When I go into prayer, I no longer know how to address “God.” It was much easier when I thought God was an entity in the sky.
Now, as the linear and dualistic paradigms break down in my perception, I can no longer perceive God outside of myself. God has become my own spinal column, and I think I finally understand Jesus’s teaching: “I am the vine and you are the branches.”
I’m devoted to the teachings of Jesus because they obliterate the hierarchy and dissolve ascent spirituality with the assertion of inter-abiding. There is nowhere to ascend to because God has always been the center of our being.
I’ve heard people use a mountain analogy to differentiate Christianity from other religions. As the story goes, other religions say we must ascend the mountain to meet God at the top, while Christianity believes in a God that came down the mountain to us, in the person of Jesus.
I think Jesus came to reveal that we are all the mountain and God is the ground from which it rises.
Jesus didn’t descend the mountain as a God distinctly separate or different from us; Jesus revealed that God has always been our own essential essence and highest potential.
My prayer life has become quite strange as a result.
It no longer makes sense to direct prayers to God in a thrust outside of myself.
To address God at all feels flimsy and I still haven’t found a title that fits for me. Jesus taught us to pray saying “Abba,” which they told us means “Father,” but I’ve read other translations of the Aramaic as beautiful as “O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos.”
Earlier this year, I read The Gate of Light by Lars Muhl and was deeply impacted by several of his prayers addressed to the “heavenly attendants.”
With the help of Cynthia Bourgeault, I’ve started to understand the cosmos like concentric circles or Russian nesting dolls. In form and spirit, all dimensions of God are contained within one another, each at sequentially denser frequencies as you move from the outermost ring of Source “down” toward the dimensions of matter.
“There are many mansions in my Father’s house,” said Jesus. Perhaps these many mansions are the many different dimensions of God infinitely discovering God’s Self, always at varying densities and frequencies, in forms seen and unseen.
It’s in my own prayers and silence, I feel I’ve glimpsed these ethereal realms and welcomed visits from a host of heavenly attendants.
About a year ago, I started addressing my prayers to “Jesus, Mary, and Mary Magdalene.” It was a low point, really. I didn’t know what else to say. But it wasn’t long before I had the sense these spirits were viscerally present with me.
During Centering Prayer, a stream of consciousness would break in inviting me to place my hands at certain points on my body and receive healing. Though Thomas Keating would have advised me to ignore it, I let it happen on two or three separate occasions. I found I could sit in silence, focusing my attention in my heart, and receive answers from Jesus like an eight-ball. Though they were rarely “yes” or “no.”
When inquiring about pursuing a longing of my heart, the answer usually went something like: “You can do this or not do it. If you don’t do it, your life will continue on and all will be well. But if you do it, you may find miracles beyond your imagination.”
One time I was stopped in the shower. Jesus broke into my consciousness saying, “Stop sister, stop, I have something to share.” What came next can only be called a “download” as many spiritual teachers are fond to say. The important part was this line: “I am God’s heart beating outside God’s body, and also as God’s body.” The sentence was meant for me to speak in the first person, and for you.
Through these mystical experiences, I’ve started to consider whether my prayers are best directed to God’s heavenly attendants, to the host of spirits in ethereal mansions, perhaps standing post for just this purpose.
I think there comes a point when we realize that all prayer is simply God speaking to God in different forms at varying frequencies. But along the way, isn’t there also the gift and grace of one another? Those seen and unseen, holding the space, lending an ear, and passing on some divine insight which greets you at precisely the right time.
Is it not also prayer when we hold our children or pet the dog or call the friend, or speak lovingly to our own face in the mirror?