Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.
— Simone Weil
I have been struggling for some time with the concept of prayer. What is prayer? To whom am I praying? What am I praying for? The program has given me several answers to these questions. The one that is most directly addressed is the last one. I am to pray for “knowledge of [my higher power's will] and the power to carry it out.” My sponsor says to “act as if.” I am told that I can “act my way into right thinking.” Just say the prayer, whether or not I “believe” it, and I will see results.
To whom am I praying? The God of my understanding. Ok, but… One of the people that I sponsor is struggling with this question. “What if I understand the ‘program' to be my higher power? How do I pray to the program?” In particular, “how do I ask my higher power to remove my shortcomings?” as Step 7 requires us to do. When this question was posed to me, I remembered the statement that “prayer doesn't change the world, prayer changes me.” I suggested that perhaps by praying removal of their shortcomings, that prayer would open up a new understanding, create a new receptivity to ideas suggested in the literature, or to a share by someone at a meeting. And that new insight or understanding could remove the internal blocks to change, leading to removal of the shortcoming.
But how to pray? What is prayer? Simone Weil suggests that the important thing about prayer is not the words that I use, it is not the posture I adopt, it is that I put my full attention, my full self, into the prayer. I focus only on the prayer and on my higher power. I give it my full attention. When I do that, I truly connect with my higher power within and without myself, and I set myself on the path to change.
A meditation for September 30, 2013.