As the horror of mass shootings, generalized violence, the drumbeat of war become the story of our lives, we become a numbed-out and polarized society. The idea of prayer as a solution confounds and enrages, as we watch a political machine sits silent, seemingly unwilling to take appropriate social actions.
But really, can prayer add anything to mitigate what we see happening all around us?
The Answer is in Nature—An Integral System
Humans evolved only after everything was prepared for our sustenance, survival and happiness. The levels of existence that preceded us are the inanimate, the vegetative and the animate. Every branch of science ultimately reveals how connected everything that exists is. The human body is a system that demonstrates this.
Each cell in the body exists independently, yet only when shaped together do they form something bigger—an organ, a bone, a blood vessel. The cells’ unified existence insures that an organ functions correctly. And when each organ performs its job well, the body thrives, each organ vital to the well-being of the organism and each one supporting the others.
When cells or organs fall ill, the rest of the system goes into action to restore healthy balance. For example, an infection triggers a multiplication of white blood cells to fight it off, because the body “knows” that only by cooperative action can health be restored. Inherent in this integral system is that each cell and organ exists and functions to protect the entire body, because not one of them can exist alone. The body is a microcosm of the vast system of nature that is integral, altruistic, balanced and interdependent.
This is the body functioning at its optimum. But what about the debilitated or fatally ill body? Do we pray that the malady be removed?
Let’s look at the system in which we exist from a different perspective.
Nature operates like the cogwheels inside a watch or clock. The movement and rotation of each wheel flow together to create energy to keep the timepiece running. One misaligned wheel brings the system to a halt. We know this, not because we can see the broken wheel, but because the watch no longer keeps time. The impact of the breakage is measured only by its effect on the whole.
Understanding that each of us is like a wheel in a massive machine brings importance to this idea of integrality. It is not stones or plants or animals that clog the system. It is mankind. We become the damaged wheels when we act against the laws of altruism, balance and interdependence. It is our egoistic thoughts and actions that jam the system and, in response, nature commences her work of making things right again.
The Role of Prayer in the Integral System of Nature
Can we re-establish the smooth operation of the machine through thoughts and prayers? Yes, but only if we understand what kind of a prayer is required.
How we view the evil in the world is of extreme importance in grasping the idea of thoughts and prayers. Events such as killer tornadoes, huge earthquakes, mass shootings, the decline of all of our major institutions are indications that there is a problem with the entire system. Humanity is becoming debilitated and its illness may be fatal. So here’s the question. When the next mass shooting occurs, where do we direct our prayers? What plea to the Creator could possibly mitigate such evil and restore some sort of sanity?
Prayer, in essence, is an expression of the desires of the heart, what the heart feels. A desire fits into one of two categories: one that aspires to flow in the direction of the system, or one that does not match that aspiration. In the wake of a disaster, when we pray out of relief that we weren’t harmed or to feel as if we’re “doing something,” it is an egoistic prayer and it goes nowhere. The goal of the correct and useful prayer is toward restoring the smooth streaming of the system within which we live, to be in alignment with the laws of altruism and unity that reside in nature.
When we aim our prayer toward the well-being of others, toward all of humanity, toward brotherly love, our intention is pure. We are focusing on the root of the problem. This is not a spontaneous prayer born out of negative emotion. It is a way of being, actually, a way of thinking that is a preparation for the crying out for mercy that erupts when we feel afraid or helpless. It is a deep understanding of how nature works and what is our part in it.
What is being revealed to us is the Force that manages the machine called nature. We are subject to nature’s laws whether we like it or not, and we have no choice in the matter. There is a narrow window, however, when we can impact the system for good and this is called a prayer. When a prayer is directed toward the well-being of the collective, a cry for help to the Upper Force to connect us together in love, and born out of a deep sense of brotherly love, it is “heard.” Why? Because we bring ourselves into alignment with the laws of altruism and unity, the laws of the Upper Governing force. When many of us do it together, the resistance to the correct movement of the machine diffuses and the system begins to re-generate.
Does sending thoughts and prayers do anything to mitigate the inhumanity in mankind and its effects on all of us? When the correct prayer is raised by all of us together, called a “prayer of many,” the cogwheels begin to move together in harmony and brotherly love. The answer is a resounding yes.
Ayala Ross on July 14, 2019:
"The goal of the correct and useful prayer is toward restoring the smooth streaming of the system within which we live, to be in alignment with the laws of altruism and unity that reside in nature."