Friday, June 17, 2011

The Lord's Prayer - a deeper look

Here are two of the most well known prayers of the Bible, known by many and recited by many, in some cases on a daily basis.

Matthew 6:9-13
"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."

And, the 23rd Psalm:

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever."

I question that either of these are fully understood to their true meaning. Memorizing, recitation and belief in them are no doubt common practices, but they are not the same as understanding what is being said.

The Lord's prayer: this is an appeal to God that says that we are to emulate the ways of heaven here on earth, through which action the Kingdom of God will come forth in us. It goes on to say that God will provide for us, and that we will be forgiven of our sins through our forgiveness of others for their sins. Finally, it asks for guidance to avoid sin and be strong in our convictions as we follow the law of God.

Psalm 23: This is a pure statement about faith, through the understanding that we need not try to provide for and protect ourselves. It states that God will watch over us and whatever it is we need will be provided as it is needed. The Psalm also says that fear itself is unnecessary because even under the shadow of death, we have nothing to fear.

Both of these prayers get across one big point that many people miss in their daily lives: Whatever it is that we need will be provided. Food, shelter, water, these are things that we do not need to seek out, fight for or die over as they will appear as needed. If something doesn't appear that we think we need, then for reasons unknown to us that is how it was meant to be and is purposeful to help us to find the Kingdom of God within ourselves.

Provisions from the universe:
We get very caught up in what we think we need in life, and what we want. We are specifically warned about this over, and over, and over in every scripture there is, Biblical or otherwise. Greed, lust, and gluttony all describe the same thing - wanting something that we do not already have, or trying to hold on to something that isn't really ours. Scriptures like these unagressively urge us to let go of our desire to obtain for ourselves (especially through force or harming another) and be patient and wait for the universe (GOD) to provide for us.

I know it may sound frightening and silly to wait for what you need to be provided, but I can assure you that it will. I can also assure you that if you are needlessly holding onto something that you cannot (or don't) use, it will be taken away or something else of "equal" value will be lost. If you aquire something by dishonest means, at some point you will lose something, possibly a value of 3x or more what you aquired dishonestly.

Many people, when things are taken from them (fire, theft, flood, etc) try to blame someone, consider it a tragedy, and hold themselves as victims. In most cases they are victims of nothing but their own intentions. I know that it can be hard to accept that if your home was destroyed in a flood that it is somehow your fault, but it is in fact the blameless movements of karma. Karma is like Newton's law - every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

If you do good, good is returned to you. If you cause harm, harm is caused to you. Karma is passive, patient, and faceless. It is a movement behind the curtain, through the fabric of space time and it's reach stretches beyond the cycle of death and birth to pass from lifetime to lifetime. Karma also impacts reincarnation, as the life you are born to was in part determined by the lives you've lived before.

These two prayers, and many others, are trying to tell us several very important facts about life and spirituality:

1. What you need will be provided when you need it.
- remember that what you think you need and what is necessary for you to grow are two completely different things

2. The Kingdom of God comes from within us when we grow enough spirituality to see it has been there all along.

3. There is nothing in life for us to fear, for nothing here in life can take us from God unless we let it.

4. One of most important things we can do is to forgive others and ourselves.

Sadly these four basic things are lost in religion, as religion teaches us to be afraid, that the kingdom of God is without rather than within, fosters vengence nearly as much as forgiveness, and (in form) puts emphasis on money and appearance.

If you're looking for truth, you must look within. You'll not find it in the faces of man or within the walls of any building. It has to come from inside you.

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