Here are common inquiries concerning prayer—how does it work? We may send prayers, supposedly to a transcendent god, but how do such messages get there? Are there carriers? Does anyone hear? If so, how do he/she/it answer? And in what language? Are we really talking to our deeper selves in a form of inner dialogue? Trapped within our own psychology?
If we are able to escape the confines of our own personalities, do our prayers actually influence the situation? If another person has requested prayers, how are they helped? Or is it just one unending mystery about which little is actually known and, as such, resistant to understanding and conversation? Maybe, it is all a matter of faith and outside our domain of discussion? If that is true, how can we possibly learn the skills sets of prayer?
Many other questions arise, and maybe honest questions themselves are a form of larger communication. Let’s respond to the questions with a proposal and a story.
First, the proposal. Prayer can be thought of as a linking to a larger perspective in a living Universe propelled by a vast intelligence leading us to greater intimacy. The linking in prayer is completely necessary and may be discovered through common connections within our eco-fields.
Now, for the story.
For three weeks now a tufted titmouse has been pecking on a window near where Judith and I eat our meals. This little bird is sparrow-sized and about six inches from the tip of the cute tuft perched on its head to its tail. Gray above and gray/white underneath, it is scrawny and appears young. The usual range of the common , black crested titmouse is in swampy or moist woodlands, so our semi-desert Hill Country does not fit such an eco-field. We are neither swampy or moist. My guy is definitely not black crested.
As I look at my feathered friend, I observe he looks more like a juniper titmouse, gray all over and no black markings. Trouble is, we are not in juniper titmouse natural range. Frustrated, I pause for a moment to take stock of myself.In my books I have taken issue with Aristotle for his obsession with classifying and identifying different species and likely obscuring the soul, yet here I am engaged in a similar pursuit. I imagine that I can gain some control over the situation if I know who my visitor is and what his behaviors are. By now in the story, the bird has been pecking on the window near our dining area for a week, including first light in the morning. I wake up to the tap-tap-tap, and I can’t seem to discourage him. At first I was inspired by his presence, but now he is an annoyance.
Ten days into the experience, I have exhausted internet sources with little success in gaining knowledge of behaviors. Then, Judith finds a reference in a field guide to birds published in 1960, one we have carried with us for over 40 years. This book identifies my visitor as a plain titmouse frequently reported in my area. Likely, the account says, my annoying friend is just a plain old titmouse. Plain, you say! This experience thus far is annoying but not plain by any stretch of the imagination. Sadly, acquiring these data gives me no peace.
But still I search.
The pecking behavior is not terribly uncommon and has a common-sense, 20th Century science explanation. Titmice, cardinals, and robins are territorial birds. When our tiny titmouse sees a reflection of himself in the window, it perceives an intruder into its eco-field that might be a competitor for breeding or feeding. So when he gets close enough to the window to see his own reflection, he interprets the images as an intruder and pecks at the window to chase the intruder away. That explanation makes sense but my experience is much larger than that deduction and reduction.
Why I am going to all this trouble to identify this bird? How does it relate to prayer? At this point, it is not clear to me. But nearing the end of the second week of tapping, it slowly dawns on me that the behavior of the bird is somehow connected to the prayers Judith and I engage in each early morning just a few feet from where he likes to perch and, shall I say, drum. Or maybe, just tapping.
Twenty-five years ago I trained with Roger Callahan, creator of a tapping technique called thought field therapy. A fellow student, Gary Craig, refined this approach and called it Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). At the time that Gary made his refinement, I suggested the title Energy Free Tapping because the tapping of certain meridian points on the body freed energy from the field to flow freely through the field, including humans and other creatures in the field. This free flow of energy linked aspects of the field in such a way that a greater wholeness emerged. Healing, if you will. Slow learner that I am from time-to-time, it was dawning on me that the tapping of my visitor was there to allow energy to flow freely through Judith and me in response to our singing, chanting, drumming, and burning of herbs. In service of healing? And was the tapping titmouse the larger Whole responding to our utterances in a very sensual, immediate way?
Resistance To Natural Flow
Still, I could not resist the impulse to control the situation because of the sleep deprivation. I covered the inside of the window with a blanket to reduce the reflection, and he no longer was pecking. At first I was relieved, but then I felt a loss.
Listening to my inner core I had known all along that the eco-field was responding to my utterances, prayer if you will. Yet, here I was sabotaging the possibility of a message coming through the field. I was covering over the possibility of flow and new information. I found myself laughing at this human tendency to constrict the very flow of quantum energy that carries packets of information from the fields that are part of this conversation I am calling prayer.
Revisiting the Proposal
Let’s expand my proposal. Assume that quantum prayer connects us to the web of fields all around us. Further, consider that the larger system of fields includes a matrix of eco-fields and that the eco-fields consist of interlaced communications between all aspects of the fields. The rocks birth the soil; the soil, the grass; the insects, the birds; the birds, the foxes and predators, including humans, and so on. This mutual birthing includes a field-centered epistemology or, to be more precise, a knowing field. Then, let’s stretch ourselves to think that this matrix of fields is suffused with an intelligence, an intelligence that has a vested interest in the evolutionary impulse.
Recall an earlier blog where I quote mathematical cosmologist, Bryan Swimme, that describes the direction of an evolutionary Universe as moving toward every aspect knowing every other aspect in its depths. In other words, everything in the Universe is moving toward greater and greater intimacy.
If this proposal has even a modicum of truth in it, then the matrix of eco-fields all around me where I live has a vested interest in my unfolding awareness, connectivity, and compassion. Why? Because that is the direction of the Universe.
In such a scenario my impulse and practice of connecting and opening myself are communications from myself to the larger fields. The question becomes, then, does the matrix of fields speak back to me,providing me with packets of information. That’s what intimacy is, isn’t it? The exchange of authentic information. Sadly, I had walled off my side of the conduit. And we explore those blocked conduits and moving beyond them in the next post.