Monday, 28 August 2017 23:11

Why do people pray?

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The other day, a friend with medical issues asked to pray for him. I was taken aback for I had not prayed for as long as I can remember. I talk about God and religion but do so from the intellectual level not from a practicing religious person's level. Thus, when asked to pray for a person I really did not know what that meant and how to pray.

My only recollection of praying was before I became agnostic (age fourteen). So, I asked me: why do people pray and how do they pray?

I thought about my question. I simply held that question in mind for a while. I have this capacity to think only about what I want to think about and put all other subjects competing for my attention on the back burner. So why do people pray?

THE SEPARATED EGO NEEDS TO HUMBLE ITSELF BY PRAYING TO A HIGHER POWER

Here is my answer to the question: why do people pray? Each human being lives in body with a separated self-concept, an ego self.

The ego is a self that sees itself as the most powerful person in the universe (this may be conscious in the individual or hidden in his unconscious mind).

The ego is the belief that one is more powerful than the universe. The ego is the spirit that separated from God and sees itself as apart from the rest of the universe. The ego is the self that feels that it is in charge of its life; the ego is wish that one is on one's own and is not controlled by any force outside one.

THE ORIGIN OF THE EGO IN SEPARATION FROM GOD

The ego came into being when the son of God, you and I, attacked God and each other; the son of God (us) literally meant to kill his father and usurp his creatorship throne and create himself.

The ego is that aspect of people that want to feel that it created itself, created other people and created the entire universe and created God.

The ego is the individual's quest for power; it is a response to the question: who created you, you or God? The ego says that you created you.

The ego is the son of God who denied that God created him and now see himself as self-created, and not only that but sees himself as the creator of God, creator of the whole. The ego sees itself as the author of the universe.

God created his son. The son of God did not like the fact that God created him. He wanted to reverse the role and create God and create his self.  The ego is the wish to create God and the universe; that wish led the son of God to wish to separate from God and now to seem to have separated from his father.

The son of God could not actually separate from his father. He is still in his father. But in his current awareness he tuned out the fact that he is eternally in his father; as it were, he replaced that truth with the dream in which he sees a physical universe that he made.

As we speak, scientists study the physical universe and see people as its victims; they believe that the universe shaped people. What they really want to do is understand the universe and thereafter convince themselves that they created the universe and are thus the master of the universe; failing which they destroy the universe (destroy their invention).

Each person on earth is identified with the spirit of the ego, the spirit of separation from God and the spirit that wants to be powerful and create his self.

Upon birth on earth the first order of business is for the human child to invent a self-concept and self-image for his self. Each of us, building on his body and social experience, created his self-concept and transformed it into a self-image.

Each of us, in collaboration with all of us, constructed a separated self-concept for him.  The self-concept tells one that one is apart from other people and from God.  One sees one's self as powerful and at war with the rest of the universe and at war with reality. The individual has a swollen ego self-concept.

PRAYING IS A MEANS OF HUMBLING THE EGO SELF CONCEPT

Praying is a means of reducing the individual's swollen self-concept, his ego. If you pray what you are doing is accepting the existence of a higher power and bowing to it and asking it to help you, to guide you.

In praying, however, you still have your separated self-housed in body but now use it to ask God to guide and protect you. Your wish is still to be more powerful than God but you realize that in our world your body is fragile and can be snuffed out by many natural forces, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, draughts, floods, diseases and by other people; in our world you know that you can be destroyed at any moment by nature and people and wishing to live you ask God to protect you.

As long as you pray you, more or less, reduce your swollen ego to normal proportion; you still have an ego but that ego acknowledges the existence of a higher power (you accommodate some reality).

WHERE THERE IS EGO THERE MUST BE FEAR

You are in ego when you feel fear. Fear is the symbol of your self-reliance. In fear you perceive attacks by the things in the environment out to snuff out your ego life and you fear and run and go take measures to protect your separated existence.

If you are in fear you feel separated from the whole, from God, you feel alone in the universe. In God, in love you feel as if you are a part of the whole and know that nothing is outside you and therefore nothing can harm you and you do not feel fear.

In God you do not feel fear.  In love you do not feel fear, for God is love. Everything is in God, you included. If you are in God, in everything then nothing is outside you to harm or kill you. In God you feel safe, eternal and cannot feel fear.

THE HINDU FIVE YOGAS AND PRAYING

Hinduism says that people's real self is parts of God, called Brahman. The children of God (called Atman) separated from God. In separation people formed replacement selves, egos (called Ahankara).

Patanjali's Yoga divides people into five basic types: Bhakta, Jnana, Karma, Tantra, and Raja.  It calls Raja Yoga the royal road to God.

In raja yoga the person meditates and in meditation lets go of his ego entirely. In meditation you deny that anything that your ego mind construes as true is true and accepts ignorance. In meditation you deny the jabbering of physical scientists that what they discover is the truth; you deny that whatever you think of you, think of other people and think of the world is true. In meditation you accept that by yourself you cannot know the truth.

In meditation you deny the reality of the physical universe and ask to be shown a different universe.  You stay quiet until a force different from your ego shows you the truth that is not your ego and its physical world.

If you attain a state of no ego self and no ego thinking and remain silent for one hour Raja Yoga says that you will escape from our world and experience other worlds.

First, you will experience the world of light forms (which Hinduism calls the astral world); in it you see a world that looks like our world but everything in it is in light forms.

Ultimately, you escape into the formless world of God where there is no you and I, no seer and seen, no subject and subject; where there is only one self, God; that one self is simultaneously infinite selves (all of us).

