I would like to share with you a joy that was given me by a friend and one of the men in our Men’s Group recently. I was hosting this particular week and got to choose what our topic for discussion would be (our meetings are comprised of checking-in during the first hour (no crosstalk) followed by a short break, then whoever is hosting can pose a question for the group). I asked the question “What methods do you use to turn off your monkey mind when meditating?” This gentleman was kind enough to send me an email later in the week recommending a book by one of the premier Hindu writers of our time, one Eknath Easwaran, entitled “Conquest of Mind”. In this book (he has written many, drawing from all major religions and sages), this famous Hindu spiritual leader asks his readers to adopt a special prayer to help them with their meditations. The prayer he most commonly recommends is, surprisingly, from St. Francis of Assisi. I’d like to share this short prayer with you. Please note Mr. Easwaran's comments that follow the prayer as he explains to whom this prayer is addressed:
"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
In memorizing the prayer, it may be helpful to remind yourself that you are not addressing some extraterrestrial being outside you. The kingdom of heaven is within us, and the Lord is enshrined in the depths of our own consciousness. In this prayer we are calling deep into ourselves, appealing to the spark of the divine that is our real nature.”
"Christian mystics call this center of personality 'the Christ within.' In Sanskrit it is called simply Atman, 'Self'. Mr. Easwaran suggests that the Buddha would not even go this far in trying to identify the nature of nirvana, to use the Buddha's term. "This is the great paradox of mysticism: until you enter nirvana... you will not be able to understand what nirvana is."
1. Eknath Easwaran (2018). Conquest of Mind: Take Charge of Your Thoughts & Reshape Your Life Through Meditation. Nilgiri Press.
2. Ibid, From “An Eight=Point Program”, section 1 – “Meditation on a Passage”.
3. Ibid, From Chapter 5 “Learning to Swim”.