by Deepak Chopra

Prayer and meditation both come with user’s manuals written by sages, seers and saints. The manuals point to a higher reality. In a skeptical age, it has taken brain scans and stress research to confirm that prayer and meditation are real. There is no doubt that both are useful, with observable physiological effects. On that basis alone, they can bring the benefit of inner calm and homeostasis, and most probably aid in the healing response, without needing belief.

Silence is an ambiguous issue in this area. For a believer, no audible answer to prayer is required; God is still listening, even though the conversation has silence at the other end. Meditation turns silence into something valuable on its own. Our brains change with every thought, because thoughts form a feedback loop that every cell eavesdrops on. In the tradition of meditation, silence also forms a feedback loop. A wordless voice says, “Here is peace.” Cells can eavesdrop on that message, too, and when they do, pathways in the brain are changed just as surely as when we respond to thoughts, sensations and emotions.

In the meditation tradition, this silence is God. But labels and cultural baggage stand in the way. Even without God, silence may be the basis of the mind, the womb from which intelligence and creativity emerge. To discover whether this is true, you have to undertake your own exploration. Pick up the user’s manual – the vast corpus of Eastern spiritual literature and poetry – and find out where it leads.

The next frontier is spiritual, drawing us into the mystery and excitement of higher consciousness, which is where the game really lies. Prayer is directed to an external God. Meditation is directed to the higher self. In the end, this distinction may not matter. As the spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti reputedly said, “I used to pray to God, until I realized that I was praying to myself.”

source Deepak Chopra  image Pixabay