Beliefnet

B. Dave Walters is a bit of a guru. Not in the cheesy, obnoxious sales pitch manner or the robe wearing silence way, but in a “knowledgeable-about-lots-of-spiritual-stuff-and-willing-to-share” kind of way. In fact, he's so knowledgeable that he's been able to make a living from his guidance as a life coach and spiritual adviser. Not content to limit his expertise to those interested in one-on-one work, he also is the National Spirituality Reporter for Examiner.com, providing insight into the religions of yesteryear and the future. Prayables.com sat down with the self-proclaimed “Web Monk” to learn more about his perspectives on prayer and interfaith dialogue.

You are a life coach and spiritual adviser. Your website, , describes your services for individuals, couples and families, as well as your spiritual coaching programs. Can you elaborate a little on the systems you use, their utility, and how important spirituality is to personal growth?

Spirituality is absolutely the corner stone of personal growth; without a connection to the Infinite, we don't have anything. My motivation for getting into coaching in the first place was to help bridge the gap that many people experience between what they’ve been taught their entire lives, and the lack of fulfillment they feel in their day to day lives.

The catch is, many people aren't interested in hearing about spirituality beyond what they've been taught their whole lives! So, what I tend to do is introduce lessons and even quotes from other spiritual systems and talk about it in terms of things you can use rather than things you should 'believe'.

My foundation is Christianity, but mostly of the Gnostic variety; I also frequently draw upon Buddhism, Taoism because they are very practical, and easy to apply.

Our website focuses on the power of prayer. What role does prayer play in your coaching?

It's absolutely pivotal! I don't really draw a big distinction between prayer and meditation, since what's important is stilling your mind and emotions enough to connect with the Infinite. I do draw a HUGE distinction between talking 'at' God and talking *with* God; real vibrant prayer is two-way communication.

What do you believe in?

I've coined the term 'Gnostic Theism' to describe my personal beliefs. Gnostic, because I believe the real answers to life can only come from within; and Theism because I believe God is always present and available at all places, all the time.

I also believe that the vast majority of the world's Faiths are valid paths to connection with the Divine; the problems only start when we start debating who's God Man is the 'right' one, and who has the 'only' truth. The fact is, there is no single path that is right for all people at all times in all circumstances.

Do you pray? How often? Where? When? How? What does prayer do for you?

Yes, I pray every day. In terms of (trying to) maintain a sense of presence and mindfulness, I could say I am praying constantly.I settle down to meditate at least once a day, but I try for 2-3 times a day when I settle down and still my mind and emotions and just pay attention to what manifests. It's in that stillness that the messages I receive from the Creator come through the strongest.

I also make extensive use of visualization to go into my 'inner temple' and commune with God and the Angels directly.  This might seem like a strange thing to say, and I freely admit it might be 'all in my head' but the experience is powerful and transformative. Can't argue with results, right?

You are also the National Spirituality Reporter for Examiner.com. Your specialty is ancient and alternative modes of spirituality. In your expert opinion, do you believe that prayer is a shared practice among these faiths? What role does it play?

I believe prayer is common to all forms of spirituality, no matter what you call it. It's built into our DNA to wonder what's out there and where we come from, and to seek that thing out.  It's also normal to call out to that Power in times of fear and stress; like the old saying goes: 'there is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole'.

I also believe the true benchmark of a living viable Faith is how much emphasis it puts on the individual forming a connection to their Creator; the more you are encouraged to rely on what someone is telling us, versus what we can find for ourselves, the farther we are from a true knowledge of the Divine.

As the National Spirituality Reporter, you report on a wide variety of spiritual issues across the country. What have you noticed about the spiritual pulse in America? What role does prayer play in it?

I feel like we are at a crossroads. I feel like the old systems aren't answering the questions of modern life.  Well, that's not true; the old ways still have all the answers we need, but the message has been distorted by hatred, intolerance, corruption and greed. Anyone who takes the time to sit down with their holy book will find a great deal of wisdom inside of it; but our microwave culture makes it hard to focus, sometimes.

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