Click for Audio: Meditation and Prayer (part 1 of 2)
I would like to continue with the subject of meditation and prayer using the illustration of the solar panel that I touched on last week. My explanation of meditation and prayer has evolved within the context of the paradigm of oneness which, of course, recognizes the relationship of oneness between God and the individual. I find it very useful to seek new metaphors to explain the function and purpose of all spiritual practices but these two are of particular importance. The solar panel, used to produce electricity, provides a great way to illustrate both the functions and the interactions of meditation and prayer, at least as I understand it.
The solar panel converts the sun’s energy into electricity which is stored in batteries and then used as desired. The electricity could be directed to lighting a lamp or some appliance, depending on the need of the user. So we have a process where we are capturing universal energy (sunlight) and directing it to a specific usage based on a personal choice.
The solar panel taking in the sun’s energy would be the equivalent to the meditative process. The panel does not run out and chase down the sun’s energy. It does not study solar energy and form concepts about it so it can be more successful at capturing it. Nor does the panel concentrate real hard on capturing the energy. It is the sun’s action and the solar panel’s passivity that makes the collection process possible. The only requirement from the panel is that it is uncovered and facing the sun. As a receiver of sunlight, we can think of the panel as behaving intuitively.
This describes exactly the disposition of the mind when meditating. We first acknowledge that we are in the presence of God, that Presence is self-existent and perpetually and unconditionally radiating. At this stage our goal is not to grab this radiant energy and begin solving problems. Our goal is simply to expose ourselves intuitively to this radiant energy and absorb it. We are building a consciousness of this Presence. Empowered with a fully charged “battery” (experience of inner wholeness), we then engage the prayer process by directing our attention to some need or desire. We release (denial) everything about the appearance that is not in alignment with our experienced wholeness and we speak words (quietly or aloud) that are in alignment with our wholeness (affirmation).
As I think of meditation and prayer in this way, I understand why Emilie Cady wrote, “Intuition and intellect are meant to travel together, intuition always holding the reins to guide intellect.” If the solar panel does not collect the sun’s energy, no appliance is going to work. The intuitive, meditative aspect is the infilling of power, life, love, and intelligence. Without the conscious awareness of this energy–God as our unlimited source–prayer becomes a feeble attempt to manipulate God, or at least offer suggestions to God on ways to solve our problems.