December 21, 2013

5 Ways to Live in Perpetual Prayer. ~ Sara Rodriguez

When it comes to spirituality, I consider myself passionately dedicated to exploring my connections with God, with others, with the universe and with myself.

And I’m not shy about it, either. People have asked me a variety of questions about my spirituality, one of them being, “How often do you pray?” Struggling to find an acceptable answer, I came up with this: “Often. Actually, I pray all the time.”

Yes, I live in perpetual prayer.

That doesn’t mean I’m always kneeling or closing my eyes when I’m praying. My hands are not always clasped; I tend to stray from precedents in formatting my words—if I use words at all—but what I say is just as clear to my listener.

Since I discovered myself in this state of thoughtful conversation, things have just felt right. I find potential everywhere I look and I think that’s the way life is best enjoyed.

So, I’ve come up with a place to start. Whether you’re looking to embark on your own spiritual journey or just wondering what the hell I’m talking about, here are five ways to live in perpetual prayer:

1. Show the world your heart.

We are most open to and connected with our surroundings when we feel sincere gratitude.

This is about more than just being grateful, it’s about how we show it. It’s about finding our individual expressions of gratitude in a way that makes our hearts burst with that warm tingling sensation of love.

For me, it’s letting myself feel wildly passionate about the things that make me tick. I smile with my whole body, enough that it exposes my heart. People want to tell me everything and I let them; I listen and I respond. I love them.

Feel your gratitude bubbling up in a way that can’t be suppressed. Let it move you from the core, giving you an unspeakable strength to do things you never imagined doing. Tell people how much you love them—with words and with actions. The world will see your heart; those who are lucky enough to know you will sense your openness to giving and receiving the love you exude.

2. Practice forgiveness.

Be generous.

We often think of generosity as something requiring an outward display, but what if we could show that kindness internally?

What if we could forgive ourselves?

Forgiveness is, after all, a generous act, one that is best approached from the inside out. The most difficult question I ever ask myself is “will you forgive me?” And the answer I feel obligated to give is no less daunting “yes, I forgive you.”

But I say it, anyway. I say it until I believe it. I am humbled with every search for forgiveness I observe, whether I offer or ask for it. I remember that we all deserve to experience forgiveness from both sides of the exchange, and I try to view life’s circumstances through its generous lens.

Simply put, ask for forgiveness and forgive those who ask for it (and those who don’t). Yes, this is much easier said than done, but practicing generosity is worth the challenge it presents. You may find the person asking for forgiveness is the very person being asked to forgive—it’s you. Allowing yourself to experience forgiveness will set your spirit on fire, lighting it up with a generous glow that acknowledges the frailty of human nature while loving it anyway. We all make mistakes—big and small, mortifying and laughable—and we all deserve to be forgiven; therefore, we should forgive.

3. Get in touch with yourself.

All too often, we get caught up in being a part of something else.

Part of a group, a team, an identity, etc. and we forget that each of us is something very important, independent of what we are to the whole. Each of us alone is whole and so we owe ourselves the contentment of being in touch with our divine completeness. That’s not to say we should remove ourselves from our social interactions and activities; we need other people in our lives, without a doubt. But we thrive in our relationships only through a healthy sense of self. We prosper as a result of conversations between our heads and our hearts. Of course we can have these conversations regardless of other people being around; prayer happens at any time, in any place, under any circumstances. Nevertheless, it serves us to be alone with ourselves every once in a while, to amplify the pulse of our innermost thoughts and desires.

I spend a considerable amount of time alone, even if I’m in a crowd. That’s one of my favorite places to be—alone with everyone. I feel most connected with my intentions when I’m there. I feel them travel up my spine; they float to eye level and make a sweet sound that quite literally guides me. I write them down.

So, talk to yourself, silently or out loud.

Take the time to be alone and do it intentionally.

Voice your opinions, ask yourself questions and get to know the quirky beautiful soul that lives inside you. Nothing is off-limits, just be honest with yourself, whatever that means for you.

4. Stay connected.

Just as important as solidifying our self-awareness, we should also take the time to develop a relationship with our means of existence—that is, our source.

It’s different for everyone and even those who believe in the same source, experience the connection differently. Staying connected with these roots, whatever we believe them to be, is perhaps the most obvious way to pray, but how we develop that connection is what makes it worthwhile.I see us as divine beings.

Yes, I am divine and so are you.

I know that God lives in me because we talk all the time. God understands me, even though we often communicate without words. Anything I feel is accepted as a conversation.

Whatever you believe, take care to nurture the relationship you have with your source. Keep the communication flowing in silence or out loud. Entrust yourself with the obligation to openly converse with the universe as it lives in and around you, know that this is what makes up your life. Your relationship with your source is yours and yours alone, so take the time to understand it and encourage its development. Know that the lines of communication never close; you are always engaged in some sort of dialogue with the powers that be.

5. Give yourself a hug.

Sometimes we fall victim to our own bouts of criticism and hatred. We have the capacity to really hurt ourselves. Pain isn’t all that fun, but it often seems easier to sink into its gloomy numbness than to hoist ourselves up into the sunshine. Though, as difficult as it may be, it is possible (especially if we remember the preceding four points).

Quite simply, I give myself hugs.

That’s right, I love myself. Really.

I know you’ve heard it before, but here it is again: Love yourself. Feel the potential for peace oozing from your beautiful skin, no matter what it looks like, and honor the sacredness of your bodily structure—no matter what you think of it.

Know that you are a miracle.

You are love, breath, life and magic. Embrace your sensitivity—it’s not a weakness, but an integral strength. Feel every feeling that pops up in your heart with Godlike understanding. Softly open yourself to the world around you, because others want and need you in it.

Give yourself a hug. I mean it—wrap your arms across your chest, reach your hands to the opposite shoulders and give them a squeeze. Close your eyes. Smile. Breathe.

Our hearts are our prayers. When we’re loving, we’re praying.

Forgiveness is a prayer. When we forgive or ask to be forgiven, we’re praying.

Acknowledging our completeness is a prayer. When we take the time to get in touch with ourselves, we’re praying.

Conversing with our source is a prayer. When we’re connected, we’re praying.

The hug you just gave yourself—that’s a prayer, too. You were just praying.

Prayer can be anything that brings us to life. It can happen anywhere and at any time. It can happen all the time.

Prayer is yours to live and I encourage you to get out there and live it.

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Assistant Editor: Gabriela Magana/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo by: Victor Bezrukov

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