Some more prayer exercises
1. Trash day (Basic sublimation)
In silence, the normal way to deal with a negative thought or feeling is to just let it leave your experience, like a stray piece of paper on the sidewalk that is blown away from you by the wind.
From time to time, however, some mass of bad feelings may come that seems like it just won’t go away, no matter what you do. A visualization like this one can be useful in such a situation.
Visualize a pile of firewood. As a child colors in the spaces in a coloring book, fill up this firewood with all the bad feelings. Pour the bad feelings into it. Add more firewood to the pile until you have enough. Let the images become as vivid as you can make them. Feel the weight of new logs in your arms as you carry them toward the pile. Pick up some of the pieces, feel how hard they are, how heavy they are. Tap one piece against another, and hear the thunk, thunk as you do so.
Then set the thing on fire.
Watch it burn. All the bad feelings that you poured into it are now there, rather than in you; and the fire is changing all that material into light, warmth, and heat — which you can choose to be positive feelings, optimism, comfort, love and joy.
Watch it until the firewood is all consumed. Then the bad feelings will be gone.
2. Prayer for enemies
Normally, I will not pray for a person unless (1) he or she asks me to, or (2) I am given his or her name in Guidance (See item 5, below). According to New Testament teachings, however, if someone attacks me, he or she is inherently “asking for it.”
When there is a person like that in your life, you can do as follows. In silence, say or think the person’s name, and then simply direct love toward the person. Wish him or her the very best of happiness, good health and prosperity. Continue doing that until your intuition moves you to stop.
Do not seek that the person change in any way. Do not seek to bring about any change in his or her attitudes, goals or behavior. Do hope that God grants him or her the very best in life.
Some of the most powerful experiences I have had in prayer, have come this way. It is the most gratifying activity in which I’ve ever engaged.
3. Dealing with haters
Jesus had haters. Sooner or later, so will you.
(a) The sphere of light
At times when you apprehend that someone may be directing malice toward you, or that you may be in personal danger (e.g., walking in a spooky neighborhood), you can imagine yourself at the center of a hollow sphere of bright, white light. In my case, the interior diameter of the sphere is typically about twelve feet, and the shell itself typically three feet thick; and the shell, as it happens, is constantly rotating. You can let this image become as vivid as you like. You can send additional energy into the shell, to make it thicker or denser.
This shell will absorb any negativity other people may direct toward you; and potentially sublimate it into additional light, reinforcing the shell itself.
(b) The long-term solution
Robert Leichtman’s description of his book, Psychic Vandalism, includes these words:
The third part [of the book] describes the methods that can be helpful in defending ourselves against all forms of psychic vandalism. This is far more than the usual imagined shell of light or simple affirmations that others write about. The real shell that protects us from psychic attack is made up of our strong, focused convictions, attitudes, intentions, commitment to excellence, and attunement to higher powers. Establishing this takes time and meticulous effort.
Ambrose Worrall says of “Absolute Silence” (link),
This is the condition in which God dwells.
In Absolute Silence there is neither time nor space; motion does not exist; there is no observer and nothing to be observed; there is nothing to learn, for all things are known. It is eternity; it is infinity; it has neither position nor size; its center is everywhere and its circumference is nowhere. This is perfection and only the perfect can understand it.
Man can approach the Absolute Silence but cannot enter it.
To me, Leichtman is saying the ultimate defense against haters is knowing who you are, or having the courage of your convictions. I identify this with Worrall’s description of the final goal of silence: the contemplation of Absolute Silence, and attaining a state of centeredness.
Haters prey on (attack) parts of your being that may be slightly off-balance and uncentered. That’s what they grab onto. When you are wholly centered, there is nothing they can grab.
If you are less than completely sure of yourself; if you have points where you feel weak or uncertain; even minor self-doubts; that’s what they’ll attack.
They will lie to you and about you. In what is known as “gaslighting,” they will insist that you are wrong, or did wrong, in situations where all logic, reason and facts actually testify that you were right. They do this to make you doubt yourself. To question your own sanity. Ultimately, to wipe away any sense of who you are, what you want in life, and how you can contribute to humanity. A lesson I learned years ago:
If it sounds crazy, it probably is.
Leichtman proposes a path of personal growth that takes years to accomplish.
How does one become “centered?”
Worrall’s description of the universe is consistent with what we know from the Big Bang and from General Relativity. The center of the universe is “here and now,” wherever “here and now” may be.
The center of your universe is you.
Don’t worry about the fact that haters exist; you don’t answer to them. In the end, you are accountable only to yourself for your beliefs and actions, and the course you choose in life. Never let go of the awareness that you are a child of God.
Related: Coming abstractions
4. Prayer in spirit
On those occasions when I am called upon to pray out loud in words, the preferred method is as follows. Rather than think up words of your own, from your own mind, that may reflect what you think is good rather than what God thinks is good, and what you want rather than what God wants; enter silence, and wait, listening for the Holy Spirit to give you the prayer. It may be ten or fifteen seconds before you begin to hear the words. Pray those words.
Sometimes the Spirit will give you visual images before giving you any words. In that case, you can use words to express the images.
Such prayer is normally nothing fancy, but it can be profound.
5. Following guidance
From day to day, it is normal that one can pray with effectiveness for some people but not others. The person praying may not be able to emit light on wavelengths that correspond to the patient’s needs, or the patient may have some temporary block on the wavelengths that the person praying can emit — today.
To make optimal use of one’s efforts in prayer, one needs to be sensitive to indications from one’s feelings, or one’s intuition, or the Spirit, as to for whom one can and cannot pray effectively today. This is called “Guidance.”
If you are praying for someone and get a sense of resistance from that person, back off. You may bless the person, “God bless ______,” and then return to silence. Do not attempt to overcome the resistance; this is the essence of “Don’t come uninvited.”
By the same token, one should let go of that patient anytime one perceives darkness, or turmoil, or danger in that situation. One can surround the patient with light for a few seconds, and then leave. That’s the best one will be able to do for that patient for now.
Do not allow yourself to become embroiled in a battle with darkness that you may not be able to win. In the end, Jesus said, “Resist not evil.”
It is feasible to pray, “God, show me for whom I can pray effectively today,” and then rest in silence listening for the names God may provide. God may provide a name, or the names, of some individuals one knows, or of people one has never heard of. For whatever reason, those will be folk for whom you can pray effectively today. I have been shocked on occasion to be given the name of an enemy to pray for, when it turned out the person had some special need for which I was able to pray effectively that day.
If no names come, that doesn’t necessarily mean one isn’t praying effectively for anyone. The soul of a person who seeks to love others may be active, in silence, at levels that the person is not aware of, providing aid to folk the person does or doesn’t know.
After all, we do ministry in our dreams.
You may receive insight into a given patient’s situation, or into some situation of your own. These can be gratifying and helpful. However, there is absolutely no way to tell whether those ideas have come from the Spirit or instead from your own imagination. Do not assume that any such insight necessarily corresponds to fact. Hold it as a possibility, unless and until it is proven or disproven by the concrete facts of the material world.