I deactivated my Facebook account back in January for 5 months. Let me tell you, I never expected people to freak out. The inability to tag me or share social media content meant I may as well have just wiped off the face of the earth. The disappointment was palpable. When asked for how long, my 5 month response was met with a mix of such admiration and shock that would be appropriate for an alcoholic in rehab. I mean, it felt like others were experiencing Facebook withdrawal on MY BEHALF. Not to mention, people are super nosy. I mean honestly, do people really think my whole life is what they see on Facebook? I CHOOSE what I want people to see on Facebook. By the way I am slightly aggravated that I am using the capital letter “F”. As if Facebook were its’ own entity. Pffft…
While I believe everyone should make an annual or semi-annual point to unplug, (and I do this regularly), there was a specific reason for my deactivation in early January.
Just a few weeks prior, Paris experienced a horrific terrorist attack. Facebook was flooded with love, call for prayer, and…idiots. While friends were posting updates about themselves or friends/family in Paris, others were trying to debase prayer. It was like an assault of “prayer is meaningless”, and, “if anyone else says to pray I’m going to rip on them until they never want to pray again”. There was so much HATE around prayer.
Prayer without action can be meaningless. But in no way does that mean that prayer should be tossed as a cop out. A beautiful friend and colleague Stephanie Landouer, admitted in a post one day that it took her over a month to post about the attacks. She wanted to give her family, loved ones, and fellow homeland her public prayers. But this very assault dissuaded her from doing so!
And then I saw the question- “Fine then. Tell me. HOW can prayer possibly help? HOW does prayer work?”
Here I will expose my weakness. My sheer inability to formulate into words, what it is that I know. I could FEEL how prayer manifests. But I lacked the ability to articulate. And so I signed off. Defeated for the moment. But on an open path to learn the words I needed to express my energetic response.
Prayer is a PRACTICE. Think about all the times you’ve said a prayer for something or someone. Chances are, you said it more than once. When you repeat the words/thought/intention, the prayer becomes a mantra. Over time, the mantra starts to show up on a cellular level, without you having to think back to that prayer specifically. I’ll give you an example. Say you’re in a confrontation. And rather than spewing back fire, you have this random thought to shock the other person with a giant hug. THAT is the mantra beginning to unfold and appear as a response, rather than your habitual reactions blindly leading the way . Once you begin to respond to this call, the mantra takes on a physical form.
Now I’m not saying we should all blindly hug every confrontational knife wielding hothead. (Although this world could DEFINITELY use far more hugs). [Check out the Free Hugs Project hugging guy video who offered free hugs at Trump rallies and Bernie rallies]. And I’m not one to use cliches or sugar coat anything really. I mean I do appreciate all of the inspirational quotes that have taken over social media. “Nobody can ruin your day except for you” (yeah and maybe the bee the stung me in my ASS). “Be positive. Be love. Be light” (yeah be sick is what I’m gonna be). “Everything happens for a reason”(don’t get me started on this one). Yes I still have issues. Clearly. But hear me out!
Think of the example I spoke of. When others witness or hear this transformation, it plants a seed. The more this particular seed is planted, the more growth can be SEEN. In the yoga practice, it is common to set an intention. The Sanskrit word for intention is Sankalpa. The simplest translation of Sankalpa is “a seed”.
I am also completely aware that people are left skeptical because, well, prayers can be pretty specific. And the more specific the prayer is, the more narrow your field of vision for result becomes. Take the example I gave. It doesn’t have to mean that the original prayer was “I want to be able to hug every single being no matter the circumstance”. No! The prayer could have started out as- “I want to find my peace”. Or. “I wish for world peace”. (Ok ladies and gentlemen I’ve reached my max in floweriness). But I know this is how prayer works. I spent the majority of my life struggling with faith and ultimately losing all of it. Hope was even more inaccessible. And I am still working on reconnecting with them. But it BEGINS with prayer. Even if you ARE skeptical at first. Even if you feel so incredibly awkward. Just shut up and pray.
The result(s) of said prayer(s) almost never unfold in the way we want or expect. The initial burst of a seed is a downward (the root) and outward and upward direction. ALL DIRECTIONS.
The existence of chaos does not render prayer meaningless. ESPECIALLY in the midst of chaos. Choose to plant the seed. Our expressions of any and all thoughts and actions will differ. This is what makes us unique. But that peace and love that dwells inside all of us is ONE AND THE SAME.
So get your ya-ya’s out, vent, shake it off, walk it off, talk it out. Whatever you need to do. All of that is necessary. But at the end of the day (or the beginning!), just shut up and pray.