“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ~ Soren Kierkegaard
This past Tuesday, I was preparing for my morning run, standing at the corner of St. Mark’s Place and Second Avenue in NYC.
Next to me was a Latino man, on his way to work.
Normally, I wouldn’t have have said anything, partially because I don’t want to be the annoying guy that says Hello! way too early in the morning. But recently, I had a conversation about “Invisible People,” which is the expression for the folks who work for minimum wages and sweat to make it through every single day.
I think it’s fair to say many Americans, myself included, will come in contact every day with “The Invisible People” and not acknowledge or greet them even once. So this time, I wanted to say something to this Latino man.
“It’s cold,” I uttered in the bitter morning air. I don’t think he spoke English.
So I said, “Frio. Mis pezones son duros” which means “It’s cold, my feet hurt.” (FYI, I majored in Spanish so I am fluent).
A warm smile melted the Latino man’s face. And then he laughed hysterically.
That’s all it took. Just one sentence in his language and it was as if we just spent hours watching futbol and drinking cerveza.
I broke the invisible barrier.
In case you didn’t know, yoga people love to boast about all the good they are doing for the world! In that instant:
1. I saw myself becoming a hero venturing deep into the reddest territory and leading my fellow Americans across the invisible barrier.
2. I envisioned $45 “Talk to an Immigrant” organic cotton t-shirts being sold at yoga studios everywhere.
3. I was going to run home and post on Facebook that I did a good deed so that everyone could know as soon as possible!
But then, the Latino man said the strangest thing, in a thick Queens accent: “Bro, you had me at nipples.”
It turns out that I did not say in Spanish, “It is cold and my feet hurt,” but rather “It is cold and my nipples are hard.” Since eighth grade, I have always confused “pezones” with “pies,” the correct Spanish word for feet.
Hold the presses on those $45 t-shirts! I would not be going home to post on Facebook.
But…I would be going home to pray—I had a startling revelation.
I’ll be honest with you. My faith is kinda flat.
Sometimes I pray but feel like I have the same problems today that I had a year ago. My thought process goes something like this, “If there really was a God, he would have known a long time ago what I need and he would have figured out a way to help.”
But yesterday, coupled with the hard nipples fiasco, was a call I received from a friend.
“Have you read the latest Joel Osteen?” he asked. This is not what I expect to hear from this friend—a Jew (like me) who plays the stock market and watches Detroit sports—not for the faint of heart.
He proceeded to tell me a startling revelation he had while reading Osteen, “You have to ask for what you want. You really have to ask for it, very, very specifically.”
There must be something about this Joel Osteen—everybody loves the guy, even my friend who watches Detroit sports. So I read deeper into Osteen’s simple interpretations of ancient teachings. Osteen shares this story which I will summarize:
A prophet sees a blind man and says to the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man says, “I want my eye sight.”
So the prophet touches his eyes, and for the first time, the blind man is able to see.
But knowing he was blind, why did the prophet not just heal him. Why did the blind man have to ask?
As Osteen explains, imagine that prophet is standing before you asking the same thing that He asked this blind men. “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The way you respond is going to determine what the Universe does.
Often we will say, “I just need to pay my electric ball” or “Just help let me get over this cold.”
Instead, dare to say, ‘Please grant me great abundance and financial freedom!” or “Please let flow through my veins vitality and crazy awesome health!”
Point being, if you want to communicate with someone (including the Universe), you have to speak their language.
And the Universe speaks in cans, not cant’s…in abundance, not scarcity…in love, not hate.
So today, in your ordinary routine when you are washing the dishes, sorting through emails, or waiting in carpool line, take a moment to pray with all your heart and soul. Ask for what you want, in the language of love, abundance and magnificence. Tune all your thoughts and all your feelings to your request.
Because unless you are profoundly well-versed in the language of prayer, you’d be surprised how often you ask for health in the language of wealth or hope for a break while desiring a steak or worst of all, as I experienced on Tuesday, try to create ripples while talkin’ bout nipples.
A wise one said, “The only Zen you are going to find at the top of a mountain is the Zen you bring up there.”
Healing, love, and peace begin at home, not in some faraway retreat destination. On that note, I am excited to present an entirely new and completely awesome healing experience.
In the heart of winter, we all love to designate a perfect weekend to “whole up” and dive in. For three days in January (25th-27th), I’m going to present an in-home yoga retreat: a live audio and video experience that you can tune into on your computer or mobile device.
Just like a retreat, you’ll know when class begins, when it’s time for a guided meditation, when it’s time for a fireside chat…except you’ll be doing this in the cozy creature comforts of your den, living room or deck!
Break out the candles and wine; we’re gonna set the scene for just the right mix of storytelling, music, inspiration and yoga to create a supremely cozy and grounding weekend.
And best of all, it will be live! However, if the scheduled times don’t work, no worries, you can download and listen later at your convenience.
If you are loving the idea of inviting over a few friends or taking a weekend to yourself to go deep with soothing stretches, beautiful tunes and my special style of inspiration…then email me at [email protected] and write Bring It Home! in the subject to receive early registration info.
*When this opens for registration, the first five people to register will receive a special gift from me…The Love Weapon 101, my online journey giving you the tools to conquer fear! The value is high, impact will be huge, and for the first five, this will be my gift to you.
Ed: Bryonie Wise
Like elephant I’m not “Spiritual.” I just practice being a good person on Facebook.