Praying? Focus on form, not results!

In my last blog I encouraged you to shoot for the moon when praying. Here I want to help you hit that target by not focusing on it, and we’ll do so by connecting the link between prayer, desire… and weightlifting.

How do you desire something without adding desire to it? That’s the paradox of prayer as practiced in many faiths — the petitions are sent out to a God above, to One somehow separate from our situation. This reinforces the illusion that you do not have that connection, even though God is the Ground of Being from which we, and all of reality, arise. I wonder how frustrated Jesus must have been trying to get people to realize that the Realm of God is within – intimately accessible, always there.

So, how do we move from petitioning to an external God to participating in the consciousness of God?

By being fully present. Yes, it’s that basic — and, profoundly elusive! In fact, showing up in this way can only be achieved intermittently if it is to happen at all. Let me explain.

Mindfulness (paying attention in this moment, without judgement), is like weightlifting. You lift the weight, as in a bicep curl, then lower it, and repeat. Each repetition puts stress on the muscle, actually tearing it a bit. Then, through nutrition and sleep, the muscle repairs and grows. Over time, you become stronger. The muscle cannot grow if you lift the weight and just hold it under constant strain. That will only make it tired. One has to repeatedly and briefly put stress on the tissue to get stronger.

Now, the mind is the same. In fact, since your thoughts will wander about every five seconds, you already have a natural rhythm to your mental reps. Pay attention to the ebb and flow of your breath, focus your mind, notice it wander, and then bring it back. That’s one rep. Repeat. Do this lightly, with curiosity, even with a sense of humour about yourself. Besides, you don’t need to believe everything you think! Just watch the thoughts when they happen.

After a while, you settle into yourself. And, when you completely show up in this moment, guess what you discover? That this moment is more than enough. It is full and rich with everything you need to make a deep connection. This is why surrendering, letting go, is so important. No desire, no reaching, just being in the moment.

You can have a different conversation with God in this state — casual and intimate, raw and transparent. You’re focusing on form (the quality of the lift/the quality of your presence), not results (getting big/getting an answer). No longer aiming for God, you relax into the presence of God. What a surprise to find the Divine residing beneath the noise of this moment.

This moment is more than enough. It is full and rich with everything you need to make a deep connection. – David Maginley

To help with this, I’m offering a guided meditation and prayer. This will go deeper than the blog, and will take about 15 minutes. Give it a try, and then continue to practice, in your own way, every day. After all, we want to build spiritual muscle, and that takes commitment, just as with any fitness program.

Question: What holds you back from fully showing up in your life? Take at least three minutes each day to be deeply present, and notice with curiosity what arises.

7 replies
  1. Audrey
    Audrey says:

    Thank you David! The timing is perfect; I was feeling anxious this evening but after following your guided meditation, I am feeling better now. Really appreciate it. Blessings to you too.

  2. Kate Augl
    Kate Augl says:

    Hi David,
    I am deeply moved and inspired by you. I watched the Jeff Mara podcast and so have come to your website to learn more. I am looking for guidance and instruction, particlularly how to pray. I would love to hear more about your experience and learn from your insights and wisdom. Thankyou for sharing your profound and humble message.

    • David Maginley
      David Maginley says:

      A late response to you, Kate! I’m grateful the interview had such an impact. I encourage you to let love be your spiritual practice, to pray not so much to an external God, but as a movement within to the divine presence from which you emanate. That is the state from which gratitude will flow, in which communion is experienced. Prayer becomes presence, and from that, our words will flow.

  3. John D.
    John D. says:

    Yes! Thank you for this, very true. I have been deconstructing my Faith for years, pondering and contemplating. My prayer life has changed, from asking for things (although I do, for guidance, protection and forgiveness), to just this, “Father I love you, Father I trust you, Father I wait on you. Amen. I find that it is much easier to “melt” into the moment with this pattern.


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