There is a story about a sea Captain who in his retirement skippered a boat taking day-trippers to Islands.

On one trip, the boat was full of young people.

They laughed at the old captain when they saw him say a prayer before sailing out, because the day was fine and the sea was calm.

However they weren’t long at sea when a storm suddenly blew up and the boat began to roll & pitch violently.

The terrified passengers came to the captain and asked him to join them in prayer.

But he replied, “I say my prayers when it’s calm. When it’s rough I attend to my ship.”

Here is a lesson for us……

If we cannot seek God in quiet moments of our lives; we are not likely to find him when trouble strikes.

We are more likely to panic.

But if we have learnt to seek him and trust him in quiet moments, then most certainly we will find him when the going gets rough.

All The Act Is Prayer

If we pray when we are calm our act will be prayerful, in gratitude.

Prayer simply means gratitude, thankfulness. It is not a demand, it is not a desire. And if you desire anything, then it is not prayer. “Prayer”.

Prayer Is Far More Important Than God:

People are loving even… even love is nothing but fear: a diplomacy, a strategy, to keep things running smoothly. And that’s why you pray regularly. Morning, evening, you go on praying, hoping that God will hear your prayer. There is nobody to hear your prayers! Your prayer is simply a monologue. You are praying to the empty sky. Nobody is going to reward you for your prayers, remember it.

If you really know what prayer is, prayer itself is its own reward. There is nobody else to reward you. The reward is not there in the future, not in the afterlife. But praying itself is such a beautiful phenomenon that who cares about the future and who bothers about the reward? That is greed, the idea of reward.

Prayer in itself is such a celebration, it brings such great joy and ecstasy, that one prays for the prayer’s sake. One does not pray out of fear and one does not pray out of greed. One prays because one enjoys it. One does not even bother whether there is a God or not.

If you enjoy dance you don’t ask whether there is a God or not. If you enjoy dance, you simply dance! Whether anybody is seeing the dance from the sky or not is not your concern. Whether the stars and the sun and the moon are going to reward you for your dance, you don’t care. The dance is enough of a reward in itself. If you love singing you sing. Whether anybody listens or not is not the point.

So is prayer. It is a dance, it is a song, it is music, it is love. You enjoy it, and there it is finished. Prayer is the means and prayer is the end. The ends and the means are not separate. Only then do you know what prayer is. And prayer is far more important than God.

Learning from the story Captain: All The Act Is Prayer

Experience Learning

Patanjali says God is only an excuse to pray. It is like a peg on the wall to hang your coat. If the peg is no there you can hang your coat somewhere else. You can hang it on the door, on the window, anywhere. Patanjali has great insight when he says that God is just a peg, because it will be difficult for you to pray, hence God has been invented. Ordinarily, you think prayer is a means to reach God. Patanjali says God is only a means so that you can pray. But it is only for the beginners: to help them.

God is a device: a device to help you to pray, according to Patanjali, one of the greatest masters of the world. Once you have learned to pray, forget all about God. Prayer itself is enough, more than enough.

Prayer means surrender. Prayer means bowing down to existence. Prayer means gratitude. Prayer means thankfulness. Prayer means silence. Prayer means, “I am happy that I am.” Prayer simply means, “This tremendous gift of life is so much for such an unworthy man like me.” Seeing it, gratitude arises.

Be grateful to everyone, because everybody is creating a space for you to be transformed – even those who think they are obstructing you, even those whom you think are enemies. Your friends, your enemies, good people and bad people, favorable circumstances, unfavorable circumstances – all together they are creating the context in which you can be transformed and become a buddha. Be grateful to all. To those who have helped, to those who have hindered, to those who have been indifferent. Be grateful to all, because all together they are creating the context in which buddhas are born, in which you can become a buddha.

Yes. Prayer, compassion and gratitude. Whenever you pray, you feel blissful; whenever you are in compassion, you feel ecstatic. And then gratitude arises – not towards anyone in particular, gratitude just arises. It is not towards God or towards Jesus, or Zarathustra or Buddha, it is simply gratitude. You feel so grateful just for being, just for being alive, just for being able to be prayerful, just for being able to be in compassion. You feel simply grateful. That gratefulness is not towards anybody, it is towards the whole.

If you feel grateful towards God it is a gratitude of the mind. If you pray and if you flower in compassion you will feel simply grateful, not grateful towards God. Then there is no “towards” – you feel simply grateful towards all. And when you feel grateful towards all – that is really gratefulness towards God, never before it. When it is a choice you choose God; then your God becomes a point, not the whole.

When you go in a temple and do a prayer, it is not prayer; but when, after compassion, gratitude arises, the whole existence becomes the temple. Whatsoever you touch, it becomes a prayer; whatsoever you do, it becomes prayerful. You cannot be otherwise. Deeply rooted, anchored in prayer, deeply flowing into compassion, you cannot be otherwise. You become prayer, you become gratitude.

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