You’ve probably noticed that most issues of the Cygnus Review have some sort of theme, but we wonder if you realise that we never choose those themes on purpose? We just watch them emerge, through synchronicity, and more often than not, they hold an important message for us, as well as for you.
This month was no exception. As you will see, particularly when you read the features by Caroline Myss, Kathleen McGowan, Lorna Byrne and Pierre Pradervand, there is a clear emphasis on the enormous help, strength and healing we can derive from developing a real inner awareness of a benevolent power greater than ourselves – call it God, Source, Creator or what you will.
Kathleen McGowan’s new book, especially, reminded us of a really helpful spiritual practice for doing just that. We used to perform it every day, but had forgotten it in recent years. And there couldn’t have been a more useful moment in our lives for us to be reminded of it! As Kathleen McGowan explains in The Source of Miracles, (see p. 7) this spiritual practice doesn’t require you to hold any particular belief system. Just a belief in a higher power is enough. It simply involves meditating on some words most of us have ready access to, since we know them by heart: the words of the Lord’s Prayer.
In The Source of Miracles, Kathleen McGowan explains how, in the medieval mystery schools, the six petitions of the Lord’s Prayer were understood and used as a perfect formula for inner and outer transformation, often depicted symbolically as a rose of six petals, held together by a seventh central one – it’s core essence – love.
Kathleen was lucky enough to be able to study with present-day teachers, to whom the original mystery teachings regarding the Lord’s Prayer had been handed down, and she shares what she learned from them in her book. Geoff and I were taught something strikingly similar, so we thought it would be a good moment to share with you our own perspective on the Lord’s Prayer.
The idea – we believe – is to reflect on the words until you actually feel them; until they come alive, as it were. When your heart is fully engaged and absorbed by the words of this most magical prayer, it’s as if a river of living water is caused to flow, turning the wheels of feeling, thought, belief, intention and action in a new way, so that the ‘spiritual wheat’ can be accessed and ground into flour, and made into bread for the whole being. The staff of life indeed!
As we understand it, the important thing about the Lord’s Prayer is not the precise words in which it is phrased, but the feeling the words give you when you meditate on them. The heart – the ultimate, truth-perceiving organ – needs to be the primary organ of understanding, and the mind needs to be able to interpret accurately the heart’s perceptions. So if the traditional words you learnt by heart don’t give you the feelings that are meant to arise, then you should search deeply in your heart until you find the ones that do. Geoff and I have tried to do that as best we can, and the words that currently speak to us most clearly are the ones we share below.
May your holy Name resound
We open ourselves to sense a presence that is very close to us; that surrounds us like a protecting veil; that nurtures and guides us; that provides for our every need, and that is good, beautiful and true beyond measure. We try to see this presence also as a seed in the heart of every single created thing, from the smallest atom to the largest universe, containing the whole blueprint for its highest purpose. And this is the ‘Name’ we ask to be sung, to ring out, to make itself heard, throughout creation.
May your will be done in us, as it is in all the realms where your truth holds sway.
Our aim is to surrender our whole being, along with all our current circumstances and anything that is troubling us, to that most good, most beautiful and most true presence we call ‘God’, in the faith that we will then be shown what steps will lead us, by the shortest route, to the unfoldment of our highest purpose.
Here we wait until a feeling of trust and confidence arises, that everything we need to unfold our highest purpose will be provided.
as we release others from that grip.
Through our illusions, we create a world of separation from the divine. Letting go of those illusions is what brings us back home. For us, the term ‘illusion’ covers all the false beliefs and conditioning that keep us away from divine awareness. These of course include the ‘trespasses’, ‘debts’ or ‘sins’ of which we ask to be forgiven in traditional renderings of the Lord’s Prayer. From the perspective of the world of separation that we have created, it may sometimes appear that we have made mistakes or that others have done wrong to us, and indeed it may sometimes be necessary to take steps to protect ourselves. Yet, from the perspective of the divine, every circumstance – however difficult or painful it may seem – is turned to the good, and will simply serve to bring us closer to our divine purpose. Remembering this, we offer up for release all feelings of anger or vengefulness towards ourselves or others for past wrongs, and in this way we free ourselves from some of the strongest bonds that tie us to illusion.
And deliver us from whatever may seek
to steer us away from you.
Every day we try, don’t we, to cast the light of truth on our illusions, false beliefs and weaknesses, so that they can be transformed. But sometimes – often, even, it has to be said – we are tempted to fall back into the old ruts, deeply worn by centuries of traffic as they are, or we may fall into them before we have even noticed they are there. By meditating on the power of the divine to protect us from this kind of temptation, or to raise us up again if we have stumbled, we gradually draw that power into ourselves, and weave it into the very fabric of our being.
and the glory, for ever and ever, amen.
Finally, we return once again, to the sense of over-arching glory with which we started the prayer, becoming aware of its infinite and imperishable nature, and asking for it to be sealed within every atom of our being.
A last word
The first word of the Lord’s Prayer is ‘Our’. And throughout the prayer, there are many references to ‘us’. Nowhere do any of its petitions refer to ‘my’ or ‘me’. This is not an accident. Whenever we take a step towards the divine, we make it that much easier for everyone else to do the same. What we do for ourselves, we do for everyone. On our soul’s journey, we are like the three musketeers – ‘all for one and one for all’. On the level of the soul – the divine potential seeking manifestation in us – we are united. So if we pray in the way taught by the Lord’s Prayer, it simply is not possible to pray just for ‘me’.
Through the simple act of meditating daily on some words we all know, we can build something within ourselves that will, if we persevere, eventually become so deeply rooted that it will be imperishable, firm as a rock, a foundation that will never leave us, and will provide an unshakeable support for all our efforts to become true human beings. What greater gift could we give to ourselves or each other?
With our warmest good wishes for a Yuletide filled with blessings,
Ann, Geoff, Sarah and the Cygnus Team