One definition of stress goes like this: “Stress is a perceived disconnection from our divine source.” Some call this a “bad hair day” while others (with more stress) call it “The day from hell.” Indeed, in times of stress we can feel like we have been abandoned, even punished by God (even by those who claim not to believe in one). Prayer is not only the recognition that we are part of something much bigger out there (whatever you choose to call it), but a desire to be in alignment with this divine source. Prayers come in many styles (e.g., requests, gratitude, call for help, etc.) and today there is much research on the topic. In the words of Carl Jung, “Called or not, the gods are here.” The wisdom keepers the world over, remind us that we are NEVER alone. Spiritual assistance is only a thought and a prayer away. However to this we must add, when your prayers aren’t answered, it wasn’t that they weren’t heard… it’s just that the answer was NO! And one must also be reminded of this sage advice: Be careful what you ask for… you just might get it! First and foremost, prayer is an intention. As children we learn to recite prayers but prayers are more than just words, they are words with emotion. Prayer is considered by many to be a very effective coping technique for stress.
• Stress Tip for the Day:
Author Sophy Burnham (A Book of Angels) suggests that prayer, to be most effective, be done in much the same way that mental imagery be done: Speak in the present tense, speak from a positive perspective, join your intentions with a feeling of love (not fear), detatch from the outcome and end with a word of gratitude.
• Books Worth Noting:
There are many books on prayer today, but my favorite is the classic work, Healing Words by Larry Dossey. As a side note, Herbert Benson and colleagues’ study on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of prayer may have gained lots of attention (even a cover story in Newsweek or Time) but the study was so fatally flawed it is considered a travesty by researchers.
• Photo of the Day:
There is an expression that says when you sing, you pray twice. I don’t sing when I see mountains like these, but I am filled with awe and silent praise, a whole other kind of prayer. The Tetons are amazing and this photo was taken last summer on an early morning walk. Enjoy!
• Quote for the Day:
“In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.