My relationship to praying has been both sweet and bitter. Transitioning from religion to spirituality in my early teenage years, I felt that praying was just a way for religion to keep people in a state of fear, to indoctrinate and control. As a result, I crossed praying off my spiritual emergency kit for 6 whole years, and it wasn’t until last March that I got reacquainted with its true power.
“I had to hit my knees and surrender in order to hear,” writes Gabrielle Bernstein in Spirit Junkie, a quote which completely revolutionized my perspective on praying. The key to this quote is the word surrender, which unveils the ability of prayer to open us up to receive infinite guidance and wisdom from Spirit. Whenever life causes us to ask for an improved situation, we are instantly given the answer to it. However, instead of easing through our struggles and trusting that the guidance will come to us, we instead choose to push against it. We doubt ourselves, obsess with the problem, and struggle towards coming up with a satisfying solution. As a result, we activate the vibration of the problem to such a great extent, that we no longer have access to the solution.
When Darkness Turns to Light
I’ve experienced the detriment of this incessant need of perfectionism and problem-solving at a very young age.
It all begun in 1990, when I was born in the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Being a small and conservative society, Cyprus is almost intolerant to difference. For as long as I can remember myself, I was always the one standing out in a crowd. I was shy, introverted and preferred spending my time building tree houses and chatting with the fairies. Feeling like a misfit, I decided that the only way to be accepted in a world of stereotypes was to become one myself. As a result, I became a perfectionist and pledged to be the perfect student, citizen and son.
At 15 years old I discovered I was gay. At the time, gay people were considered to be pedophiles and criminals in Cyprus – labels that would completely destroy my grand plan of sameness and conformity. To safeguard any chance I had for a “normal” life, I decided to change myself. That was when I entered the two most depressing and debilitating years of my life. In two years, I tried to modify every aspect of myself that could betray my sexuality. When I couldn’t achieve that to a satisfying extent, I rendered myself a human abomination and decided to commit suicide.
Fortunately, before it was too late, I experienced a shift in perception that literally saved my life. At that low moment, when I had given up all resistance and hope, I realized that I had a choice. I could simply accept myself, embrace my freakiness, and learn to love me no matter what. Thinking back on that day, I now know that it wasn’t until I finally surrendered all the struggle and resistance, that I could finally see the answer that was always available to me. In other words, only when I stopped criticizing, bullying, and trying to change myself, could I see things clearly and take a positive approach.
Fortunately, you don’t need to hit the bottom before you can have such a breakthrough, for surrendering can be easily achieved through prayer. The act of getting on our knees to pray, acts in a symbolic way to curtail the wrath of the ego, and open us up to the divine guidance that is readily available to us. Praying in this manner lets our subconscious mind know that our human body and mind are powerless in face of a particular issue, and it’s now time for God to take over, to instill us with guidance and inspiration. The moment of surrender is not powerless as I once thought, it is a moment of unconditional power, as we finally realize that we are not just human, but we are physical extensions of that pure-positive, all-loving and invincible power that is God.