The act of prayer has been praised since time immemorial, and the person who doesn’t display sign of prayer may get treated as most inadequate person on this earth. Prayers could take different forms, for different religions, faith, sects, castes, and education, but everyone expects everyone to at least express intentions of gratitude.
Education—yes, it is! Spiritual Education brings in drive and can rise you up from your natural, spontaneous instincts. It helps to understand spirituality and prayer, along with other subjects and energy streams; also can help in things such as generating money, yet may poorly play a role in realization of it. This way, the role of ‘spiritual master’ is one of utmost importance in giving a feeling that this is a subject that should not be limited to the enlightened or the spiritual seeker only. Religions are comprised of ‘masters’ who speak endlessly about prayer and its significance, while their own life lacks in giving one cent of divinity; who, though they may be the darling of the moral police and who are inherently part of it, continually land in trouble. The spiritual marketplace is filled with flawed players, who talk of prayer and ultimately indulge in sex games. Very few become ‘enlightened,’ and in other cases, darker games are played to cover it up, so that a more ‘reputable business’ can flourish. History and our present time is full of many people like that. We are all aware of them. Understanding these incidents of sexual indulgence, of these “Masters” is of utmost importance. As an individual, we also seek to attain that state of ecstatic prayer and communion; but many times we feel something went wrong, due to some thought or act.
The existence of these Masters brings us to question whether the phenomenon of sex has something to do with prayer. You would have observed, and many times it has been said, that your prayer goes to waste and become a verbal begging, unless you are able to love somebody. Even Gandhi happened to say, “It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without heart.” Prayer is not merely an act; it is state of being when we connect with divinity; when every bonding of spirit has fallen apart and there is no distinction between that supreme and you. Prayer happens only when your spirit is involved. While Love is the phenomenon governed through the mental sphere/aspect, sex, can be a very basic and visible stage, where our physique is indulged in occurrence. These three are coherently connected, and skipping any one brings you to the previous stage.
Sex is a fundamental presence in our lives. Restricting or suppressing sex, with your mind power and with the use of certain practices, brings it to the top when your mind is at ease. Becoming a spiritual guru can be a very lucrative profession; in truth it requires minimum qualification. The only mechanism required is suppressive or sacrificial life. Rather than suppression, it is better to understand and realize the power and volcanic presence of sex in our lives, and go beyond this pleasure-giving stuff. Sigmund Freud termed the “id” of a person the establishment of a successful relationship under the psycho-sexual dynamism of human beings. According to him, we are born with our id hardwired into our brains, and it is based around the “pleasure principle.” We want whatever makes us feel good; no matter what the means or consequences. The id is unconscious, and is one of our main motivations. For centuries, we have been suppressing this feeling, unaware of its impact. So, when you raise your consciousness to a higher plane than this basic physical pleasure, the struggle for holding back subsides.
For a better understanding, an analytic approach may be beneficial here. If we have experience on the mathematical plane and in rational subjects, our life may certainly be fruitful and effective to make our existence felt in just about every walk of life. While on the life force (spiritual) plane, life is exhausting and non-conclusive. Imagine it being just like your two hands, wrestling with each other, and draining energy out of the body. This struggle inside is what it is like when we fail to understand and hold judgment of the two as separate. Next level is love, which develops through acceptance of sex. A deepened emotion flourishes, which is not need-based. Instead, you feel like sharing and giving. It is a projection of feelings, which is coming out of the heart. This emotion should not arise out of hunger or greed; nor is it a cultural phenomenon, where social pressure is at work.
Any incident where you are feeling the need to offer as much as you have, and that generates happiness; where gender and other ‘differences’ cease; feeling friendship for all, whether from lower class or upper; where rationality takes a back seat to practicality; without romance, lust, and greed for heaven–there, is love. One can give many generous donations to religious institutions, and feel brotherhood with same realm of people, but feeding thousands of helpless people seems arduous. Love is freedom, care, and nourishment. It should not give a feeling of hindrance or bondage; rather, a sense of responsibility—that it is the right action to take; the right thing to do. Love is not that phenomenon, where you say you love someone but instead you end up holding each other back.
Fashionable love is mostly like love for ice cream, where you express it with gush of feeling but slurp and consume it in each bite until you finish it off. If love prompts you for attachment, rather than understanding, it is the role of chemicals in brain, rather than an inclination of the spiritual. You love someone out of expectation rather than giving, surrendering unconditionally. We ought to feel thankful if our love, by means of giving, gets accepted. This feeling of thankfulness is directly related to the state of prayer.
Prayer is not asking for a favor from the supreme Mind in order to obtain success, earn money, pass examination–but it is a state of thankfulness of being.
You will certainly keep negative thinking and doubt about existence of the supreme, if it is an act of begging. Mark Twain has put it straight by saying, “Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” Just as a beggar abuses you behind your back, if you deny giving some money or food. Prayer is absolute surrender to ultimate, and being thankful that you came an inch closer to that state of being. When lessons of prayer are inclusive, it serves the higher purpose. However, when we are taught prayer in a limited way, it creates conflict inside. This conflict originates endless thinking, where we lose most of our energy that could have been better used for connecting ourselves to divinity. You can collect information and gain knowledge as much as you want, but it is regardless of fact that one has to undergo one’s destiny—and that can only be overcome by one’s spiritual practice. Transformation of mind is possible; and with understanding, indirectly, if one goes beyond this ethereal body, it can bring us closer to the realization of spirit by means of prayer. Certainly praying gratitude brings effectiveness in achieving it.