A Transformational Journey: 3 — A Prayer Bead Necklace

A Prayer Bead Necklace

Meditation room carpet_3
Meditation room carpet_3

The fourth cairn speaks of choosing a “shared path” through the cocoon. Once again, paradox becomes our traveling companion. For a truly sustainable path doesn’t begin until we reach the final cairn. And while it may seem that we are choosing a path, the path also chooses us. Finally, although a shared path is essential, each person’s path is solitary and unique.

We live in a consensual reality, an elaborate construct that is conjured up by the prism of our imprinted beliefs, perceptions, and expectations. In order to extricate ourselves from this well-fortified reality, we are obliged to fashion a special consensus. A shared path. Transformation is therefore a team sport. It is music that may only be played by a group.

Just as team sports have different positions, so are musical groups comprised of various instruments. This crucial dance between the individual and the group is elemental. It echoes the dilemma of modern physicists trying to understand how the basic nature of light can be both wave and particle.

In more practical terms, as we embark upon a shared transformational journey we must guard against the tendency to mistake another person’s instrument or position for our own. Or to displace our personal responsibilities onto the group. Or to force fit the position of goaltender, for example, onto a baseball team, or a French horn onto a string quartet.

The task, then, is for each of us to discover an intrinsic personal calling. A “path with heart.” And to then discern how our personal path meshes with those of others. As the mythical Yaqui shaman don Juan Matus advises,

Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.

Both paths [ultimately] lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

Light Morning’s path with heart has emerged out of the “hidden story” alluded to in the Four Cairns. It consists of three interrelated practices or disciplines–meditation, dream work, and prayer. Skill in the use of these tools may be developed both individually and as a group.

Back in the hippie era, pilgrims and wanderers would occasionally bring home prayer beads from their journeys to the East. Cylindrical in shape, these were hand painted with lovely, intricate designs. Each bead was a story in itself. We would thread them onto slender cords and wear them as necklaces.

The following “prayer bead necklace” has three strands, one for each facet of our shared path. Like the Four Cairns, it is simply one person’s interpretation of that path. Others who have given their hearts to Light Morning would surely offer complementary interpretations. Yet if all these versions were to pose for a family portrait, as it were, one would surely discern, in their faces and features, a striking resemblance.

Meditation

Meditation clarifies the mind.
Meditation teaches us to live in the moment.
Meditation ripens and awakens us.
Meditation helps us harness our impulses.
Meditation facilitates prayer.
Meditation is a gateway to lucid dreaming.

Dream Work

Dreams are pictures of feelings.
Dreams are teaching stories that quicken, guide, and comfort us.
Dreams are love letters from a secret admirer.
The forgotten language of dreams is our mother tongue.
In dreams, our hidden prayers are made visible.
Behind the veil of dreams lies a vast realm–numinous and perilous.
One way to explore this realm is through shared lucid dreaming.

Prayer

Daily life is the child of prayer.
Posture is prayer.
Appreciation is prayer.
Our expectations are powerful prayers.
Formulary prayer, used wisely, is effective.
Dream images can become templates for prayer.
Prayers for oneself and for others are indistinguishable.