Perhaps the deepest meditative and reflective prayer is the Holy Rosary. It consists of several specific prayers, five decades, and four mysteries. The mysteries are Joyful (Monday, Saturday), Light (Thursday), Sorrowful (Tuesday, Friday), and Glorious (Wednesday, Sunday). These are mysteries of the faith which one reflects upon whilst praying. Each mystery is broken down into five decades which are about specific events and their rich symbolism. During each decade you recite Our Father, Hail Mary ten times, Glory Be, and the Fatima Prayer. This is repeated for each of the five decades. Altogether it takes roughly twenty minutes to recite.
The day of this post is Sunday, so it will be a time for contemplating the Glorious Mystery. We are to remember the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, his Ascension into Heaven, the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, and her Coronation as Queen of Heaven and Earth. Those are all truly beautiful things to recall and meditate upon. It is there to remind us of the triumph of Christ and his blessed virgin mother, Mary, over the forces of evil. We are to understand that through accepting Christ, we share in his victory.
At times it is necessary for man to detach himself not only from the past and future but even from the present. To let oneself go, drifting away into the sea of holy mystery. Time ceases to be as we reach upwards toward the divine. At first we yearn for the transcendent, next we begin to love and feel loved by Him, then we begin to know of Him, we become detached from this world, and then unite with God, whose unfathomable greatness bewilders us, and finally we come out hopefully with greater selflessness and forget our former bad ways.
Prayer is a fundamental aspect of nurturing your spiritual life. I admit to slacking off from time to time and always notice a decline in my emotional and psychological state. What prayer provides us with is temporary death through departure from this physical world. Just as our physical bodies need sleep, our spiritual bodies need prayer. There are no religions that do not treat prayer as absolutely necessary for a healthy spiritual and even physical life. A mistake people often make is in considering different forms of prayer to be less effective.
The East focuses upon meditation while the West is more of a recitation and reflection based prayer system. However, there is a third way. In Ancient Paganism action was often considered a form of what we would call prayer. It was not about silent meditation or reflection, but about the act. An action held deep symbolism and spoke a non-verbal language which connected the actor to the eternal. A similar idea still exists in Sufism, which is an esoteric sect of Islam, called Sema whereby those practicing dhikr use a particular form of dance as worship and remembrance. The actors are called dervishes who lose themselves into dancing to music by spinning in repetitive circles meant to imitate the rotation of the planets (themselves) around the sun (God / Allah).
“In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt (tennure) represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak (hırka), he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”
I would imagine that all three types of prayer, when employed in one’s life, would create a special spiritual depth. In our age of shallow materialism, to turn toward that which brings us closer to the divine light can only help us. We are foolish, though, to assume the path to God is found simply in prayer, dogma, or church. The way is narrow, but can be found everywhere. Soren Kierkegaard said,
“Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.”
Julius Evola wrote in ‘The Metaphysics of Sex’, that sex should not be about just procreation, love, or physical sensation, but about reaching for the divine. If this is true, which I believe it is, then we should take a different look at our world. All around us are pathways to the divine. We can see it, act in a way which brings us closer towards it, contemplate it, and lose ourselves in it through meditation.
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