There is mounting scientific concern regarding the mainstream media only touting studies that found benefits of mindfulness and not reporting on studies that found negative results from the practice. Some studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can actually backfire on people as they focus intently on the moment and leave their thoughts behind, including the positive ones.
It can also lead people to disconnect rather than focus and engage in critical thinking on problems that require more thinking and not less.
This research led to more alarming findings about the negative effects of mindfulness, which then led me to put this information into a book in order to provide a more complete picture of this practice than what people are getting from proponents. There are several reasons why people are being drawn to it. Second, I see the need to escape from the pressures of modern life as another reason why people are so drawn to Eastern meditation practices. These practices induce altered states of consciousness through the use of techniques designed to empty or manage the mind.
This gives people a false reprieve from their worries. Of course this is appealing! In Christian prayer, they may have to confront their problems, but they are doing so with Someone who can actually solve those problems. In Eastern meditation, the only option is momentary escape.
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Third, with respect to psychologists and others promoting the practice, there is much money to be made through psychospiritual fads like mindfulness. If one is living in the present moment in the presence of God, there is no need for a Buddhist practice like mindfulness. These Christian practices far surpass these merely human-based methods and actually draw us into the presence of God, where we can find authentic peace and healing.
Instead of a momentary escape from anxiety, the Christian alternative offers a real solution to anxiety and a permanent transformation. One practice is a quick fix; the other is a long-term opportunity for exponential personal growth toward the ultimate goal of our existence here on Earth — union with God. By the time we reach this summit of union with him here on Earth, we will have been completely transformed into a totally new creation — not just an improvement of the old.
When we are united with our Creator, we will finally become who we were meant to be from the beginning of time. This is a grace that surpasses all understanding. Well-intended people pursue means that make them feel good all the time, but these means can be deeply spiritually damaging.
In this approach, the purpose of prayer is to enable the person praying to gain a direct experience of the recipient of the prayer or as close to direct as a specific theology permits.
This approach is very significant in Christianity and widespread in Judaism although less popular theologically. In Eastern Orthodoxy , this approach is known as hesychasm. It is also widespread in Sufi Islam, and in some forms of mysticism. It has some similarities with the rationalist approach, since it can also involve contemplation , although the contemplation is not generally viewed as being as rational or intellectual.
Christian and Roman Catholic traditions also include an experiential approach to prayer within the practice of Lectio Divina , historically a Benedictine practice in which scripture is read aloud; actively meditated upon using the intellect but not analysis possibly using the mind to place the listener within a relationship or dialogue with the text that was read; a prayer spoken; and finally concludes with contemplation , a more passive experiential approach than the previous meditation, which is characterized by the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an experience of consciously being attentive, and having a silent love toward God, which the individual experiences without demanding to receive an experience.
The notion of "religious experience" can be traced back to William James , who used a term called "religious experience" in his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience. In the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, several historical figures put forth very influential views that religion and its beliefs can be grounded in experience itself. While Kant held that moral experience justified religious beliefs , John Wesley in addition to stressing individual moral exertion thought that the religious experiences in the Methodist movement paralleling the Romantic Movement were foundational to religious commitment as a way of life.
Wayne Proudfoot traces the roots of the notion of "religious experience" to the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher — , who argued that religion is based on a feeling of the infinite. The notion of "religious experience" was used by Schleiermacher and Albert Ritschl to defend religion against the growing scientific and secular critique, and defend the view that human moral and religious experience justifies religious beliefs. The notion of "religious experience" was adopted by many scholars of religion, of whom William James was the most influential.
The notion of "experience" has been criticised. Standardized prayer such as is done today is non-existent, although beginning in Deuteronomy , the Bible lays the groundwork for organized prayer, including basic liturgical guidelines, and by the Bible's later books, prayer has evolved to a more standardized form, although still radically different from the form practiced by modern Jews.
Individual prayer is described by the Tanakh two ways. The first of these is when prayer is described as occurring, and a result is achieved, but no further information regarding a person's prayer is given. In these instances, such as with Isaac ,  Moses ,  Samuel ,  and Job ,  the act of praying is a method of changing a situation for the better.
