Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Affirmative Prayer and Kundalini Yoga


(This blog was first published on Spirit Voyage Blog)

A few years ago I took a “Prayer Class” at a spiritual center in Los Angeles called Agape. Seriously. A prayer class. Why would someone need to learn how to pray, you might ask. Well, have you ever found yourself saying the following things to the Divine Spirit that lives in all things, including you?


“God, if you exist, please...”

or

“God? I’m probably talking to myself, but please...”

or

“If you could just do this one thing for me, I’ll be a better person. I promise.”

or

“Why is this happening to me?”

or

“Please please, please!”

According to those who practice “Affirmative Prayer”, this is a seriously inefficient use of your praying muscles. Not only are you expressing distrust in the Universal One, you are bartering, begging, and complaining to boot.

Affirmative Prayer states that we should be praying for what we want, not what we don’t want. Furthermore, we use the prayer to recognize the good that already is, transforming our awareness into that of receptivity and gratitude, which then attracts more of the same.

This is a great technology to have in your toolkit. You can use it to pray alone, for another person, or in any size group.

There are Five Steps, (which appeals to the kriya-loving Kundalini Yogi inside me), which are typically done with hands pressed together, either standing or sitting:

1. Recognition: Take a deep breath. In this step you affirm that there is only one life, one presenece, one God. You can use any term for God that feels comfortable: Universe, Cosmos, Spirit, Wahe Guru, Allah, Jehovah, ...

Examples: “I am experiencing the presence of God in this moment as the breath that flows through my body.”  “I know that there is only one source of life, which I call God.”

Kundalini Parallel:  Chanting the names of God affirms the presence of the Divine, as on Snatam Kaur's "To Heaven and Beyond".


2. Unification: Now that you’ve established that there is only one God, it’s time to connect our human experience to that Infinity. You are one with that One! Even if you are praying for someone else, you would first assert your unification, then theirs.

Example: “I know that I am one with God.” If you were praying for someone else you could say: “I know that I am one with God, and so too is ____” (insert the person’s name you are praying for).

Kundalini Parallel: “Ek Ong Kaar” covers both recognition and unification. God is “Ong” (Creator) and we are all “Kaar” (Creation), which are one in the same: “Ek.”


3. Realization: Get creative! What about you is divinely true? Well, anything that is true about God is true about you. Remember how we already established this in parts 1 & 2? So, what aspects of God would you like to embrace in your life right now? God is Joy, Abundance, Creative, Divinity, Harmony, Plenty, Peace, Power, Grace, and so much more!

Examples: “As a unique manifestation of Divine Light, I know that I am beauty, tranquility, and patience. I embrace these qualities and choose to recognize them in my daily life.” “I know that I am all that God is. I say ‘yes’ to my divinity, my grace, and my courage.”

Kundalini Parallel: “Sat Nam” is a realization. When we use it to greet people or end a yoga class we are affirming as spiritual beings, that Truth (Sat) is our identity (Naam). Truth then expands into a slue of derivative qualities, of which any of the above (peace, power, etc.) can be included. For a longer list of what God is, there is also Jaap Sahib.


4. Thanksgiving: Remember all that amazing stuff you said? Well, now you accept it, and express your gratitude for it.

Examples: “I am so grateful to speak and embrace this Truth in my life.” “How grateful I am to know that these words are true.”

Kundalini Parallel: “Sat Gur Prasad” is an example of Thanksgiving. Prasad means offering or gift. When we say “Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad” we are expressing immense gratitude for the gift (“prasad”) of Oneness. It is no wonder that this is called the magic mantra!


5. Release: Let it go! This technology works because we put our faith in it. If we hold onto our prayers and never let God take care of them, what is the point? I once asked Bibji, Yogi Bhajan’s late wife, what she thought was the most powerful prayer or mantra. She answered something like this: “Anything you put your faith into will work.” So release it, and know that it has been heard.

Example: “I release this prayer knowing that it is done.”

Kundalini Parallel: The mantra “Ardas Bhaee” ends with the release statement—“Ram Das Guru, Ram Das Guru, Ram Das Guru, Suchee Sahee.” Guru Ram Das assures that this prayer is granted.

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