Suppose you are a person who either prays or meditates—or both. Why do you do these things? What’s your objective in praying or meditating?

For many of us it’s a way of seeking to change something. We want to alter some aspect of ourselves, some feature of our life, some experience we are having.

What if we stopped trying to change things and simply began to embrace what is?

Would we still pray, and if so what would we say? Would we still meditate, and what would that meditation look like if we weren’t trying to make things different from the way we presently experience them?

The spiritual teacher Adyashanti says that much of what passes for meditation is actually “manipulation.”

His talk True Meditation, available online from Sounds True and other sources, is a powerful exposition of what it really means to meditate. It's totally in line with what Michael Brown shows in The Presence Process, the revised edition of which is now available.

Here’s the question to ask ourselves: Are we meditating, or are we manipulating—trying to change something instead of embracing what is?

In prayer, are we trying to get God to do something, make things different, change us somehow?

The desire to control things through prayer or meditation has nothing to do with spirituality. It’s the opposite of the spiritual path.

To embrace what is, as Eckhart Tolle explains, doesn’t mean things won’t change. But the change flows spontaneously and naturally from being, not from manipulating.

Change flows not from loathing our present situation but from being so fully accepting of what is that we embrace it completely, which leads to life opening up a greater opportunity for us.

Many of us pray for increased peace, more patience, a greater ability to be forgiving. What do we suppose will happen?

Does the divine magically funnel these into us somehow?

If so, how much does it funnel into us? Just a drop—or so much that we never need to ask again?

If it's not all the peace, patience, and forgiveness of others we will ever need, why would the divine restrict how much we receive? Aren't we supposed to become peaceful, patient, and forgiving?

Whether we pray or meditate, it’s a matter not of manipulating to “get” something or “accomplish” something.

It’s a matter of awakening to what’s already within us.

Do you recall how The Power of Now starts out in the first chapter? It’s the story of a beggar who had been sitting on a box for over thirty years. A stranger asked if he had ever looked in the box. When the beggar pried the lid open he discovered that the box was filled with gold.

Writes Eckhart, “I am that stranger who has nothing to give you and who is telling you to look inside, Not inside any box, as in the parable, but somewhere even closer: inside yourself.”

Prayer and meditation are ways of simply being with ourselves, relaxing into the essence of our being that is the infinite Presence at the heart of the cosmos, the core of all reality.

Then from this state of being flows everything that needs to happen—without any begging or pleading, and without any manipulation.

Author's Bio: 

David Robert Ord is author of Your Forgotten Self Mirrored in Jesus the Christ and the audio book Lessons in Loving--A Journey into the Heart, both from Namaste Publishing, publishers of Eckhart Tolle and other transformational authors. He writes The Compassionate Eye daily, together with his daily author blog The Sunday Blog, at