+ inbox Asking Sept 10 14460862_sIn her book, “Traveling Mercies,” Anne Lamott talks about a difficult relationship with a fellow pre-school mom that she decides to pray about. Lamott writes a little note to God about the problem and puts it in what she calls “God’s Inbox.” After a few days, she goes back to her memo and underlines her message – underscoring the importance of her request. More time passes and, wanting to make sure God is aware of the urgency of her problem, she takes out the memo and adds an exclamation point for emphasis. There! Surely now God gets the point!

The exclamation point always makes me smile, but there are several other aspects of this story that appeal to me. I like that Lamott has a process for praying, that she consciously asks for help, that she attends to her request. Her “God’s Inbox” is a unique way of praying, but no less effective than a formal prayer or a few words uttered under your breath in a moment of need.

There are many ways to pray and many aspects to prayer. Before I can enter into a discussion about prayer, however, I find myself a little tangled up with the language itself. Praying and God are both words that I associate with my religious upbringing and which I find are no longer the only language I use to express either the process or the energy I am touching in with. In my current spiritual vocabulary, praying is asking – in the sense of calling or inviting in, consulting, opening, expanding into. I think of God as Spirit, Source, the Universe, Mother/Father God, Oneness, Divine Energy. I use all these words (and a few more!) interchangeably, depending on the spiritual orientation of the person I’m speaking with and my sense of what language will best express my thoughts at the time.

What I’m asking for is help, guidance, insight, inspiration, strength, peace, ease, patience, empowerment – you name it. More often than not, I ask for qualities, rather than specific outcomes. For example, when I ask for “inspiration” to help me with a problem, I am asking for ideas, rather than limiting myself to a solution. After asking for inspiration, I notice what comes into my thoughts and begin to discern if it is something to try out. Generally, no matter what I’m asking about, I hold it for the highest well-being of everyone involved (which just about covers it!) and which often brings in a better result than I could have envisioned on my own.

When things are particularly challenging, I ask others to help me by keeping me in their thoughts, praying for me, putting me in their own God’s Inbox – whatever works for them. Calling in some support reinforces my own efforts. Awhile ago, a friend and I were each having some tough situations in our lives. We agreed to hold each other in our consciousness. We set a time of day when we would “tune into the ethers” together and hold our situations for ourselves and each other. This was over a year ago, and both of us have experienced good resolutions to these problems. Outcome being what it may, it was a great experience just to know that she was “on it” for me, and I for her.

When praying, asking, or opening up – call it what you will – I experience a sense of communication. Communication brings connection with “Other” – Source, Oneness, Highest Self. Connection reminds me that I am not just my problems, concerns, relationships; I am part of the Universe. I am Essence, and Essence knows it is supported, held, helped, loved, guided.

I believe that Essence is Source, the highest vibrational energy. So, by connecting with Essence, I’m in resonance with this vibration. This brings in a beautiful dynamic of co-creation when I’m praying/asking. I’m not asking Source to take this all on, I’m inviting my Self to connect with Source. I am part of the process. I am co-creating with the Divine.

One often hears the advice to “look within” for answers, truth, etc. It is my sense that what is “within” is Essence. Connection with that energy brings all that is needed. “God’s Inbox” is actually our Highest Self, in a sense. Putting a memo into it will call in help, support, and guidance. The inbox is already there. All I need to do is ask.

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