Seeking Answers to Prayer.
Posted on 15 May 2012, 20:50
Faced with threats to well-being, with hard decisions to be made, humankind has always sought guidance from the realm of Spirit. So many are the ways in which this is done! Through trance mediums, astrology, the I-Ching, and a multitude of other means of divination, soothsayers, fortunetellers, the Tarot, the teacups… whatever.
Perhaps the most usual is through meditation, asking questions in prayer and listening to the answers from a “still small voice.” This is what people have always done privately, or is small groups: but there is a wider context.
And this was certainly what Stephen emphasised during our eight years of conversations with him. He taught us this prayer: “Lord, let me forget that I am me, Let me know that I am with thee, Let me not separate myself from thee, Because I am me.” These words, I consider, should be in our minds when we think about the question of seeking guidance of Spirit.
It’s a fact that the all mantic devices such as astrology and the rest, assume the interconnectedness of all things. Quantum mechanics with Bell’s theorem affirms that all causes all else, denies local causation; similarly with the concept of quantum entanglement. We also have the words from Ephesians 4.4 about the God who “is in all, through all, and above all.”
It is also is the emphasis of the mystic. It is also the emphasis of the Lord’s Prayer: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
But can we go along with the idea that you and I are conscious participants in an indivisible Whole?… For what I have been saying adds up to that. I am talking against the idea that you and I are isolated individuals seeking guidance from a great Being “up there in the sky.” I know it sometimes seems that way, but it is our physical minds that are thinking like that. Our physical minds are for the use of our physical bodies as we put one foot in front of the other going about our daily tasks. Our spiritual selves, on the other hand, are potentially linked in with all that is. We begin to understand and to feel this when we relax into deep meditation, when we put to one side the busy chatter of physical mind and imagine ourselves standing at the seashore contemplating the limitless horizon, or standing in a lonely place at night feeling the limitlessness of the stars in space.
We understand this further when we experience a series of meaningful coincidences or synchronicities. In these cases we have the feeling of being on track in our lives, that things are happening in accordance with the will of a higher power; we have the feeling of the numinous or the holy, and “the holy” seems to entail a link to the Whole. Sometimes in prayer we invite one of these meaningful coincidences to occur: we ask a question and ask what some people call “The Library Angel” to refer us to a book, page, and line for the answer. In doing this I myself have made it my practice to type my question, so that I can be clear in my head what my question is, then I type down the book reference that I intuit, and only then go to the book and see if I have an answer. If other people were to agree that it is a proper answer, then I would gain further confidence in this as a way of praying for guidance.
Many people when they pray ask a question and listen for a still small voice, calmly giving help. But perhaps most often we simply think things through and think of the consequences of doing one thing or another.
When we receive answers through prayer, synchronicities, or perhaps dreams, we can be puzzled as to where they come from. If we have Googled a question on the internet, we can be equally unable to pinpoint the origin of the near instantaneous answers. In this case it is because the answer resides in a multitude of computers throughout the world. Similarly in the case of the world of spirit, the answer may reside in the minds of many.
As with the Internet you may have an individual friend overseas who e-mails you an answer, so also in the spiritual realm it is possible that a friendly spirit (call that a guardian angel if you will) may suggest the answer to you.
In the case of complicated synchronistic happenings, I suspect that a group of us at a higher level of spirit, unknown to our physical selves, have got together to bring about the occurrences that so fill us with awe.
Seeking guidance in prayer should not always be a solitary occupation, for sometimes we pray with the physical mind rather than with the spirit. We need to check the guidance we receive by inviting others to ask the same question also in prayer. I have called this process “check receiving”. Similarly when a meaningful coincidence happens, it is good to check receive about it to be more sure about the importance of the coincidence. You ask a friend to check receive also. The more trustworthy people there are who are in this with you, the more reliable will be the guidance that you receive. (Perhaps I need to repeat that we will often choose to use physical thinking to solve problems relating to the physical. We especially need to use prayer in matters concerning our relationships to others, and of course to God – however we may use that term.)
Tom Ashman, medium for Stephen the Martyr. 1976
A major source of clear and helpful receiving is what comes from communications from the afterlife through the best of the world’s mediums. We do need to discriminate of course, but there is a huge literature containing communications from the so-called dead seeming to give us reliable insights as to the nature of things when we pass over. Often we gain insights into how much the so-called dead can care for the living, and how much it is appreciated when the living pray lovingly of the dead. Those who talked over the eight years with Stephen the Martyr, in the New Zealand group, were also given many such insights. But the emphasis in our case was on the quality of our spiritual lives. What we gain from the best mediums is of enormous importance, but so also is the quality of our spiritual lives.
A number of people read the teachings of Stephen every day and speak gratefully offer help he gives. We who talked of Stephen also received tremendous help, although probably all of us have painful memories of failure to live up to the wholeness of life that he put before us. While we were thankful for Communications from the world of spirit, we needed to strive to live up to what we have been taught.
Stephen was to emphasise that the most important receiving from the world of spirit is The Present Moment. We could say that the present moment that we are now experiencing is the outcome of countless trillions of interactions in this world over thousands of millions of years. As God is in all, through all, and above all, then “he” is communicating quite openly, loudly and clearly, in this and every present moment. Sub specie Aeternitatis,- In the eye of eternity: what is our answer, how do we respond to each successive present moment? - Yes, we need to be spontaneous, we need to have fun, we need to get on with the job, yet, all the same, how do we respond to that Voice in the here and now?
The here and now consists of our every interaction with life in all its facets. Responding to that Voice is more than receiving guidance how to do this or that: it lies in letting life’s experiences bring us to ever deepening awareness that we “are children of God, and inheritants of the Kingdom of Heaven” as the Anglican catechism puts it, or that “we are conscious participants in the universe” that has creative love at its source.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.
Next blog, May 29