It's time to reclaim and broaden the word Prayer




It is time to reclaim and broaden the scope of the word “prayer.” One of my past mystery school teachers was a contemporary mystic named Ron Roth or Sri Ronji. One repetitive teaching Sri Ronji spoke of is about defining prayer. Sri Ronji taught one definition for the word “prayer” as “pal al” from the Sanskrit writings meaning “seeing yourself as wondrously made.” This is an affirmation we frequently use in our work in Flesh & Spirit Community, especially in creating safe and sacred space for erotic touch. Participants are guided to say to each other, “You are wondrously made.” Sri Ronji also shared another word for prayer in Aramaic (the language Jesus used) as "slotha". When Jesus spoke what is typically called The Lord's Prayer, he said, “When you pray , pray like this.” The Aramaic word “slotha.” means “to set (your mind as) a trap,” to catch the thoughts of God. Sri Ronji says, “I’ve come to see that prayer isn't about our words or thoughts. It’s about the realization of oneness with God and all creation. "What we hold in that trap is our interconnectedness.”


You are wondrously made

The journey of ecstatic work contains at its core these two intentions. To pray, knowing that everyBODY, despite shape, form, color, sex/gender, orientation, functional wholeness and dis-ease or wellness status is “wondrously made” along with knowing in the trap of one's mind that the phrase “We Are One” is central to freedom and prayer. I can imagine the ancient sacred prostitutes held these two intentions as they brought their bodies to serve Goddess/God and their celebrant in rituals of healing.

A thousand years after the temples of the sacred prostitutes were squelched or destroyed, a mythic vestige of the archetype resurfaces in the Christian literature. One of the Mary's (sometimes identified as Mary Magdalene) breaks a vase of oil to pour over the Christ's feet. She is depicted sensuously spreading the oil using her hair. I recognize this archetypal act as that of an erotic healer praying with her body and her heart, giving Christ anointing much as I imagine the sacred prostitutes did in the temples with pleasure.

Several Kinds of Prayer

Accentuating Sri Ronji's teaching of holding intention (or set-ting the trap of oneness and highest potential), I would refer also to the research of Larry Dossey, M.D. I heard Dr. Dossey speak about the research of using prayer for healing. The researchers used groups of people who would pray for those (whom they did not know) around their physical disease processes. When looking at two kinds of prayers offered by groups towards subjects, their findings indicated the groups that prayed with specific intentions like “get rid of this cancer” had less evidence of change than the group whose prayer was like holding the subject in love and light or Well-Being.

Erotic Body Prayer is the use of ecstatic states to propel a similar intention for the highest good. As we consider the rich body of research and analog material that teaches us of healing, it is always my desire to offer as many personal truths as may be found on a gi ven subject. While conducting an erotic body prayer session, specific themes, images or self-statements may emerge that allow one to set a more direct and clear intention than that implied in the Larry Dossey studies. “Body stories” may emerge in the process of the ecstatic exchange that becomes a direct prayer. Feelings, sensations and word clusters may show up around body image, sexual performance or function, religious shame or guilt, pleasure, and being witnessed erotically. “Nasty,” “dirty,” “prohibited,” and “unacceptable” are words and stories of judgment that the gift of pleasure may heal, when one realizes the erotic and spiritual are one.

An example of this happened while I was working with a man who was very overweight for his height. As we began some massage and ecstatic breath work, it was clear to both of us he felt great shame about his body form. A s imple acknowledgement of that shame allowed him to be more present. Using erotic touch in the massage with him, he seemed to lighten up, almost physically to my perception. As I closed the session, I did a Reiki treatment on him in which I felt pain and pressure in my left ear. I asked him, “Do you have an earache?” “Yes,” he said, “how do you know that?” I replied,“Well, I often feel things in my body where the energy is going in yours, thus I felt an ache in my ear.” “Wow,” he said. So in this instance it was clear to me I had been given some information that his ear was ready for healing. So I asked him to imagine the earache leaving as I simply spoke softly, “Earache leave. Be whole.” The intention here was very specific for physical healing. It was my belief he became available to the physical heal-ing after the emotional healing around the body had been released. His earache was gone and so was some of his shame. Sri Ronji speaks of mystics like Jesus never using prayer as pleading for something, but as a decree. There are times when it is clear that the healer is not interfering with the client’s life but acting in accordance with the client’s desire to heal body stories and embrace a full physical/spiritual manifestation. Each person’s soul journey influences when or how the healing manifests. In these cases you are not really stepping out on a limb by affirming their truth.

Concluding some ideas on the nature of prayer, I recognize it is often a process. I did some work with Elizabeth Kübler-Ross before she died. She spoke of marinating people in the energy of prayer. Whenever possible, “touch people as you marinate them in love,” she said. She loved working with babies, especially babies born with HIV. Marinating the babies in love often had miraculous results.

Throughout my life, I have been privileged to work with many healers and shamans from many traditions. Often through the energetic presence of the healer, a decree or a ritual, I have seen miracles take place. And what I also know from these practitioners is that a cancer, a pain, a circumstance may be relieved, but if the client does not do his/her own psychological, emotional, spiritual, and body story work, the ailment will often reappear.

Pleasuring Prayer
Pleasuring prayer encompasses all these ideas and consists of simply charging our bodies while setting an intention. Pleasure raises the energy to set in motion the intention in our hearts. Pleasuring prayer also may allow us to re-wire some of the old stories in our bodies weaving all these concepts together. Pleasure is a moment in which we experience wholeness. Although the old stories may emerge in response to pleasure as some form of judgment, in the actual moment of pleasure there are no stories of shut downs, numbness, or sabotage. This is truly a Holy moment, for it is a glimpse of wholeness. In pleasuring prayer, as we touch ourselves and each other we affirm “You are wondrously made. I am wondrously made.” An intention held and propelled to the universe with pleasure.

Flesh & Spirit Community began an experiment called “Pleasuring Prayer” as part of our regular ri tuals. The body story which said, the erotic and the spiritual are separate surfaced as we began. As the circle of men set an intention. (around a concern) and then moved into guided methods of self pleasure or interactive pleasure to propel this prayer out to the Universe feelings started to bubble up. One brother set an intention for his daughter’s healing. As we began our self pleasuring exercises to raise the energy on her behalf the gap between his religious training, witnessing genital touch and praying brought feelings of disconnection he had learned. from childhood on. Healing often starts with naming the story. Being able to name the disconnection allowed him to have a new choice of experiencing pleasure,erotic feelings and prayer as whole and holy. It takes a peaceful warrior spirit to to be willing to know oneself that fully. Sometimes pleasure maybe the most revealing part of becoming whole.

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