Re: MD Meditation/prayer

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Sun Apr 20 2003 - 17:38:13 BST

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    Hi Dan,

    Sorry this has taken a while to reply to, I've been away.

    > Well, I would say this is about right on the surface but I have to add
    > no one I know just falls into a meditation autonomously. A decision is
    > to meditate and steps are taken to expose oneself as it were to the sun. I
    > can understand prayer as being 'other-directed' and have read of the power
    > of prayer in healing, still I cannot help feeling somewhat skeptical of
    > action-at-a-distance. Yet I pray every morning and every night. So I
    > that's the faith tradition you speak of. I like to think of prayer and
    > meditation as the same at deeper levels since both involve maintaining a
    > profound silence while focusing on an image or a word or a sequence of
    > words. The silence itself betokes a sort of worship and praise, sure, but
    > undirected and purposeless. In other words, a person doesn't have to
    > in God to pray any more than they have to be a Buddhist to meditate,
    > culturally it certainly does seem to help.
    > Any thoughts?

    Indeed yes. I think that meditation is less culturally specific than prayer,
    or, perhaps better, meditation is commoner across cultures. Prayer seems to
    me to be much more tied in with 'cultic' aspects, deriving from 'praise' or
    'worship'. My point about autonomous meditation is actually what you say
    here - a decision is made, so it is under (some degree of) personal control.
    I suppose I can't get away from a sense that prayer involves falling to your
    knees in self-abnegation, and that doesn't seem to gel with the decision to
    meditate. It may simply be a question of degree - jumping in at the deep end
    as opposed to letting yourself in gradually.

    I'm not sure it's possible to pray without believing in God, but I think any
    discussion like this is rapidly mired in questions about language, and I
    don't think that's particularly fruitful.

    Liked the anecdote about the Minnesota Zen master.


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