Project Conversion

Project Conversion


Surgery and Prayer.

posted by abowen

Sleep wasn’t an option last night, but a gesture. You see, my daughter undergoes surgery in two hours to have her tonsils removed. I fear needles, blood, and anything hospital-related. My wife is a nurse and so even the low probability of some horrible error runs ramped through her dreams. My daughter, well, I cursed her with my imagination. Luckily, her blanket, “Pooh,” is by her side.

We are all on edge. What options are there for situations where we have no control of the outcome? Many suggest prayer. Since I do not have a particular faith this month by which to guide my spiritual perspective, I thought I’d use all of them.

That covers me, but what about my daughter? Aside from Pooh blanket, what can she do to bring a restless and worried mind to peace?

I invited her to wake early with me this morning to meditate.

Me: “Focus on your breath. Try not to think of anything other than your breath.”

Daughter: “Can I still breathe?”

Me: “Well, yeah. You’re just thinking about your breath instead of the surgery.”

Daughter: “I wasn’t really thinking about it until now.”

Me: “Oh…Okay, so, are you ready to meditate?”

Daughter: “Sure.”

She set Pooh blanket aside, crossed her legs, and joined me in silent meditation.

I listened to her breath as we sat there in the haunting silence of the living room. The birds weren’t even awake. Her breath was a little forced, but with eyes closed, and her hands in her lap, she seemed focused. I just watched, listened. I remembered when we brought her home from the hospital, how “colicky” she was and the incessant crying…I could barely stand it. There was no inclination for prayer in those days, no Project Conversion experiences to choose from. I was helpless.

Here I am again, helpless in the path of this surgery. As we sat there in meditation, I realized that I was more worried than her, that I wasn’t meditating at all–only watching–either oblivious to or simply at peace with her lot. Am I being worried for her, and if so, would she want me that way?

Two minutes into the meditation she opened her eyes and asked if she could return to bed. “Sure,” I said, “Thanks for meditating with me.”

She said okay, swept Pooh blanket into her arms, and left me on the floor to worry.

Of course this got me thinking about prayer. What is it and what good does it do for us? Over the last few months I’ve come to think of prayer in many ways. We could say it’s mediation between the world and the divine. Others insist it’s a conversation with God, while some declare prayer as nothing more than wishful thinking.

Studies have shown that, in general, folks with a religious disposition usually fare better during times of stress than those without such a connection. Is there something there, an umbilicus between ourselves and the divine when we pray or meditate? Or are we experiencing a placebo effect wherein we think God is listening and caring for our worries, and therefore experience relief?

I don’t know. I don’t know if prayer works or if meditation is best. What I do know is that I have had several unique experiences over the last few months that, to some, prove that a subtle dialogue with the divine exists. Another thing is that, whether it’s true or not, prayer and meditation makes me feel better. There is a release, a catharsis associated with the practice.

So I ask, if the feeling is there and the desired effect reached, does it matter whether or not it’s true?

I posted a short story earlier this week called “The Siege” in which a family refuses medical treatment for their child because they believed so much in the power of prayer. In the story, the child dies. What the story suggests is that we can go too far with anything, even when praying.

What is prayer for you? Do you believe in the power of prayer? In light of so many religious traditions and as many prescriptions on how to pray, are any of them right or wrong? Do we pray simply because we feel helpless?

Meanwhile, whether you pray or weave good vibrations, I ask that you take a moment and send them our way for my oldest daughter. But don’t let me fool you. The prayers aren’t for the fears of a little girl, she’s asleep without a care, but the worries of her mother and father.

Thanks.



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Kitsune

posted June 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm


Heyo. Im totally going to answer this, hope you dont mind. :)

Yes and no, depending on how you look at it and whether or not you involve a deity (or four). Magick is typically thought of as manipulating the energy that is present in everything to “tweak” the Universe to make your desired outcome possible (this is simplistic, though. There is more to it than this, but I dont feel like getting into quantum physics and String Theory atm). It may or may not involve deities, however. Prayer is typically thought of as sending a deity your wishes and desires and hoping for an outcome or an intervention from said deity. There are people in Wicca who send their spells to their deity of choice and believe that said deity will do something, and this would be considered a type of prayer to me.

For me, magick and prayer are two separate things. I do my magick, normally, without the aid of a deity and I get results just fine. However, i do pray sometimes, without doing spells or rituals, and they are answered just fine as well. /shrug/



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Anonymous

posted June 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm


Good point. A popular scripture reads that “God helps those who help themselves.” There are many ways to take this, but either way you go, individual action and effort usually lead the way to results.

Thanks for the hugs!



