What is Prayer? The Shamanic Sense
For some of us, the word prayer invokes feelings of being small while making entreaties to a god that is big and far, far away. Some of us might associate prayer with guilt, as in “I don’t pray enough” or more likely, “I am _(lazy, unenlightened, lame, etc)_ because I have not kept up with my spiritual practice.”
But there is no shame or blame in the spirit world that we choose to engage with in shamanism. There is only love.
Shamanism in all things is about relationship. Relationships with the awesome, embracing, guiding spirits, relationship with the self — and just as profoundly, relationship with the land. This relationship with the land is where prayer comes in.
Prayer, meditation, yoga, martial arts practices all talk about Being. As a shamanic person, this means being myself as the magnificent carnal creature of the earth that I am. As I go deeper into my meditation, I am more and more awakened to my fibers, to the breath of the trees, to the birds, to the concrete and cars passing by. I am awakened, once again, to the passages that connect it all together. The connection, all around like crazy and wrapping back to me, is relationship. It is highly intimate if I open my heart to it.
This work, this gentle finding of our way back into relationship with the Mother Earth is prayer.
The experience is more like Ahhhh… There you are! Ahhh… There I am! And Ohhhh, it’s so nice to be back. It’s a home-coming. It is unique to all of us and unique each time we practice. We practice and practice with no goal, really, because we reverently know that there is always more to find. This practice of finding, communing and balancing is all there is. It is what it is. It just is. Delicious.
In this conversation with her, some of us may find peace, some may find revelation, in some, a long awaited release of emotion. After we have been able to clear the private rivers of mind and emotion, there is, waiting for us, joy. This being in relationship, being in balance, is intrinsically, joy.
As a shamanic person, I do not find that I teach or hold ceremony out of an altruistic desire to help, nor from a feeling of obligation. Rather, I do it because it is my function in this vast web of beings to bring things back into balance – myself, the land, the humans I walk with and between the earth and sky energies. I do what I do because it is who I am, so I don’t need any reasons. It makes things less complicated. I am a love-earth creature and my job is to bring balance. It is my place.
Prayer is the first step to coming back into relationship with my home, Mother Earth. It is the prerequisite to doing any other work. She is always there, waiting. Or not waiting. Just being. But she is always there, willing to connect. All the good stuff.
Shamanism. Relationship. Balance.