Last month I learned my father has Alzheimer's. Instantly, I began to pray. It seemed the only solution. There was very little else I could do at 10 p.m. on a cold winter night.
My father left my mother for another woman when I was 5, just about to start school. Over the course of my life I would desire to get to know my father and for my father to get to know me. He had no interest in either of the above. My father just did not know how. All the years of therapy, meditation and dissolved relationships had run their course. It took so much time for my angst over not having a father to wind down. Now it is too late. I know that he loved me the best that he could. I remember asking him once, "Dad, do you remember when I was born?" His reply was, "Nope." I felt so sad. I realize now that the Alzheimer's had begun years before the actual diagnosis.
Now, I can only pray. Pray for him to find peace. Pray for me to find peace. Pray for his safety. Pray for the caregivers to have the strength and care to be at this side. Pray for a miracle. I do believe.
I have been studying A Course in Miracles since the late '70s. It guided me into myself and helped me move through many difficulties. I did not go to church as a child, so I had never heard the phrase, "God let us pray." Somehow, I had learned it on my own. It is often confusing to know what we can pray for. Somehow, I knew whom I was praying to. I knew I was protected and loved by a great source of light which appeared as the Divine Mother. God was not a word to me, instead it was a deep feeling of knowing.
God let us pray. This invitation is heard by millions of people every day. What I have realized through the years is that many people are confused as to how to pray. It is just assumed that we know how. Did you learn to pray as a child before you went to bed? These are the questions that I am often asked:
1. How do I pray?
2. What can I pray about?
3. Can I share my most personal thoughts, worries, desires?
I say have a conversation with your source. Prayer comes from the heart. God is called by many names. While praying use plain words and commit yourself fully. When you are humble and honest the effects of prayer are magical. We are all one people and we all pray for similar things. I think prayer is the asking and meditation is the receiving or the listening.
Prayer was not discussed in my family. I had a yearning from an early age. It was a native language that I seemed to have inside of me, waiting to be spoken. For my fourth Christmas I asked for a bible. Against my parents' approval, Santa did bring me a little pink bible that I still treasure. Later, I read books on mystics. I went to churches looking for the connection but I found it more in nature. I felt God in the earth, air, water and fire. The need for connection to a higher power lies deep in the hearts of all humans.
Some years ago, I began collecting holy relics of saints and found the veneration and prayer with the saints to enhance my sense of well-being. The relics are the remains of saints that devoted their entire lifetimes to virtuous spiritual practice dedicated to the welfare of others. Every part of a saint's body and remains carries positive energy to inspire goodness and reduce negativity. Many religious traditions venerate relics. Catholics and Buddhists honor their masters. Many native people would save the bones of their medicine people and mix them with water and drink them.
God let us pray. Kneel down. Your knees are important energy centers. When you kneel all the chakras open up to receive. That is why so many religions encourage kneeling. Try it. Mother Theresa once told me to just pray for others because Jesus knows our prayers. I think we can pray for anything we wish. There should be no rules for praying but do remember what you ask for... for you most likely will receive it.
The word altar means elevated. A place you can feel elevated out of your day-to-day life. I created an altar in my home. On a small table in the corner of the room where I see clients, I laid out a shawl that was given to me as a gift. On the shawl I have a painting of The Virgin Mother (source), a few holy cards, a candle (fire), a coin (earth), an incense holder, a feather (air) and a cup (water). It is a sacred place that I can go and kneel and give thanks and speak to source. I am often speaking to source and not always at my altar, but when I am there it seems to have more power.
As I pray for my father and his well-being, think of something you need or something you have been concerned about in your life. As soon as you open to a power greater than yourself, you begin to see results. If you think you have to do this all by yourself -- you have every reason to be afraid. If you realize you have the wings of an eagle with you, then you will no longer be afraid. Why not build yourself an altar? It is actually a fun and fulfilling activity. Find a quiet place in your home where you can build one. It can be very simple. If you have one already, add something special to it. Kneel down once a day and pray for what you thought about. Take some time and ask and listen. Your despair and worry will be replaced by a sense of peace and a sense of direction.
God bless you,