In any religion or spiritual journey the lessons of quiet time to grow closer with yourself and the spirit in which you believe is of the utmost importance. I have found that some religions see another’s way or name of getting closer to their spirit as evil but really… it’s all the same. You sit in a comfortable position and quiet your mind until there is no distracting thoughts of the outside world. This is much like taking a spiritual vacation. All of your stress and worries subside while you are in prayer or meditation.
I am far from what you would call religious. I do not partake in any Christian or other conditioned religious views and gear my beliefs toward the Buddhist faith. Though it’s not a religion per say, it does have the same practice of finding your spiritual vacation and connecting with oneself and a higher being. In most religions that being is GOD. In Buddhism that being is enlightenment.
In faith prayer brings you a closer more intimate relationship with the big guy above regardless of how you address him, her or multiple versions. Often times, if not all, prayer is not only common but commanded. Yes it is said to open yourself to GOD and make yourself vulnerable in his eyes. Yes it is said it brings his word to you with ease. Yes it is said to let you get to know God. In all faiths, prayer is a way to ask GOD to purify us.
Suffering and desire are in fact realistic truths of the human condition from as early as infancy until our very last breath. As infants we may suffer in our primal needs. Our bodies suffer when we are hungry, wet, cold, or tired causing us to cry. As we grow and learn more of what the world has to offer the suffering and soon desire begin to grow. As we our suffering intensifies and desire aches within the condition continues to put a strain on us. With the reality of cruelty in the world, prayer is a relief as is meditation.
As humans we are always longing for what we don’t have believing it will make us happy. We don’t know GOD so we long to believe we will meet him upon our parting of the world. We don’t have enough money so we work harder to buy those clothes we want. We don’t have a new enough car so we grow jealous of our neighbors. We don’t have that millionaire lifestyle so we tell others we have not been given the same chances. The desires of the world and the hunger humans feel for what they don’t have is known only to our race. Animals do not crave these things, only desiring their basic needs be met. We could learn a lot from them.
At best, humanity is afraid and alone in their minds, often never feeling the connection we all hold. Prayer AND meditation can change that. In prayer we can gather in our sacred space to join others of the same faith and engage in this activity. In meditation you need not a sacred space but a quiet one instead. In this practice we learn more about ourselves, giving us hope for what lays beyond the world we live and suffering we endure.
These have both mental and physical benefits. While learning to discipline ourselves in these quiet moments we allow our mind time to rest. In these moments of silence, we are connected with others and more importantly ourselves. This diminishes the feeling of loneliness and brings about the reality of connectedness even if only while engaged in the activity. In this connection to ourselves and each other we find temporary peace and fulfillment. Through this our mental health and physical well-being grow. It is obvious that to be well physically, we need to be well mentally. If we are depressed, stressed, or overwhelmed, we will not feel well physically. I’m not saying prayer and meditation will take away illness but it will improve our overall well being.
With this said, I believe that whether we are religious or not, quiet time spent with ourselves free of the stress of the world, is time well spent. It will bring new understanding of the good in ourselves, the people around us, and our surroundings. It will bring us closer to whatever faith we hold, it will bring companionship with our fellow followers as well as ourselves, and it will ultimately improve our relationships around us as you learn to love and accept ourselves, flaws and all.
If you are not religious or simply not a believer of the All-Mighty, that does not exclude you. Meditation is common in Buddhism yes, but is practiced by those of all faiths as well as those of no faith. It’s a connection to oneself and those around us. It is the way to control your vulnerabilities to the human condition. It’s a way to rid yourself of the suffering that is undeniable world wide. In doing so the wicked need to gain the next best thing is silenced and peace with our lives grows. In prayer and meditation we learn that being at peace is much more valuable than anything we could ever buy. The truth is money does not buy happiness. With each new purchase a desire for something new pops up. Prayer or meditation can ease our desire to one up our neighbors.