Photo by Zac Durant via Unsplash.

It takes a long time to learn how to pray just for the sake of praying and not for anything else, not for our own selfish desires. The reason that we obtain little satisfaction from our prayers is that they are not really sincere attempts to touch God. When we begin to go deeper—to seek God and nothing else—then we will be satisfied in our prayers and reap its benefits.

I realize that there are a number of people who do not believe in a God who is “sitting somewhere, out there.” “What is this God?”, they ask me. “Is God going to come running just because I cry?” I do not believe in such a God either. I think that God is everywhere and has no name or form, no limitations like that. God is Consciousness Itself. In that case you might ask, “Then what is the purpose of prayer? How can you say God is going to hear our prayers and answer them?” I would reply saying that God is all-present, all-knowing. God is not bound by any particular form but is an all-pervasive Awareness or Power. And by your concentrated, sincere, and unselfish prayer, you are tuning your mental radio to receive that Power.

I can tell you that there is beautiful music in the room where you are now. Some of you will agree and some of you will not agree. Those who deny it will say, “We don’t hear any music now. How can you say that there is music in this room?” To you I say, “Bring a radio. Plug it in, and tune it. You will get the music.” By tuning the radio you are not creating the music. The music was already there; your tuning simply attracted the radio waves. If your tuning isn’t correct, you won’t hear a thing. In the same way, God’s Grace, God Consciousness, or the Cosmic Power, will be attracted only when you tune your mind to the proper wavelength.

Some people say they tune in through meditation; others say they tune in through prayer. In either case they are doing essentially the same thing. Meditation means to focus the mind wholly on one thing. Real prayer means to meditate on the conversation, the giving and receiving, between you and God. An unmeditated prayer, without full concentration, will not be very powerful, so it is not surprising if such a prayer brings no satisfaction. There has to be proper attunement; the mind should be one-pointed, focused, and free from selfish motives.

Some people say that it is unnecessary to do anything but sit quietly in order to get into that higher state, Satori or Samadhi. When you can make the mind and body quiet, you are attuning yourself—“at-one-ing” yourself—to that state which is always there waiting for you. Through your discipline and effort in meditation you are being cleared and opened up to receive that true essential channel within you.

In other words, you are not doing anything to create that state, but you must do something in order not to disturb the flow of it. You must remove the “interference,” decrease the “static” that constantly bombards us through the senses, and learn to master the ego-thoughts so that they do not enslave you and block your attunement and at-one-ment. That is what we do in the name of Yoga, in the name of prayer and meditation.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda