, accepting space. For instance, when a member of the family or I are going through a crisis, I start to say, “Oh, God, please heal so and so” in the usual fraught way. However, when I catch myself short, and substitute it with, “Thank you for healing so and so”, the shift in my emotional being is substantial. I feel far more peaceful, far more confident.
Have all my prayers been answered? No. The big ones such as my prayer for health, abundance, enlightenment, the harmony and happiness of my family, the well-being of my friends, have still to come about. But I feel confident that whatever I, or the others, are karmically entitled to, will show up in the fullness of time.
Karmic entitlement is the speedbreaker here. I know New Age people are fond of affirming that you can get anything by tapping your subconscious mind or through creative visualisation. However, karma can often prevent certain things from manifesting, and we have to come to terms with this.
That apart, I have been feeling lately that this form of prayer is pretty much of an Open Sesame. It seems to put you in alignment with the Universal Power. The static that usually accompanies our communication with On High is eliminated, and there is simply gratitude.