For the next three weeks (or so), we are going to work with the practice of prayer. According to one of my Guru’s, Julia Cameron, in her new book Seeking Wisdom, there are three main types of prayers - prayers of petition, prayers of gratitude and prayers of praise.
In our Sound Bath Meditation classes this week, we examined and experimented with prayers of petition. We all engage with this type of prayer all through our day without even thinking about it.
Please let me get to work on time
Please let there be no traffic on 95
Please let Whole Foods not be crowded
And more altruistic
I hope the people of Ukraine get out safely
Please let everyone in the world have enough to eat
Who do we want these prayers to reach? Who are we talking to? Certainly we are hoping they reach a source more powerful than ourselves; some might call this power God, Holy Spirit, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus or one of the Saints or Bodhisattvas.
We usually begin our prayer journeys humbly. We surrender to a higher power our prayers. We humble ourselves and ask for help. We hope by “surrendering” we will be lifted up. We ask for grace.
When obstacles feel too high for us to get over, we get on our knees, either physically or emotionally, and humbly ask for help. Our prayer might simply be, “help me.” Or more specific, “help me find an affordable place to live.” Or, “thy will be done.”
I believe it was the prayer of “where should I go, what should I do, what should I say and to whom,” guided me to Wainwright House and my meeting with board member Yuko Watanabe . I will share a piece of my journey with this prayer .
In December of 2019 BC (before Covid), my family and I had made a commitment to move to Panama. We had been looking for, as my friend Walt puts it, “our place in the sun.” We always hoped and dreamed it would be Portugal, but Panama seemed a good second choice. We left New York City in the summer of 2016 with our newly adopted son Zeke and moved to Dakar, Senegal. We spent two years teaching at the International School of Dakar and then moved on to London. Living in Africa was hard, DM me for more about that. We spent three years wonderful years in London. My wife worked at The American School in London, my son went to school there and I was able to get back to being a musician and composer, as well as facilitating weekly Sound Meditations at their school for both students and teachers. The school was only a few blocks from Abbey Road studios and the road crossing that is depicted on the front of the Beatles’ Abbey Road Album. Every day, there was a pilgrimage of hundreds of tourists, waiting their turn to recreate the Beatles’ cover and have a friend take their picture. For me walking by always reminded me of my childhood and my dreams of growing up to be a famous musician.
Unfortunately, Covid changed our plans. By March 2020 the world was in lockdown and Panama was closed to all but citizens and permanent residents. Legally, we could no longer live in the UK and we couldn’t go to Panama. We wondered if we should go back to the US, to New York City, and wait it out. The world had never experienced anything like the virus, so it was hard to know what to do.
As Spirit would have it, I had already started rereading A Course in Miracles and was up to lesson 71. There is a prayer in this lesson that became my daily mantra:
What would you have me do?
Where would you have me go?
What would you have me say and to whom?
I would alternate this with a prayer sometimes attributed to Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic:
The Place you seek is seeking you,
The Place you need, needs you
The Holy Spirit brings need and supply together for mutual good.
A few weeks later, we found that a school principal that we worked with at The United Nations School in New York City was now the principal of a school in Connecticut and needed a third grade teacher. Well, we have been back in “the states” for a year and a half now. Life is a strange, wild ride; we need to keep our seat belts buckled, relax and enjoy it. While we do believe that we have only come to a “temporary landed area,” we are working to stay grounded in “the present.” Enjoy where we are. I still use the above two prayers daily, and strive to be ready when the next call comes. I will keep you posted about that. Until then, I hope you will share your journey with me and allow me to share mine with you. Keep your seatbelt fastened while we are in motion. In the comments below, please share one of your experiences with prayers of petition. I hope to see you in one of our Sound Bath Meditations soon.
Stay safe and well.
April 1, 2022