Friday, June 29, 2012

The Flaw in How We Pray or Affirm

Whether we pray or affirm doesn’t matter; they’re just paths to one center. However, what we understand about how they are meant to work does matter.

One thing we need to be clear about either praying or affirming is that they don’t, as such, affect or influence the Creator or the Universe; they ARE meant to affect or influence US, starting with how we think (there’s more to this, in the following paragraphs). Provision of some result is always ours. And, if we believe in measuring more for ourselves, or less, that is responded to accordingly.

There’s a phrase in the bible: “As ye believe, it shall be done unto you,” which is the premise of the Law of Attraction. Many of us have been taught to pray or affirm in particular ways, which led us to believe that if we just craft our words a certain way, that makes the difference. No. Although word-crafting is important, relying on it solely makes it too easy to bypass the fact that the Universal Principle we call Law of Attraction is in effect. And this Principle or Law responds to “As ye believe,” not “As ye speak but don’t believe.” When a prayer or affirmation is fulfilled, it isn’t because we were convincing with our words, it’s because we aligned with, moved into, right relationship with how the Principle works, in alignment with The Bigger Picture.

The reminder that every thought is a prayer or affirmation came to me as the answer to my request to know what it was that I needed to learn… let me repeat that… that I needed to learn… about myself as it related to a situation I found difficult. There are circumstances that can feel difficult, but what often makes them more difficult is how we relate to them.

Understandably, we want a difficult circumstance to go away; the sooner the better. And we don’t really wish to look at the part we play in that dynamic. For me, I needed the reminder that the words we hear and believe the most are the ones we tell ourselves. And whether 100% true or not, we believe them; and then they become part of our story. Then we repeat our story to ourselves, and others. If our repetitions are supportive or constructive, there’s no problem. If they’re not supportive or are destructive, I call this “playing the broken record.”

For those of you too young to know about vinyl records played on a turntable, if there was a snag in the vinyl, the needle got stuck and you’d hear the same brief segment of music or lyrics played over and over and over, until you lifted the needle. Sometimes our mental-emotional needles get stuck in the same way, and we find ourselves dealing with a case of “As ye believe, it shall be done unto you” about the same matter or issue for years. How can any of us expect different results if our needle is stuck playing the same emotionally-charged thoughts about something over and over? We DISDAIN, when we could ORDAIN differently.

I realized my needle has been stuck about one particular matter for a long time. So, I know it’s going to take deliberation and a deliberate change in thinking for me to move the needle so I hear the song or symphony that’s on the other side of the bump… or I should say rut. If I truly desire this, how I think about this matter has to change FIRST. I must commit to the song, not the snag. I also must not expect myself, after years of playing this broken record, to be transformed instantly. I’m not saying that can’t happen, but I don’t want to add self-judgmental expectation into the mix. I just want to move forward.

I’m going to share how the first several hours of this new practice went for me. You may be able to relate to the first part: I caught myself repeating the old story in my head. I stopped. A few minutes later (maybe it was seconds later) I caught myself doing it again. Crikey! After the fifth time, I realized…

1. It’s a long-practiced habit; it’s going to take more than just a decision for that “pendulum” to swing to the other side.

2. I realized I didn’t have the absolute solution or resolution yet. I didn’t know when that would happen, or if it would happen all at once or in parts over time. But, I wanted to Do Something Constructive Now.

3. I decided to say “Broken record” each time I caught myself playing this particular one, or any one, and then picture a perfect, peaceful lotus blossom on still water.

4. I knew I was going to be face-to-face with this particular challenge later that day, which was the trigger for the replay moments. Broken record… peaceful lotus.

5. Once in that face-to-face place, despite all my prep work, I noticed I had an attitude. Whoa! That led me to realize something I already know: that negative anticipation influences me in a way I don’t like, and that if I experience the same type of challenge repeatedly, there’s one thing consistently present: Me!

6. I mulled over the idea that even if I wasn’t the originator of the challenge, I’ve been engaged in keeping it alive. Broken record… peaceful lotus. (So you know, this inner attention resulted in a harmonious experience.)

Will lifting this “needle” eliminate the challenge completely from my life? I don’t know . . . it might; it depends on what I need to learn about myself through this. But that outer change is not the one that’s more significant; my inner change is. If I keep that foremost in mind, I’ll stay on track better and I’ll experience this process (and my progress) differently than if I focus solely on what my ego wishes would happen (everything and everyone involved, BUT ME, changes). I have enough experiences I can recall to mind that prove that when I get into right relationship with the Principle, things shift, but especially, I shift. That’s really what every dynamic in my life (and yours) is ultimately about, anyway.

How can we hear or sing our desired NOW and therefore our desired future if all we listen to or play are broken records? In the case of “broken record, peaceful lotus,” each is a prayer and affirmation of what we believe and is what is, or can be, reflected in our life. Please keep in mind that there’s a huge difference between contemplating an old story in order to see it in a new light or to glean something from it to help us improve or release it, and in repetition out of anger or sadness or frustration, which makes us angrier or sadder or more frustrated.

We are to also pay attention to what Ernest Holmes calls the Mental Equivalent: Our perspective about anything outside us comes from within; and, we get back what we send out. This applies to the perspective we hold about ourselves, others, and life. This means the range of our possible or potential manifestations cannot exceed the mental equivalents of our beliefs. To expand results, we have to expand what we believe. We cannot pray or affirm for improvement AND play a broken record about it. That’s like always turning left at the corner and being miserable or complaining because we never leave the block. To experience something else requires US to change our path, even a bit.

Holmes wrote, “To desert the Truth in the hour of need is to prove that we do not know the Truth.” He actually wrote this in all capital letters to demonstrate its significance. So, you can say that the flaw in how we pray or affirm stems from lack of proper relationship (alignment) with the Law of Attraction Principle, which stems from not understanding the Truth of the Principle as we might. Every challenge, and blessing, is an opportunity to explore and integrate more of this aligned relationship and the Truth that “As ye believe, it shall be done unto you,” and put these into practice.

Practice makes progress.

© Joyce Shafer

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