Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 06:42 pm
qwertyportne wrote:

sometime sun wrote:
Please give a distinction between meditation and prayer, please so I know clearer where you sit and pose.

sometime sun,

Prayer is a conversation with a god and meditation is a conversation with yourself. Over the years, I have decided that position of mind is more important than position of body, so I long ago stopped meditating while sitting on a pillow in some excruciatingly painful position. Instead, I meditate while I'm hiking or running the trails around my home. As a native American once told me "Spirituality is simply a walk in the woods..."

I do not pray, because I have no reason to think, feel or believe that any gods exist. And if I did think they exist, I would not ask them for any favors or tell them what to do. Years ago, after my son was murdered, I attended prayer meetings at a local church. One night, after an hour of listening to those people telling god to go here, go there, do this, do that, I stood and told them they weren't smart enough to pray, that they should go into the real world and answer their own [email protected]#$ prayers. I was asked to leave. I did.

In the first few months after my wife of 40 years died, I talked to her. But I didn't call it prayer. She couldn't hear me. She was dead. If anybody had heard me talking to her, they would have thought I was crazy, but I like to think that my "conversations" with her prevented me from losing my mind. As others have said, prayer isn't something I resist. I'm not crazy. So I don't do it.


You did speak to her in the form of the parts of her consciousness she left impressed in your own mind while she was alive. Impressions that will remain with you until the end of your own existence.

I found your post very moving and my thoughts are with you at this moment.
reasoning logic
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 07:20 pm
Seems to have truth to it but I do not know for a fact but I can relate to what you are saying
0 Replies
sometime sun
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 07:33 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:

You're making this waaaaaaaay too hard. It's quite simple, and a reasonable request. I'll demonstrate. Perhaps an example will help you compose my burden.

"compose my burden" love it, still don't quite get it but it sounds real good.
I'll use it a couple of times myself if you don't mind and then will find understanding.
Do you mean to say me to compose for you a construct that would be your burden to either take on as your own or lift me of mine?
(It really does not matter you answer, I just like your language and investigating it, I don't know if you know this but you are fairly interesting)
failures art wrote:

For you to convince me that (1) everyone prays, and (2) those who don't have to suppress it here's what I'd need you to demonstrate.

A - You'd have to provide a definition of "prayer" that is agreed upon. I'd accept that prayers are a person's attempt (successful or not) at communicating with any supernatural construct (a god, a fairy, a ghost) by either orating or by the idea that one's thoughts can be transmitted mentally.

I accept what you accept but find I must dig a little deeper to see if it will always hold true for all forms of
first what forms of communication are we talking about, there are many forms of communication that do not use words but which are still language,
secondly what languages if any transmit,
thirdly what this has to do with communion and whether communion is also communication, language, transmission and prayer, and if communion is essential for it to be termed prayer,
fourthly if one can establish IF communication or communion with the self is possible above or outside the realms of meditation,
fifthly if meditation is a form of prayer or prayer a form of meditation,
sixthly if prayer is a psychological and or spiritual tool construct or delusion,
and whether it is a consciousness a subconsciousness or unconscious action or reaction,
seventhly if it prayer is not more than psychological and is in fact and does in fact effect one physically so therefore becomes or already was medical rather than just psychological/spiritual being able to prove real cause
and effect of prayer, to see if it a causation exists in or of prayer and whether we can narrow the event to psychological or physical or possibly both,
eighthly by defining both areas we can see what we know or do not know about the nature of the things basis in reality what instigates it and what ends it, learning more of its construction or causality leading us to a hopeful prayed for causal connection consensus. (We may even be able to find Aristotle in there somewhere?)
lastly what constitutes supernatural and if it is not rather just natural in the guise of aggrandisement, in other words what constitutes the reality or basis of the supernatural before that of the ethereal baseless.
I suppose I am being a little bit unfair because I am always by any means necessary trying to prove God and until I just analysed my self here for you now I did not realise that was one of my goals or subconsciously even the reason I opened the thread.
So being fair we need only deal with up to number six as they deal with prayer and not necessarily God.
Although in determining whether the subject does or does not do something as a matter of course or as a restriction we do also need to at some point look into what the subject is releasing or restricting towards, but for the sake of this we shall keep it to an look at the prayer not what is being prayed to unless of course the praying is the prayer or the prayer is the praying.
But will say that by measuring the cause and effect we can often times be then able to see where and what the origin or purpose is, so would be able to give you an answer as to what I thought prayer actually is.