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Anonymous

posted June 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm


I’m a huge fan of Karen Armstrong. I think she presents a valid point here, one that folks across many faiths must consider. As for my thoughts, this is where our concept of the divine comes into play. If there is a God, is it all-powerful, all-knowing, etc? If not, does it deserve worship?

We all know these lines of questioning, and only our individual faiths can offer comfort or answers. I know of a few people who have abandoned faith because of those very questions. In the end, I don’t think we’ll ever find answers (at least not on this plain), only belief one way or the other.



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Anonymous

posted June 24, 2011 at 3:08 pm


I’m a huge fan of Karen Armstrong. I think she presents a valid point here, one that folks across many faiths must consider. As for my thoughts, this is where our concept of the divine comes into play. If there is a God, is it all-powerful, all-knowing, etc? If not, does it deserve worship?

We all know these lines of questioning, and only our individual faiths can offer comfort or answers. I know of a few people who have abandoned faith because of those very questions. In the end, I don’t think we’ll ever find answers (at least not on this plain), only belief one way or the other.



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Anonymous

posted June 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm


“APE’s”. That’s awesome. Like goodwill currency.

Thanks for your thoughts, Editor, you’re a pal. Great question for October indeed!



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Anonymous

posted June 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm


“APE’s”. That’s awesome. Like goodwill currency.

Thanks for your thoughts, Editor, you’re a pal. Great question for October indeed!



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Kitsune

posted June 24, 2011 at 4:09 am


“Do or do not… there is no try.”

Trying is what prayer is to me. It is an excuse to say “this is all that I can do” and do nothing beyond that. In my faith, we have spells and rituals which serve to be a mean to an end, but we dont stop there. Say that I do a spell for weight loss. Well, I must reinforce said spell by eating right and exercising and not just believe that the Gods will give me what I want without working for it. And sure, we send energy, but its up to the person we are sending it to to use it, like a reservoir.

Your daughter will be fine. Tonsil surgery risks are fairly low nowadays, and your daughter is young enough to be resilient and old enough to have the highest chance of coming out of this groggy but otherwise perfectly fine. That surgeon has, most likely, trained for a good 8 years just to be able to do what he does, if not longer. However, I can totally understand that internal fear of your child leaving your sights for even a moment. “There’s this feeling when they [your children] are out of your sight – it takes your breath away until you see them again.”

Nonetheless, ((((hugs)))) for your wife and yourself, and healing energy will be sent to your daughter so she may recover quickly.



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Kitsune

posted June 24, 2011 at 4:09 am


“Do or do not… there is no try.”

Trying is what prayer is to me. It is an excuse to say “this is all that I can do” and do nothing beyond that. In my faith, we have spells and rituals which serve to be a mean to an end, but we dont stop there. Say that I do a spell for weight loss. Well, I must reinforce said spell by eating right and exercising and not just believe that the Gods will give me what I want without working for it. And sure, we send energy, but its up to the person we are sending it to to use it, like a reservoir.

Your daughter will be fine. Tonsil surgery risks are fairly low nowadays, and your daughter is young enough to be resilient and old enough to have the highest chance of coming out of this groggy but otherwise perfectly fine. That surgeon has, most likely, trained for a good 8 years just to be able to do what he does, if not longer. However, I can totally understand that internal fear of your child leaving your sights for even a moment. “There’s this feeling when they [your children] are out of your sight – it takes your breath away until you see them again.”

Nonetheless, ((((hugs)))) for your wife and yourself, and healing energy will be sent to your daughter so she may recover quickly.



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Tina

posted June 24, 2011 at 1:34 am


A sobering questions regarding the subject of prayer was posed by Karen Armstrong:

“I find it very difficult to ask God for things in the way that I was taught as a child. Do I believe God is going to take away my illness when he turned an entirely deaf ear to the 6 million Jews who went into the gas chambers?”

I find the older I get, the more I am not afraid to ask such hard questions of the religious perspective. It seems to me that prayer is greatly comforting for some and a heartbreaking, empty experience for others. Your thoughts?

Peace, Tina  



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Tina

posted June 24, 2011 at 1:34 am


A sobering questions regarding the subject of prayer was posed by Karen Armstrong:

“I find it very difficult to ask God for things in the way that I was taught as a child. Do I believe God is going to take away my illness when he turned an entirely deaf ear to the 6 million Jews who went into the gas chambers?”

I find the older I get, the more I am not afraid to ask such hard questions of the religious perspective. It seems to me that prayer is greatly comforting for some and a heartbreaking, empty experience for others. Your thoughts?

Peace, Tina  



report abuse
 

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