Do I pray?
by Marcus Antebi
Article at a Glance:
Yes, but not always. When I do pray and feel that the prayer has been answered, the prayer seems to yield what I need to get that something to materialize. The problem is that I’m often expecting something different as a tool from the divine. And so I miss the thing that comes along that will help me to achieve my objective. It doesn’t matter because if I pray for something good, it may not come exactly in the form that I like it. But something good always comes from it.
I’m oftentimes really embarrassed or feel challenged to talk about prayer publicly because I am an agnostic. As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to learn more about physics and scientific modern-day knowledge about the nature of the universe. The more I’ve done so, the more I’ve started to feel that the universe and all things beyond the universe were created by a beautiful dreamer.
For me I call God the dreamer. I’m not exactly sure what shape or form it has, if any. It may just be that God exists in another dimension in a giant body and we’re inside of God in the same way that souls live inside of our form. But I may be completely wrong about that.
At any rate, it doesn’t matter to me. The concept of what God is is too massive for me to consider. Instead I look at the fact that I believe in a creator and therefore I believe that there’s many many more layers and levels to consciousness. Even though my body that I’m standing in right now may disintegrate one day, and my ego may evaporate along with it, my consciousness is the thing that’s really experiencing this body. It’s my consciousness that’s helping my ego come up with these words. And so Consciousness is what I am.
Consciousness never goes away. It would be futile to try to make my limited ego and my limited body nonsensically carry on forever. I need to really experience my consciousness on deeper, deeper levels so that I can connect with it.
The more I connect with my consciousness—the essence of my being—the more I have a chance of connecting with the divine. The more I will come back with compassion. The more I will make myself ready to find love in the world instead of hatred. And even if the rest of my emotional world is turbulent, I can still find love in it and I can still embrace it.
To me, It doesn’t make a difference that we struggle to understand our existence and the nature of consciousness. We are all enlightened. The difference is what enlightenment feels like to your ego. It’s your ego that plays stupid.
It’s the body that is craving, not the consciousness. And there’s no escaping this unless you become a monk, live in the Himalayas, and renounce everything. But even they will have to face the cravings and the callings of the body several times a day.
The path to deep in awakening isn’t about renunciation. It’s about creating a balance. It’s about understanding that if we swing too far away from the body we will perish, we will enter into danger without care, we will neglect our emotions, and we will undermine the human experience that we are in.
But if we swing the other way and get caught up in all of our desires and our cravings and keep overinflating the ego then we will face another problem. We will keep looking in the mirror saying to ourselves, “I need more money, I need morphine, I need more beauty, I need more riches.” We will be confused and likely stupefied.
We will likely be in that place most of the time. So it is a balance. I have to set up virtual mirrors inside of my mind. And I have to constantly look at the way I think and the cause of the thought. I have to analyze and study what’s happening in my mind. And I have to keep pushing myself for self-improvement. I have to surrender the things that do not serve me and I have to master all my addictions so that they don’t master me.
I also have to face the reality that certain things happened to me as a child bruised me. There’s a little child within me that needs healing. If I missed that part and skipped over it, I missed an opportunity to learn. In my healing process I can come to a place of surrender and forgiveness. I can come to a place of learning how I can help others master the same travels and the same traumas.
The way to open our minds completely is to live a very moral life. Try to stop hurting things as best as you can day by day. At least pay attention to the things that you hurt without being too harsh or judgemental. Our purpose is self-improvement, not creation of rigid structures and berating people who are not perfect.
The more that we push for individual enlightenment of our species, the more that that consciousness will shape the nature of the entire universe. It’s a mistake to not understand that we are part of a massive organism. The size of it is too large for us to fathom with our tiny minds. If we can work towards creating a Garden of Eden-like state here on this earth—which means that we let things be as they are intended to be—we will help all things mature and realize their true nature and find freedom for ourselves.
This will require many generations and take lots of work. We human beings have the unique gift and challenge of having free will. This free will moves not just the individual but the entire planet in one direction or another.
Make no mistake here folks. The planet’s alive with life in every layer of the soil, in every drop of water, in every creature and in our skies. We are all connected to it. And if the major players like human beings are suffering, then other creatures suffer with us. At a certain point we could reach a critical mass with too much loss of vital life forms that are a critical part of a very fragile ecosystem.
If you can’t see it then you don’t understand biology. All of life formed on this earth because the circumstances were just perfect. If a handful of things were different, such as the temperature or the lack of availability of certain elements, there wouldn’t be any life here.
A major factor in our enlightenment is recognizing that the planet is our largest organ. Individually we must accept that in order for us to become more awake and conscious and find our own personal happiness, we have to treat the planet as if it is sacred.
I did not understand this for most of my life. I was blind and totally desensitized. I did not become this way by choice. It is how I was taught, and I followed. The natural progression for me was that one day I would become awake to these things slowly but surely. The only thing that matters today is that I want to change. If someone judges me because of the mistakes I made in the past when I’m trying to change how I am at this moment, it is because they are afraid of something.
Or maybe they simply don’t like my face. But I’m lucky that I was born in the East Village, that I’m covered in tattoos, that I jumped out of airplanes, and that I did lots of shit in my life, so I don’t give a fuck who supports me. I support myself with this message. And that’s that.
I’m going to watch a movie with my wife now.