About Meditation Prayer
I first used this prayer in the Spring of 1997, and published it on the web shortly thereafter. I have made five minor modifications since then. This is the prayer I use for those times when I want to practice one-pointed attention as taught by noted meditation authority and Hindu scholar Eknath Easwaran. In fact, it was through his book Meditation (now retitled Passage Meditation) that I began my study.
Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is considered the creator of modern passage meditation, having first taught in the US in 1961. What made me choose his book over all others on the shelf was his choice to use the prayer of St. Francis as his first recommendation for his readers to use for meditation. Only at the end of the book does he offer Hindu passages and others. It showed an openness of mind that I admired, one worthy of emulation.
At the time, however, the prayer of St. Francis wasn’t a complete fit for me. It was very, very close, but I felt a call to write my own meditative prayer. I began the process by praying about it for several days, combined with long contemplations. I asked many questions about what was most important in living a spiritual life, and wrote down my thoughts as I began to gain clarity. These meanderings slowly took shape into a prayer consisting of seven four-line stanzas, and I began to use it for passage meditation.
Each edit has been very slight, and has been made only after considerable contemplation and reflection. After several years of using the original version, I made the first edit, changing a phrase to better reflect my understanding of the Sacred. Subsequent changes were made for the same reason – to bring the prayer into even tighter focus on core issues.
For me, the prayer resonates with the most important rules for living in this world. In a sense, it’s the logical expansion of my “Live in Harmony” creed, delving into what it means to me to live in spiritual harmony with all creatures and things.
Like many others, I believe we should focus far more energy on the spiritual aspect of living, and less on the material. Certainly, I need to earn a living, and hope to provide well for myself and my family. However, the search for riches as a means of happiness feels hollow to my spirit. To devote all of one’s energy to the gathering of money and possessions may fill the house and the bank account, but it won’t enrich your soul, and it won’t get you into heaven.
What does matter is living one’s life in service of others, and learning to live in the balance of all things. This means showing respect for all creatures and things, and protecting the environment for future generations. It means showing compassion to others, and respecting their beliefs even when they are different from mine or yours.
In essence, this prayer offers a way of living no different than that recommended by most religions. I intentionally wrote it in such a way that it not conflict with the teachings of the religions and spiritual philosophies that I have studied. Perhaps that is why Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindi and the followers of many different earth-based and indigenous life-ways have incorporated it into their daily lives.
I am honored and humbled that so many people and organizations have requested permission to use the prayer in hundreds of weddings, funerals and memorial services. Organizations have used it as an invocation at conferences, meetings and other special functions, and hundreds of churches have included it in privately distributed prayer books. It has been informally translated into several languages, and the Spiritual Association of Iceland offers both the English and Icelandic versions in their materials.
I have always allowed individuals to make a single copy of the prayer for their personal use, but I do ask that it not be distributed beyond the individual, preferring that other interested parties be sent to this web site instead. Please also include the copyright statement at the end, as well as lifewithspirit.org, so that others may find their way to this site. If you wish to include it in a project, please contact the foundation for permission. Unless you plan on distributing it widely and making significant money from the project, we will almost certainly allow you to use it free. We simply ask that if you realize a significant profit, that some small portion of that find its way back to the foundation to support our work.
Regardless of the path you follow, or the religion you espouse, I hope this prayer will help you live a more spiritual life, awash with joy and fulfillment. I hope it will assist you in living a life with Spirit!
Rev. Lane Baldwin