Love Is All You Need

It seems a bit strange for me to write about prayer.  I don’t identify with any religious group.  I don’t pray to any particular God.  And I don’t ascribe to any specific prayer rituals (e.g., kneeling, bowing, crossing myself).  Instead, I am one of those so-called spiritual people; I feel it strongly, but I don’t fit into any box.

To be honest, identifying as ‘spiritual’ is neither easy nor fun (and a bit like identifying as ‘queer’).  People are adverse to ambiguity.  And when you add ambiguity to spirituality (which is already an internal, nebulous topic) it becomes that much tougher.

But I digress.

Because even though I’m spiritual, I pray.  And just today, I observed my prayer evolving is a fascinating way.

Years ago, I prayed for things.  I prayed for happiness for my family.  I prayed for friends to get better.  I prayed for forgiveness for me.  My prayer fit a typical format, one that you could almost write as a Mad Lib:  I (Meredith) ask a higher power (God/Heavenly Father/universe) for some sort of spiritual or worldly good (forgiveness/health/happiness) on behalf of some recipient (myself/my family/my dog).

Over time, however, I stopped praying for things.  My prayer kept its directionality but lost its intention.  It seemed presumptuous to think that I knew the best for someone and wished that for them.  At a soul level, is it ultimately better that someone suffer financial difficulties or feel financial ease?  And how would I know?  So I started a practice of simply ‘holding them in my heart’; I hoped for their own best interests while acknowledging that I didn’t know what those were.  Similar to the Vipassana tradition of metapana meditation, it was a bit like sending other people love, peace and happiness.  This love-orientation moved beyond prayer and bled into my daily life, where I went through my days wondering how I could be “the most loving person possible.”

But earlier today, a strange shift happened.  I was sitting in meditative silence when I realized how very ego-oriented that whole approach was.  In the past, I was praying.  I was sending love.  I was being the most loving person possible.  But today, there was no I in it.  Instead, I was love.  I held love.  I felt love.  I would say that I became a better amplifier of the love that was already latent in me, but that would put too much of myself in it.  Instead, the prayer felt more like simply radiating:  Love.  Love.  Love.  Love.

Now, to be clear, I don’t walk around exuding “You, you, you.  There is no me.  There is only love.”  I’m not that much of a hippie and I’m definitely not a saint.  Mostly I walk around thinking really normal things like “I want this.  I want that.  I wonder if the muffins from that bakery are any good.  Don’t step in that gum.”

But when I do put myself in a prayerful mood, I like this new way of approaching it.  Less me, more you.  Less ego, more existence.

And so, most of the time, my ego remains:

evolution of prayer

1 Comment

  1. *love* this. i’ve come to a similar conclusion in my meditation: i am love. this has entered my daily practice.
    and my prayers over time have evolved into expressions of gratitude. because i do feel confident in trusting the past and having faith that the future will unfold correctly.


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