Prayerfulness is not the replacer of prayer, but its reinforcer
Some people say, “Prayer is a state of being – it’s not something that you do; it’s something that you are.”
Actually, this state refers not so much to prayer as to prayerfulness, an inner attitude of absorption in God. Certainly such prayerfulness is a spiritually evolved state of consciousness that we all should aspire for. But we can’t actualize this aspiration merely by imagining that we have it – we need to cultivate it by consciously engaging in appropriate activities.
Consider, for example, how people become absorbed in cricket – by watching cricket, playing cricket, reading cricket, talking cricket, dreaming cricket. Thus, repeated intentional engagement in a thing engenders constant absorption in it. We need to strive similarly for absorbing ourselves in him, all the more so because he is not perceivable at the material level of reality where our consciousness is at present.
To spiritually stimulate our consciousness, we need to conscientiously engage in activities such as praying that invoke God’s presence. And we need to go to places such as temples where his presence is more easily perceivable. When we thus regularly bask our consciousness in his presence, our connection with him deepens, and eventually his presence permeates our entire being.
Significantly, the Bhagavad-gita (09.14) states that advanced spiritualists strive to engage constantly in devotional activities such as kirtan (a collective prayer). This indicates that even the spiritually evolved engage in prayer – not because they need to, but because they love to. Just as we naturally express externally any emotion that strongly animates us internally, so do advanced spiritualists naturally express their devotion. And this outer expression subsumes their senses in an experience of God, thereby intensifying their inner absorption. Thus prayerfulness, far from replacing prayer, reinforces it.
By tapping the symbiotic relationship between prayerfulness and prayer, we can enter into ever-intensifying divine absorption.
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