I'm not much for rituals, especially when it comes to prayer. In fact, my entire life I have personally balked at ritualistic prayer. I found it to feel meaningless, like I was going through the motions without much intention, thought, or meaning behind it.
I balked at routine period, routines and rituals bored me. I found them mundane. Sure, some routines and rituals were necessary. Most days you have to get up at a certain time, you brush your teeth before bed, blah, blah, blah. I dreaded the "getting ready in the morning" routine, or the "getting ready for bed" routine. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yep, that's how I feel about it!
So, given that I do not appreciate routine and rituals, much to my amazement I have started some routines and rituals. And at first I didn't even realize it! The difference being that I am finding real meaning and value in some of the routines I have established. I've also realized that as I've found a deeper understanding of other rituals from my past, I have come to enjoy them as well. Imagine that!
One of my rituals is a prayer that I recite every morning. It starts like this.
Good morning Soul, who am I? Good morning God. What would you have me do? Where would you have me go? What would you have me say and to whom?
My morning prayer continues with expressions of gratitude and of a willingness to serve, and includes other personal items that I may have on my mind that day. I've mentioned in previous blog posts how very important I believe gratitude to be. I start and end my day with gratitude and spend time several moments throughout my day offering up expressions of gratitude.
This prayer ritual helps to center my day. It draws my attention not only to God, but to my higher self. Who am I? What do I want to accomplish today or in this lifetime? What do I need to learn? It seeks out guidance...what would you have me do? Where would you have me go? Guidance and service...What would you have me say and to whom? It brings to my attention to look for the messages and the lessons. To pay attention to my life and what I am doing, to be conscious and aware of my intentions. It opens up the lines of communication between me and Spirit. It brings my awareness to the fact that I'm a vessel, a conduit for Spirit to communicate through.
I learned the first part of this morning prayer in a spirituality class that I took. Pamela Ashlay-McPherson explains it this way, "Stay in touch with your 'inside self'; the true essence of who you are by addressing your soul each day and asking it to acknowledge its presence in your life. This exercise will instantly bring you back to the center of yourself and bring the recognition of your connection to your source into your consciousness." She goes on to say, "You are Spirit first encased in a body… - We must always keep in mind that our Spirit is our true self and we must allow that part of our self to lead the way in our life; our thoughts, emotions, and physical body are all a part of the earth and are programmed by the earth; only our Spirit belongs to life; is life; that is the part that should lead."
The second half of the prayer I learned from spiritual teacher, Gabrielle Bernstein. If you haven't checked out her work yet, I highly recommend her. Gabby states that, "The secret to prayer is to forget what you think you need, say show me the way. Don't pray for an outcome, pray for the highest good for all. I turn this over and pray for the highest and best good. I release this, I surrender this. This is setting your intentions. Bring your awareness to the situation and pray for surrender." I love how she says to pray for the highest and best good for everyone. I use that often now...for my highest and best good and for the highest and best good of all.
Do you address your soul each day? What is your soul telling you? Do you know who you are, who you really are? These are questions that I ponder a lot lately. I believe that I have a higher self, a soul, a spirit. I believe that my soul came into this lifetime with a purpose. I aspire to know that purpose and to live it out as best as I can. Good morning Soul, who am I?
Do you have a morning prayer ritual? If you do, I would love to hear about it in the comments below or in an email.