Basically I must first demonstrate what I believe prayer is and I don't think I can do that right now, I am still looking to define and refine my own prayer status, which does go some way to saying that I should not make an assumption that everyone does something I am not totally sure what that something is.

failures art wrote:

Similarly...I would not accept a definition of prayer that defines it as any oration or internal thought. You need to define prayer such that it is a specific thing away from other concepts. In other words, defining prayer as meditation only convolute the two concepts and projects your notion of what meditation is onto others.

No not any oration but certainly a communion of something beyond your grasp, and again communication of communion needs to be established.
And meditation may very well be communication with the self and a working of the self but it may not be a communion because meditation is thought and contemplation and study of the self, but the communion with the self is both a sharing of thoughts and feelings rather than contemplating them, but in both cases, one; that meditation is asking of the self, two; that prayer is sharing, we find we cannot get way from the fact that to share and ponder the self is still a journey of self discovery is still a study. They may be completely different studies but they are both being answered by the self which is seeking.
I hope that makes sense.
I do still believe that meditation and prayer have distinct differences but they also have some striking similarities as well.
If like me you look at prayer objectively.
I have just realised I am putting to much onto the word "communion" so will start to rephrase it from now on and look for a better word.
Although it is pretty much an encapsulation.
failures art wrote:

B - You'd have to demonstrate that individuals that might pray "accidentally" are not doing so out of some cultural specific habit. For instance, I don't believe in a god, but I use phrases like "Oh, my god" because they are common language that expresses meaning outside of the religious context. So if you can demonstrate that people habitually do this universally (and that you're not simply projecting onto the world through your own cultural lens), then you'll demonstrate that whatever the habit of prayer is that it happens in all cultures (keep in mind your original claim).

But what if you are like me and believe you can pray but it doe snot need to be towards God or a supernatural aspect of God, what if it is a prayer to the natural human part which is God.
I should explain that I am also of the belief that God is never more real and realised than when it is found inside me you and any human being who has being.
So you may now see why I am having difficulty with this.
I believe praying to self is not just praying to self it is praying to God self.
Never more is God proved to me than when I see a Human being or look at myself in the mirror.
That is not as narcissistic as it sounds.
As I believe the only way to get a response from God in life is to get a response from another or myself which is also where the main understanding I hold of the devil comes form as well. But I have not even started to scratch the surface on that damnation and abomination.
(If it helps I think Lucifer is not the devil,
but I digress again,
you will find I do this annoyingly often)
Basically you don't know if you have the answer until you find the right question to ask yourself and once found the question we may find we already do know the answer.
We all know a hell of a lot more than what we think we have already answered, for the simple fact we have only just started to ask ourselves anything.
I hope that last sentence found understanding with you.
failures art wrote:

C - Lastly, you'd need to demonstrate that a person with no concept of prayer or of any supernatural abstract, would pray as defined in 'A' above.


Sorry but I am only just starting to define my own concept of prayer which makes it almost impossible to do it for someone who denies they have one themselves.
Which again goes some way to disproving what I proffered to begin with as I still am finding it difficultly fun to find my own.
So, and I hope it does not put you off further discourse, I now at least admit it is still possible what some here have said that they do not pray or subdue it may in fact be true, for the only reason I have not as yet come to fully capture for me or for you what I think and believe prayer to actually be.
But I still hold that my first impression (which still has not finished growing or shrinking) of what prayer means to me meant and still slightly means that all do do it or subdue it.

All I can think of to prove or disprove me or you right now is for more of you and me to make distinction between prayer and meditation.
To really get into what meditation is and is not.
Because at the very least IF I am proven false in my assumptions I would still say that everyone at least meditates and or prays.
But you still have to do some work in proving to me what prayer is not.
I have been open in my notions and all I have heard is that "no I don't" not really that they have a full understanding of what either prayer or meditation is, is not, uses, ignores, caused by, effected by, inertialised by or instigated by.
I may even go so far as to say it is natural to do so until learned not to do so.
So no need for avoidance because they have removed the problem altogether.
I am not sure I believe this but once someone proves me other wise you may hear me say this and then we can move onto, "we are born praying but can grow out of it". But that really does sound like the subject of bedtime stories and if not told any maybe you never did believe in Santa.

All my best, hope to hear from you soon.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 09:00 pm

I pray that our ancestors are still behind us , from all cultures of Humanity on this Earth , forever

which kicks out both god and the devil
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2010 10:03 am
Thanks Steve. She was a dear friend, and thanks to those impressions, she still is. One of the first things I noticed about her being gone was the end of our conversations, so it helped, at least for a while, to continue them inside my own head. I didn't mention it in my reply to sometime sun, but my experience with my wife makes me guess that people who pray need to have an imaginary conversation with their god to keep them from losing their mind. They don't consider it imaginary, of course, but I'm more dependent on reality than perhaps they are. Another way of saying that is to say that I am more comfortable with the world as I find it (Wittgenstein) than I could ever be with religious certainty. As Carl Sagan once remarked "I don't want to believe. I want to know." Or as George Carlin said "Reality -- what a concept."
0 Replies
jack phil
Reply Sun 27 Jun, 2010 05:32 pm
@sometime sun,
Hey Sometime Sun!

I used to, as a child/teenager, simply contemplate the meaning of life (though there never was a direct question, per se). Simply, recounting the events of the day were enough to keep the atheist up for a while.

Now, it is much simpler. I recount a few lines, like, Humble yourself before the Lord, or, Fear of the Lord is the way to understanding, or whatever. These few reminders help me quickly open up my heart, as it is so easy for me to go through a day without thinking I have done anything wrong-- but such is vanity. From then, I sometimes come up with my own prayer which usually has me simply seeking guidance in the coming day (if in the morning) or guidance in life (if at night); and sometimes I simply say the "Hallowed be thy name" famous Christian prayer and recall the day.

I guess there are many things to pray for- enemies, friends, societies, etc.

Good Luck!
sometime sun
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:15 pm
Razzleg wrote:

Oops, sorry, I lost track of this thread. I'm afraid my attention on this forum has been a bit haphazard over the last week.

As to your questions (I didn't take any of the above as sarcastic, I've read enough of your posts to trust in your sincerity.):

Yes I have been remiss and not active enough to catch up to everybody in the swiftest and most productive manner, we all lose out concentration sometimes, I apologise for mine because it shows less respect from me to you those who have been decent and wonderful enough to reply.
I hope you read this before you completely lose interest.
Although I don't rate you as someone only interested in a subject just because of their own inclusion.
Either way I am sorry for not getting back to you sooner.
Razzleg wrote:

I don't know that there is a lot more for me to say regarding my prayer activity. Neither the first prayer nor its thankful echo really make me feel more secure. The first just arises from a sense that I have reached the limits of what I am practically able to do in a certain situation, and I pray to exhaust my possibilities. It might imply desperation, but sometimes I do it when I do something as simple as drop someone off at the airport. The strictures placed on the prayer are not something I thought out a lot, they developed organically over time. They are an attempt at intellectual honesty. The last prayer of thanks just seems polite, but I sometimes apologize to chairs I bump into. It would be difficult for me to say whether I am contented or discontented, for I feel both ways quite often. I don't know that either dominates. Likewise, I do not feel any more guilty for praying when I do, than I do for not praying when I don't.

Yes I wonder if I was speaking about security and how this is what I may be describing as what every one does or avoids, for the fact for some it is a security and for some the disavowal is the security?
Exhaust my possibilities I like the sound of that as it is what I see prayer being predominantly used for. The final leap, the final who cares, the final nothing else can get any worse, so may as well give a shot.
Intellectual honesty your is totally, where as prayer tends to be a spiritual honesty. Both seeking a truth and answer though even if with the intellect you are more likely to get an answer and something you can rely on.
Yes I have been known to apologise to the air I breath.
I wonder why you use guilt here?
I am even of the mind that prayer has nothing to do with Supernatural forces, rather just natural resources, it separates us from the problem as much as connects us to it, likewise it separates us form our self as much as connects to to it.
Razzleg wrote:

err...Perhaps a bit of background? Like I said, I was raised in a religious household in the US, by two parents of the same faith. Although I think they are both devout, they are also reasonable people who do not tend to moral or metaphysical absolutes. I maintain a very good relationship with both of them in adulthood, and I think they did as good a job raising their children as it is possible to do. I began to have serious religious doubts as an adolescent, quite the norm I'm sure. As my limited, hormone-addled intelligence developed certain inconsistencies within my parents' religion became increasingly obvious, and friction between my personal perceptions and the religion's dogmas slowly wore away my childhood faith. Of course, I make this sound simple, but it was emotionally complex. By this time, I think that it would be simple enough to classify me as an atheist, because I do not find reason to believe in nor figure for god in my daily life or in my philosophy. Any tendency towards militant atheism has long since left me, however, and I see such activity, anti-clericalism and priest-baiting and the like, as the activity of the newly converted or the immature. I see a plethora of asshole-ish activity undertaken in some god's name, but this does not really make me angry at religions much. First, there is no god to blame; and second, every group has its asshole faction to contend with. But by the same token, every group also contains reasonable people like my parents. I just satisfy myself by being angry at the assholes, and it is enough.

Agreed and thank you for being so intimately descriptive of your self history and position.
It is always wonderful to hear someones genuine connection to a topic or situation.
Thank you so much for this.