The second way in which prayer is depicted is through fully fleshed out episodes of prayer, where a person's prayer is related in full. Many famous biblical personalities have such a prayer, including every major character from Hannah to Hezekiah. In the New Testament prayer is presented as a positive command Colossians ; 1 Thessalonians The People of God are challenged to include Christian prayer in their everyday life, even in the busy struggles of marriage 1 Corinthians as it brings people closer to God.
Jesus encouraged his disciples to pray in secret in their private rooms, using the Lord's Prayer , as a humble response to the prayer of the Pharisees , whose practices in prayer were regarded as impious by the New Testament writers Matthew Throughout the New Testament , prayer is shown to be God's appointed method by which we obtain what He has to bestow Matthew —11 ; Matthew —29 ; Luke Further, the Book of James says that the lack of blessings in life results from a failure to pray James Jesus healed through prayer and expected his followers to do so also Mark —18 ; Matthew Observant Jews pray three times a day, Shacharit , Mincha , and Ma'ariv with lengthier prayers on special days, such as the Shabbat and Jewish holidays including Musaf and the reading of the Torah.
The siddur is the prayerbook used by Jews all over the world, containing a set order of daily prayers. Jewish prayer is usually described as having two aspects: kavanah intention and keva the ritualistic, structured elements. Communal prayer is preferred over solitary prayer, and a quorum of ten adult males a minyan is considered by Orthodox Judaism a prerequisite for several communal prayers.
There are also many other ritualistic prayers a Jew performs during their day, such as washing before eating bread, washing after one wakes up in the morning, and doing grace after meals. In this view, the ultimate goal of prayer is to help train a person to focus on divinity through philosophy and intellectual contemplation.
This approach was taken by Maimonides and the other medieval rationalists.
He notes that the word "prayer" is a derivative of the Latin "precari", which means "to beg". Kabbalah uses a series of kavanot , directions of intent, to specify the path the prayer ascends in the dialog with God, to increase its chances of being answered favorably. Kabbalists ascribe a higher meaning to the purpose of prayer, which is no less than affecting the very fabric of reality itself, restructuring and repairing the universe in a real fashion.
In this view, every word of every prayer, and indeed, even every letter of every word, has a precise meaning and a precise effect. Prayers thus literally affect the mystical forces of the universe, and repair the fabric of creation. Christian prayers are quite varied. They can be completely spontaneous, or read entirely from a text, like the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
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The most common prayer among Christians is the Lord's Prayer , which according to the gospel accounts e. Matthew —13 is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Christians generally pray to God or to the Father. Some Christians e. The Jesus Prayer is also often repeated as part of the meditative hesychasm practice in Eastern Christianity.
Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation which do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins of others, e. Other forms of prayer among Catholics would be meditative prayer, contemplative prayer and infused prayer discussed at length by Catholic Saints St. John of the Cross and St.
Theresa of Jesus. In Pentecostal congregations, prayer is often accompanied by speaking in an unknown tongue, a practice now known as glossolalia. George Barton Cutten suggested that glossolalia was a sign of mental illness. Christian Science teaches that prayer is a spiritualization of thought or an understanding of God and of the nature of the underlying spiritual creation. Adherents believe that this can result in healing, by bringing spiritual reality into clearer focus in the human scene.
The world as it appears to the senses is regarded as a distorted version of the world of spiritual ideas. Prayer can heal the distortion. Christian Scientists believe that prayer does not change the spiritual creation but gives a clearer view of it, and the result appears in the human scene as healing: the human picture adjusts to coincide more nearly with the divine reality. Prayer works through love : the recognition of God's creation as spiritual, intact, and inherently lovable.
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The Arabic word for prayer is salah. In Islam, there are five daily obligatory prayers that are considered as one of the pillars of the religion. The command to ritual prayer occurs repeatedly in the Quran. The prayer is performed by the person while they are facing the Kaaba in Mecca. There is the "call for prayer" adhan , where the muezzin calls for all the followers to stand together for the prayer.
During the prayer, a Muslim cannot talk or do anything else besides pray. Once the prayer is complete, one can offer personal prayers or supplications to God for their needs that are known as dua.
There are many standard invocations in Arabic to be recited at various times e. Muslims may also say dua in their own words and languages for any issue they wish to communicate with God in the hope that God will answer their prayers. The believers have been enjoined to face in the direction of the Qiblih when reciting their Obligatory Prayer.
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