It is healing for me to do my prayers. But, it was only after a long process of self inquiry, that I found out what praying actually means for me. And, not only that.
How to pray in a way that feels really authentic?
I tried for many years to pray the way I had learned as a child. I'd kneel down before going to bed and I would pray for whatever I wanted or needed. A good night sleep, nice dreams, that the boy I liked, liked me too, that my sick cat got healthy again… etc
Only years later I understood, when there is nothing I want or need in the very moment of prayer, I can also be simply grateful for all that I have, for all that I am, for all that is there, around and within me.
It was a big first step in my process of understanding the healing that comes with authentic prayer.
It was from here, where I began to extend my prayers to others.
To my friends Mother, so she would be well again, to my neighbour, so she would get over the sudden death of her beloved dog or, that the boy whom I witnessed to get bullied at school earlier, would find the strength to go to school again tomorrow.
I am a sensitive being. The misery and pain in the world really gets to me, more often than not. When I see, read or witness something that hurts me in my soul, I will find myself sleepless that night.
And so, I extended my prayers.
To the homeless and the sorrowful, the lonely or the broken hearted. And, from here the way wasn’t all too long to pray for the caged beings, the lab rats, the chained dogs, the millions of abused animals in our meat and dairy industry, the imprisoned and the enslaved, two legged as well as four legged.
I prayed for the environment and for the crying trees in the face of the chainsaw, the mammals in the ocean with a stomach full of plastic, the species who got extinct through human's inability to look further ahead. I prayed for the cultures which white men in their ignorance and greed, have destroyed, I prayed for the many mothers who have lost their sons to war, and the many people who are saying Goodbye to their loved ones for good- right in this moment.
With every prayer that I dedicated to others instead of praying for myself, I began to feel more activated. I started to feel that I could make a difference, because I chose to direct my compassion and love, my positive energy to the world around me instead of myself.
My Yoga practice was no longer a separate part of my day, not anymore just a fragment with physical exercise, no, my Yoga practice became the prayer itself and through the integration of prayer into Yoga, Yoga got integrated into my whole life. It became my life.
I had been looking way too far! I thought I must be perfectly sustainable in my choices, in order to stand up for the environment, I thought I have to be the embodiment of Mother Mary in order to be authorised to bless others, and I thought I must be the perfect age to pass on my wisdom.
Anything I do now that comes from the heart, is a prayer, is a worship of life, an appreciation of what I have and an empowerment to the good forces in the world.
No, I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to have an intention, a heartfelt thought and a genuine wish to make this world a better place.
My idea of the perfect world, a world of true justice, non violence, a world based on love and truth, equality and mutual support- I am praying for it every day of my life, and slowly but surely my world is changing too, into a better one, a more harmonious one, a non violent one.
Just like Gandhi said: Be the Change you want to see in the World.
I am beginning to understand the humble truth in it.
..to be continued.
Stories from the edge
Uta Verena is a Mother, a Yoga,-and Healing Practitioner, She deeply cares about Earth and is passionate about the restoration of inner and outer balance.