Razzleg wrote:

Are my prayers mistakes? No, I do them quite deliberately. In fact, I word them as carefully as I would a wish from a cartoon, Americanized djinn, watching for loopholes. Nonetheless, I regard them as about as meaningful as the "Eh!" with which they are often followed instead of an "Amen". They do not imply a belief in anything, just a lot of hope in the moment.

"just a lot of hope in a moment" yes, yes, yes it is not about past or future it is about present and presence of nature.
Presence of mind and intellect.
They refresh the moment to give more objectivity than just impressions.
You do it for the prayer not for the consequence.
I think this is prayer at its best, only expecting for the self what the self puts into it. Brilliant.

Razzleg wrote:

PS: I sometimes refer to myself as an agnostic, usually when I am talking to someone who is religious, to make whatever I am saying seem less hostile. For me there are about as many "good" reasons for believing in a deity or divine principle as there are "good" reasons for disbelieving. (There are multiple meanings of "good" colliding and colluding here.) Faith is a choice. But whichever way it goes, its actual effects are minor at best, and only affect one's actions to the extent to which one allows them to. Sometimes, I refer to myself as an agnostic simply out of respect to my parents. A logical inconsistency? Undoubtedly, but a tolerable one for me.

You are a source of acuteness and descriptive clarity.
I enjoyed and thought your post an utter delight.
I hope we get to talk some other time.
In fact I don't think my reply has done your justice.

All my thanks and all my best,
sometime sun
0 Replies
sometime sun
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:20 pm
salima wrote:

tears can also be a prayer...both happy for thank you and sad for help

i was sitting with mummy yesterday, whose recovery is coming along well now, and that enough can inspire a silent prayer, when the rain came pouring down in crazy swirling cascades like in a movie...surrealistic, after four months of waiting for relief. it came too late for the last five of us, who died just the day before in our own city. summer started early this year and by the first week of march the sun was already blazing down on us. humidity started earlier than ever before, making it all not only potentially fatal but unbearable for the survivors.

so i said to mummy (in her language, because i speak to muslims as a muslim, to atheists as an atheist, to materialists as a materialist, etc etc...because if you dont know someone's language it is a lot slower), 'Allah has saved us!'...and while the rain began to reach above the ankles of the children playing in the street, washing the dirt into a river of mud, i felt tears trying to come amazing that a rain shower can be such a blessing and save so many lives and livelihoods, while all the rainstorms of my past life went by virtually unnoticed!

whether it was the rain or mummy's laugh, that had been stifled for over a month by a killer disease, long forgotten in the old new world...or the rain;
the entire evening turned into a prayer for both of us.

good luck to you are also in my prayers

This is a prayer form and I think most beautiful and enlisting, thank you salima you know how to blow me away and I am grateful beyond my ability to voice.
Thank you from the bottom of my being to the top of my hope.
0 Replies
sometime sun
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:24 pm
@mark noble,
Have you ever prayed or have you just always been without it?
Did you unlearn your self or did you just fade it out?
I would be very interested in seeing what measures if any you took to conquering your prayers, or if you just never started so never needed to finish them?

You always help, as I am starting to trust that you may indeed be bale to dispense with the action altogether.
But again I would ask you to define what it is you think prayer is and is not.
All my best,
mark noble
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:26 pm
@sometime sun,
Hi Sun!

It is Self-confrontation! IMO.

sometime sun
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:31 pm
Your post makes me think if the mind is so fully occupied with meditation whether it may indeed not need to pray, to busy being on location with the self than be anywhere else prayer might send you.

Your openness astonishes me,
You are a marvel of strength.

Thank you for putting so much of yourself out there for us to encounter,

All my best to you dear man marvel,
You have changed my world today
0 Replies
sometime sun
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:36 pm
I don't think prayer has necessarily anything to do with God or the devil either,

Thanks for your post north
0 Replies
sometime sun
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:43 pm
@jack phil,
Recognition I hear in your words.
A reminder of things to be grateful and take notice of.
Your method of prayer is noble and honourable.

All my thanks and all my best to you, great to see you jack
0 Replies
sometime sun
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 06:44 pm
@mark noble,
So do you no longer confront or need to confront yourself?

All my best,
mark noble
Reply Mon 28 Jun, 2010 07:05 pm
@sometime sun,
Hi Sun!
I don't need to pretend I am conferring with a third party to find myself in my own thoughts.

Prayer (in isolation) is assuming an unusual position, kneeling, prone, with the lights off, whatever - And confronting what is foremost in one's own mind. If anyone does not (normally) assess their daily thoughts - they are unconscious

Those thoughts we have in our heads are our own. If you think someone/thing else is in there, you're mad!

I don't need to call thoughts "prayers". It's just me in there, after all.

All I see when I see someone praying is "someone thinking".

Hope this explains.
0 Replies

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