Sidewalk Bends

Exploring the soul and it's reaches.

Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

No Closer

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Jacob's LadderA priest is no closer to God than a child with little knowledge of the world about him. A person who goes to church every day of every week is no closer to heaven than a person who seeks solace in the dwelling of their own heart. A person who has committed prayers to memory is no closer to having their prayers fulfilled than one who speaks candidly and without fanfare.

Kind words do not a person make. Great deeds and connections in high places do not a person make. We are on equal footing. No man or woman, whatever creed or stature, comes before the next. The line to the gates of heaven are made no closer by the volume of our prayers, or by our perceived connection to Creation. We are as One regardless of our understanding of it and any desire to exclude others from it. For in chastising others, or in celebrating our perceived standing, we have done nothing but separated ourselves. We have become divided amongst ourselves and within ourselves.

Bring peace to the world by seeing the peace within. Bring joy to the world by seeing the joy within. Bring understanding to the world by understanding yourself. Bring love to the world by loving yourself. One drop at a time, one soul at a time, we are united and we are One.

Prayer, Meditation with Purpose

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people in prayerThe power of prayer does not come from how many times we recite a prayer. The power of prayer does not come from how many people pray for the same outcome. It does not come from facing Mecca, or facing the Wailing Wall. The power of prayer does not come from sitting in a church or peering through a glass floor at the supposed birthplace of Jesus. It does not come from ringing bells, or lighting candles. The power of prayer does not come from intermediaries such as saints or devotees. The power of prayer comes from one’s true intent. Prayer is like having an intimate relationship with the Creator. Prayer allows one to speak directly with God/Allah to give thanks, or to ask for guidance. Prayer allows for communing with all that is. Prayer is meditation with purpose. Prayer is peaceful awakening.

Grant Me Strength

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A prayer:

Grant me strength that I may accept love through my heart.
Grant me strength that I may share the love in my heart.

During my times of weakness, allow me to remember who I am.
During times of strength, allow me to help others remember who they are.

During times of conflict allow others to see how they have affected me.
During times of conflict allow me to see how I have affected others.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

February 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Compulsion

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women in prayerReligion is not a compulsion towards God. Neither is God a compulsion towards religion. Man has made religion a tool. It is a crutch for some, and for others still, a club to beat the weak. Understanding of the divine does not come from inclusion or exclusion from any group. Neither does it come from the adoration of statues or the creation or recitation of the countless names for the divine. Creation was not made for a narcissistic God. It was created simply from love. How one treats this word or idea is up to each person. Though some may reject it, while others embrace it, it is up to each individual. There is no compulsion. Love, like God, is an invitation. It does not need to conquer. It does not need to yell or berate. It does not need to boast or put others down. Love is understanding in the divine.

Concerto of Life

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Brian Stone conducts the UD Orchestra and Schola Cantorum
Brian Stone conducts the UD Orchestra and Schola Cantorum

The path we choose to understanding is only as long as we choose to make it. In the path of the spirit, there are many self-proclaimed masters, prophets, wise men and learned men. Each seems to have his flavor of the truth, and his method for discovering enlightenment. Some prescribe meditation techniques. Others prescribe prayers or amulets. Some defer to the guidance of spirits, angels and so-called guides, while others still, defer to men who have come before them. Though some may speak in absolutes, who is right is anyone’s guess. Few, if any, will say they do not know, and can only tell of their own experiences. Fewer still will admit that what has been given to them is attainable by all.

The path to understanding is a personal one. Life is like a personal concert, a song between the Creator and each of His creations. Together we are harmonious. Each person, each creation, each instrument, plays its part in the grand arrangement that is life. So although some may try to tempt you to take another path, or to walk a moment with them on their path, your path is your path. The path to understanding is as long or as short as you choose to make it.

Fighting Temptation

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Pray. With pure intent from your heart, your prayers and your thoughts are heard. Do not see them as enemy for they are you. There is no separation from they who wish to do you harm. There is no separation from those who would try to drive you to fear. They are you. They are scared and yet they do not know it. They have lost their way. As evil as they may be and as wicked as the thoughts and images they show may be, forgive them, for they truly have forgotten. Love them. Shine a light on them. Allow them to remember.

Ye shall reap what ye sow. Sow the seeds of love and the fruit shall be bountiful. Sow the seeds of hate and anger, and ye shall cry forever more.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

February 3, 2010 at 5:53 am

Blind Rituals

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Five Pillars of Islam

Is praying five times a day more important or is our relationship with God more important? Is fasting and abstaining from certain foods and activities more important, or is our relationship with God more important? Is making a pilgrimage to a holy site more important, or is our relationship with God more important? Is tithing and giving a certain percentage of our income more important, or is it the intent that drives the giving more important? In many religions there are rituals that we follow. Some are done because they are deemed as laws handed down by God. Some are done because it has been done for centuries. And still some are done because religious leaders say they should be done. How do we know who is right? Everyone has been following the same way for as long as anyone can remember, so how can it be any different? Could it be that the actions themselves are not so important, but instead it is the intent that drives them?

When we pray or meditate is the reason to ask for something for ourselves or for someone else, or is it to give ourselves to God? In prayer do we not bear ourselves to God? Do we not unload our worries and give our thanks for the life we live and the things that are given to us? Do we not ask for guidance and perhaps assistance in our daily lives? In doing these things, are we not building a relationship with God?

When fasting or abstaining from sex, do we do these things because it is said we should? What is the purpose? Is it not to remind us of the many blessings that God has given us and also of the many distractions that divert us from Him? Is it not to show us that if we build a proper relationship with God that nothing can distract us, neither the temptation of physical gratification, or the hunger pangs that our body might feel?

When giving to the poor, does one do it because they are made to do it? Is it done out of obligation or out of the kindness and generosity of one’s heart? If a person gives and then counts their losses, are they giving freely for lack of want, or out of the expectation of a divine reward? In giving freely, are we not reminded of our own blessings? In giving freely, are we not reminded that the shoe could be on the other foot?

Instead of blindly following rituals and laws written by men long before we can ever remember, perhaps it’s time to ask why we do the things we do? Perhaps it’s time to build our own relationship with God. Instead of chastising others for how they choose to worship God, perhaps it’s time to start looking at ourselves.