Quoted from a Religious Humour list.....
KQED, San Francisco's Public Television station has a weekly news show called
This Week in Northern California. On October 12, 2001, one of the guests
by telephone from Islamabad was Asra Nomani, an Indian-American journalist for
Salon.com working in Pakistan. She said:
"America isn't just fighting the Taliban and Osama, it is also fighting the
spiritual warriors, the grandmothers, aunties and mothers that are all gathered
in living rooms, and in their own private prayers invoking these du'as, they're
called, actual prayers the Quran tells them to recite against enemies. And
sadly in this case the enemy is America. It's not Americans; it's American
And people are praying here in the United States, as well, against terrorists
and enemies of America.
I asked my friend and frequent teacher Deborah Klingbeil (who does prayer
research within the Christian Science tradition), "Do you have anything you
might want to say to be forwarded to others, about prayers to bless and
transform the prayers of others and comb them into accord with kindness and
goodness? I really wish I had something to send to people on lists that I
am on, that they could send on to others, about this kind of transforming...
And Deborah Klingbeil responded:
This is not difficult in theory, but in practice the simplest things are the
The way to transform the prayers of others who pray against you is to first
transform your own prayers into prayers that cannot hurt anyone.
We often think our own prayers cannot hurt others but in fact if we pray to get
a certain job we are praying against others who also want or need the job. If we
pray to land a funding proposal the same holds true. If we pray for our crops we
are praying that insects and weeds, parts of creation, should die - unless we
are wise enough to pray by loving them all and knowing that we can only bless
one another. Or wise enough to pray for what is best, no strings attached.
That is the crux of the matter. This notion that one person's interests, (or the
best interests of one part of creation human or non), can be opposed to the best
interests of another person or part of creation, is a shaky basis for prayer.
Even in the simple lab tests we do the interconnectedness of all things is
becoming obvious. You can heal yourself by praying for a seed. Why? Because we
are all connected.
My teacher used to say that if you are going to be a target be a target out of
range. Rise to a place where you love and the prayers aimed against you will
fall beneath you. And pray for everyone, because prayer that means well, but has
anything not of love in it (and this includes our own prayers without our
knowing it) will boomerang and come back to the one who prays. We don't ask that
it is so, it is simply the nature of such prayer. We should work to neutralize
this, both for our own prayers, and for the prayers of others.
This is "prayer scat", what I was telling you about when we were
talking about prayer tracking some time ago. It is a waste product of prayer.
Carry a pooper-scooper and clean up after your own prayers, and after anyone
else's prayer who leaves a little something on your mental lawn, and do so
without malice, for the dog doo is not the dog, and the evil effect of such
prayer is not the prayer - the prayer, like the dog, may be something you could
get along with if you got to know each other, and got past the growling stage.
A good pooper-scooper prayer is "I cannot harm anyone, and I can not be
made to harm anyone. No one can harm me, and no one can be made to harm
me." Such a simple prayer, yet when realized with real love, very powerful.
There is good news. Laboratory findings show that most prayers at this stage are
compounds, they have a mix of different kinds of prayers in them. The most
militant grandma praying her du'a against an American or anyone, yet gives some
blessing to those very people, because she is really praying for right to be
done, and right cannot be done to one country and not another, love is
universal. She is praying because she loves her sons, and those sons are
mentally connected to our sons, so we get some benefit too.
The most arrogant American (and arrogance is violence, it terrorizes also)
praying that Bin Laden rots in hell, nevertheless blesses that man - without
wanting to and maybe without him wanting the blessing. Because in with the
ugliness is a seed of good, of our highest sense of right at this stage of our
spiritual journey. And that seed is more powerful than the un-love.
To protect yourself against the evil which is also in the prayer, rise in prayer
until you see that all things are interconnected, and to where you can love the
good in all things. Then the evil falls wide.
Also, say thanks for the good, however embryonic, in any prayer that is uttered
And pray that the evil, the un-love, be dissipated, instead of turning back to
hurt those who are praying as sincerely as they know how, but may be sending
boomerangs of hate out. And that includes us.
We are kin to the Pakistani grandmas and their prayers, we too are sincere, we
too are sometimes mistaken in our views, we too are dedicated and are "true
believers", our prayers too are a mix of good and evil, we have a lot in
common, only our world view is different, and political world views are not such
a matter of importance when it comes to prayer, the prayer is bigger than the
world view of the person praying.
We can help on all sides by blessing them and blessing us, and rising above
prayer-as-an-agenda to prayer that is a knowledge, acceptance, and gratitude for
the interconnectedness of all things.
I do think this is a reason why prayer research is needed. There are different
mathematical markers to different kinds of prayers. Certain kinds of prayers are
more fallible than others and some boomerang more eaisly. It has nothing at all
to do with denomination or theology. But people should know this, just like they
know what is a poison and what is not physically, and what is an antidote, they
need to know this about mental power too. Then they can do what the like
with that knowledge, but at least we will not all be working in the dark with a
vague notion that anything that is mental is prayer and that it all works alike.
Wars do not come about because someone attacks you. They come about because of
both sides, because evil turns on itself and boomerangs. You cannot heal only
half the problem. People want to do that, and it is impossible you know.
We can kill all the terrorists and more will just come - most of these current
ones I believe were the children of the Pakistani refugee camps of a few decades
ago; and the refugee camps, and many other places, are filled with new
generations, there will be lots more to take their place if we go that route.
Both sides must be healed together because the healing is one. That is why the
healing is so hard. People want to be healed , they want peace or health or
whatever, but they want this without changing. They want to keep their finger on
the hot stove but just not feel the pain.
And of course that wouldn't be good for us because our finger would burn off
without our knowing it if we didn't feel the pain.
The self-destructive power of un-love is a merciful thing; it keeps us all from
burning our fingers off. I am getting a little murky here, but we must see this
as a process, not a battle, a process in which both sides will be blessed and
both sides will change. Not just them. And a process at which both sides have
had some input. Not that it's all their fault, or its all our fault. This war is
being caused by mental factors, conscious and unconscious, and not by bombs or
planes or the poor men killing each other at the front.
Part of the impetus of my work is I have always felt the process was inefficient
and rather cruel, and that the process could be improved. We can, I hope, rise
to the point in society where we learn not to touch the hot stove, rather than
waiting for the pain to get so bad that we take our finger off.
In our prayers we can call on every molecule of love, every force of love,
whether we recognize it as such or not, from both sides, and side with that,
with the love in all created things, and not with the Americans or the Arabs, or
the grandmas or the soldiers. The grandmas love their sons and their country
just like we do, and they hate those that they think hurt them, just like we do.
Let's harvest their love, and ours, and put the un-love in a plastic bag and
take it out to the curb. Let's pet the dog and clean up what he might have left
on the lawn, without making a big deal of it.
I do not mean to trivialize those that have lost lives on either side, or those
that are in emotional pain on either side, I am just saying the pain is one and
the love is one, and it is connected, you cannot heal one side only any more
than you can pick up one side of a penny only.
Pray, "Those who pray to hurt can only bless themselves and others,"
and include your own self in such a prayer, and mean it, and you will not only
keep from being hurt, you will keep the pious if militant grandmas from hurting
themselves too, and you will keep the "my country right or wrong"
Americans, and also anyone indifferent to the fate of anyone else, from burning
their fingers off. You will help to bring out the best in us all.
So I guess my answer is very much what you know already - and it is one word,
and that is love.
My thanks to Birrell Walsh for permission to use the above.