The other four yogas do not negate the ego but uses the ego to live in this world; therefore, the other four yogas require you to still pray to God. You retain your ego and humble it by using it to ask God to guide you.

In raja yoga you voluntarily give up your ego, you extinguish your ego self and have no ego-self at all. When you voluntarily destroy your ego self-concept you are now on the royal road to returning to God; raja yoga enables you to return to God.

The other yogas enable you to keep your ego hence stay in this world but refine that ego. In Bhakta yoga you keep your ego and use it to worship God; in Jnana yoga you keep your ego and use it to think about God; in Tantra yoga you retain your ego and use it to love other egos in bodies; in karma yoga you retain your ego and use it to work for the welfare of all other egos.

As long as you are in ego you must pray to God, Hinduism says; if you do not use your ego to pray to God you would not humble it and your ego may become grandiose, too swollen and you become psychotic.

Many white Americans and Europeans are currently becoming psychotic; they deny God and retain their egos and do science and in the discoveries of science fancy that they are powerful; they are increasingly becoming mad and or addicted to drugs and to nature defiant sex, such as homosexuality. These people are on the path of self-destruction; that is how advanced civilizations self-destroy and primitive ones take over.

Replacement primitive civilizations, in time, also become narcissistic and also self-destroy. The solution is to return to God, return to love, return to the state of union and end separation

The person who asked me to pray for him, psychologically speaking, has narcissistic personality disorder. He retains his ego and kind of thinks that he is special and admirable. He wants the entire world to admire his ego and body. He is always telling me how other people tell him that he is very spiritually advanced. He says that people ask him: who are you? Are you spirit or what?

This person admires his ego and body and wants other people to admire his ego and body; that is, this person wants to remain in separated state.  He is living in ego and, as such, is living in fear. Raise your voice at him and he feels threatened and run to go protect his ego and body. He lives in fear.

When a person gives up identification with ego and body he or she would reduce fear and, ultimately, eliminate fear altogether.

If a person exhibits fear you know that he is in ego state; he feels separated from God and wants to seem powerful; he wants to seem more powerful than his creator (that is the illusion of this world).

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRAYING AND MEDITATION

In praying you talk to God and ask him to help you; in meditation you shut up and listen to God and hear God's responses to your prayers. If you silence your mind and do not tell God what is the right response to your questions you will hear him tell you what he wants you to do.

God wants you to return to being the self he created, your real self; your real self, as God created him, is formless and is part of God and all his creation; God asks you to love all people to love your whole self.

CONCLUSION

As long as you live in ego, what ninety nine percent of humanity does, it is recommended that you use that ego to pray to a higher power, God.

Praying is you talking to God. You must also listen to God. In meditation you stop talking to God and stop telling him what to do and listen to him. In meditation you make your mind silent so that you may hear what God is trying telling you.

God tells you that he is love and that all his creation is love and that you must love all people.  Do so and live in peace.

If it is your time to let go of your ego entirely (each of us chose when to let go of his ego and reawaken to God before he was born on earth, before he entered the dream of separation) then you let go of the ego and experience oneness with God (and know eternity and perfect peace).

At present only a couple of people on earth have experienced God; the rest are in ego states. Thus, you must use your ego to pray to God so as not to have a grandiose, psychotic ego.

Since I am still in ego state I must pray. Since I have forgotten how to pray I must learn to pray for the person who asked me to pray for him.

I start by relearning the "Our Lord's Prayer' that in childhood, as a Christian, I learned.

ADDENDUM

WE LEARN FROM EVERY SITUATION THAT WE ARE IN; NO SITUATION IS RANDOM!

A couple of years ago I moved into an apartment. Right from the very first night there I heard weird sounds in the apartment. It seemed like someone was running by the walls in the bedroom and the walls in the living room. I had never had such experience before. I saw the cause as physical, may be, due to the pipe system in the walls; may be, the hot water pipes have water running through them that generates that irritating sound.

My girlfriend, she had moved in with me, suggested that the sounds could be those of ghosts.  In the past, I had not given ghosts serious thought. I am agnostic and did not believe in all the weird tales about apparitions, ghosts and hunted houses that we see on television.

Apparently, despite my conscious skepticism, at the unconscious level I believed that ghosts can harm me. Thus, I began having dreams where an unknown and unseen force is trying to choke me to death and I would struggle with it, kick it and tell it to get away from me.

My action speaks louder than my words. My action, fighting the presumed ghosts, spoke that I believed in ghosts who could harm me even though at the conscious level I did not really believe in ghosts.

I thought about the situation and realized that it is my mind that interpreted the sounds as those of ghosts. My mind also accepted that ghosts exist and can harm me hence the nightmarish dreams. So, I asked: suppose I did not attribute the weird sounds to ghosts but to mere physical phenomenon what would happen?

Thus, I reinterpreted the nature of the sounds and see them as caused by unknown physical processes in the house. I took away the capacity to harm me from the sounds. Thus, whereas the sounds persist I no longer notice them nor do I have nightmarish dreams.

The universe, if you like, the Holy Spirit, used my living in this apartment to teach me about how fear shaped my life and to enable me learn that fear is mostly due to attribution of danger to neutral stimuli.

If you accept your death and do not care about anything harming or destroying you, you would not feel fear.

Since to be in fear is to be in ego, the weird sounds in my apartment taught me how egotistical hence how fearful I am.

Ultimately, I learned to get rid of my identification with the ego and body and subsequently let go of fear.  These days, I live relatively egolessly and do not see me as my body and hence I live fearlessly.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

August 28, 2017

www.centerformindscience.org

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176