During "dark times" humans inevitably turn to a higher force, seeking solutions, answers and/or intercession. Whether one turns to "God", their "higher self", a "guru", an "angel", or even a relative or friend who's passed on, the act of consciously becoming aware of the "now", taking a moment for contemplation and introspection, is an invaluable tool to clear the mind and relax the body. AngelGroup recommends that whatever method, diety or higher source you seek, please make the time to actually include this in your day. The benefits will be immediate.
You do not have to be a Christian to Pray. You do not need to be a Buddhist to Chant. Both of these practices assist us in "remebering" our connection to our creator, our higher selves, our earth and each other. When taking a moment each day to redirect the "static", we canmodify our perspective, mood, approach and focus... in alignment with the univesal energies, rather than trying to swim upstream.
First, what is prayer? Prayer is not necessarily the same for everyone, but generally speaking, it is a means of communication with our heavenly Father; both talking and listening. It can be done alone or among a group of people. It can be spoken or even sang aloud, or thought inside one's head. Sometimes no words are necessary at all, but rather it is a period of meditative thought and time spent between God and an individual.
Perhaps it is this meditative process that gives prayer one of its most outstanding benefits. Prayer is healing. Studies have actually shown that those who pray are physically and emotionally healthier than those who do not. Those who suffer depression, anxiety, and even terminal illnesses often have a quicker healing time, and more successful survival rate.
Prayer impacts our spiritual practice at three levels, namely Action, Thought and Attitude.
"Prayer is one of the greatest and most excellent means of nourishing the new nature, and of causing the soul to flourish and prosper."
Buddhism teaches that a universal Law (dharma) underlies everything in the universe. This is the very essence of life. One could also think of it as the fundamental rhythm of life and the universe.
A 12'th century monk (Nichiren Daishonin,) identified this Law or essence as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. He taught that by correctly carrying out the practice of Buddhism everyone is able to bring their individual life into harmony with the greater life of the universe.
Imagine a reservoir of the best qualities that life has to offer. And imagine this reservoir deep in your own life, and of an enormous, unimaginable volume. What will you find there? You will find the necessary ingredients to experience joy, happiness and good fortune here and now.
First, you will find wisdom - the wisdom to deal with every situation you could ever possibly have to confront. This is more than knowledge, or learning; it's the creative wisdom to resolve fundamental issues that affect your life. Then you will find the courage that you need to take the action to make your life move forward. No matter what obstacles may appear to be holding you back, the courage in your life will enable you to surpass them. No matter how fearful, insignificant or cowardly you may feel now, there is more than enough courage in this reservoir to make you wonder why you waited so long before moving forward.
Also you will find an enormous supply of compassion that will ensure that every action you take will be for the good not only of yourself, but also for the good of the world at large. There will be a store of energy, or life-force; as much as you need to achieve whatever you wish for your life. This creative, dynamic energy combined with the courage, compassion and wisdom outlined above means that you can really take control of your life and fulfil your greatest dreams.
Is all this a fantasy? Buddhism teaches that we all have this reservoir. Perhaps we are aware that those qualities trickle out to some extent, but how often have we found that the trickle dries up when we really need it?
Chanting these words:
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
(literally translated: I devote myself to the mystic law of cause and effect through sound and teaching).
- Nam = Devotion. It's an action word; the act of praising our potential will make it emerge.
- Myoho = Mystic Law, expressing the relationship between life inherent in the universe and the many different ways this life expresses itself.
- Renge = Lotus Flower. The lotus flower grows and blooms in a muddy pond, and yet remains pristine and free from any defilement, symbolizing the emergence of Buddhahood from within the life of an ordinary person. The lotus flower blooms and seeds at the same time, thus also signifying the simultaneity of cause and effect; the interconnectedness of all phenomena; and how our prayer or the sound of our chanting can affect people and situations out of our immediate sphere.
- Kyo = Teaching; the vibration of our voice which is so important.
By chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo we create a powerful cause in our own lives to bring out our inherent Buddha Nature, and change our karma.
Take a moment to listen to Tina Turner doing a more expanded version of the Chant.