Prayer to the ocean

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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Mad Jax
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Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:55 pm

Re: Prayer to the ocean

Post by Mad Jax » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:58 pm

MerrieMiss wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:15 pm
So yes, I had a meditative prayer near the ocean and it soothed my mind to see the ocean as the embodiment of something greater and bigger than myself. Is this god? Is this prayer? That’s for everyone to decide for themselves, I suppose. All I know, is that it was a moment filled with peace and awe and beauty, quite unlike three hour church on Sunday or a temple ceremony.
Well I'm glad you had such an experience. I practiced Buddhism to a degree while I was in therapy, mostly meditation, but it was more about quieting the mind, and not about connecting to nature or anything. If I'm being honest, I don't think I could make such a connection. My mind just... doesn't go there, if that makes sense. But I'm not suggesting that experience was any less real for you.
Free will is a golden thread flowing through the matrix of fixed events.

Reuben
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Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:01 pm

Re: Prayer to the ocean

Post by Reuben » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:21 pm

Mad Jax wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:58 pm
MerrieMiss wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:15 pm
So yes, I had a meditative prayer near the ocean and it soothed my mind to see the ocean as the embodiment of something greater and bigger than myself. Is this god? Is this prayer? That’s for everyone to decide for themselves, I suppose. All I know, is that it was a moment filled with peace and awe and beauty, quite unlike three hour church on Sunday or a temple ceremony.
Well I'm glad you had such an experience. I practiced Buddhism to a degree while I was in therapy, mostly meditation, but it was more about quieting the mind, and not about connecting to nature or anything. If I'm being honest, I don't think I could make such a connection. My mind just... doesn't go there, if that makes sense. But I'm not suggesting that experience was any less real for you.
If you want to look into the neuropsychology of experiences like that, check out "self-transcendence." There's evidence that many of those experiences are correlated with quieting the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is involved in reasoning about the self in relation to its physical and social context - and also physical and emotional pain.

So if you're hurting or under threat, the self becomes big and important as your brain fires up that ACC and demands that you fix the problem right now. If you can't, which happens with most emotional pain and threat, it helps to have a self-transcendent experience. It doesn't even have to be an amazing one, but those seem to have the longest-lasting effects.

For example, a new treatment under study for treatment-resistant depression is to induce a self-transcendent experience under a doctor's immediate care using psilocybin (as in magic mushrooms). IIRC, in the study, it worked really well and had to do with changing ACC activation. Another: psychologists induced a minor self-transcendent experience in some subjects of an experiment by having them stare up at very tall trees. Those that did engaged in more pro-social behavior later.

I think we're meant to have these experiences. We have a lot of words for them, major and minor: wonder, awe, admiration, love, peace, joy, flow, connection, mindfulness, belonging.

My last major one convinced me that I need more of them when it pulled me out of a funk that threatened to spiral out of control. It came about via positive self-talk: as I imagined telling myself why it was okay to miss work one day, my self's boundaries melted away and I felt at peace with everything. I used to have a lot more of these experiences, but as a last F*ck You from the church, I haven't trusted them for almost two years because the church had used them to convince me of things that can't be true.

Now, my main sources of self-transcendence are meditation and meditative cycling (mindfulness); the subreddits r/BeAmazed (wonder), r/HumansBeingBros (admiration), r/happy (joy) and r/travel (awe); programming (flow); and sex (just wow).
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

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EternityIsNow
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Re: Prayer to the ocean

Post by EternityIsNow » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:05 am

Sometimes I think these moments with nature are part of the higher purpose of our lives. These are priceless moments.

We are always in nature, we don't have to go anywhere. We are part of nature. We are nature. I think we can be self-aware at any time and any place and commune with nature. We simply need to address our minds to that purpose. And that purpose comes to be.

Spoiler: the purpose of life is to be human. To experience everything that comes with living human life. Our life. Which includes these wonderful moments of nature along with every other experience, throughout our lives.

I talk to the universe whenever I feel the need to commune with something outside myself, something other than those around me. And I know the universe is listening, because I am connected to everything in the universe. We all are.

Thoughtful
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Re: Prayer to the ocean

Post by Thoughtful » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:08 am

Yesterday we did the helicopter tour of Kauai, and it was the most spiritual experience of my entire life. I felt "warm fuzzies" for two hours afterward, like the endorphins you get after giving birth. Between
n to testimony meeting, it was no comparison. Listening to Handel's Messiah in a symphony hall, or how I feel after working at the soup kitchen, or how I feel holding a sleeping puppy.... these are closer to seeing the face of God than the celestial room.

Love what is written above about self transcendent experiences.

Reuben
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Joined: Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:01 pm

Re: Prayer to the ocean

Post by Reuben » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:59 am

EternityIsNow wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:05 am
Sometimes I think these moments with nature are part of the higher purpose of our lives. These are priceless moments.

We are always in nature, we don't have to go anywhere. We are part of nature. We are nature. I think we can be self-aware at any time and any place and commune with nature. We simply need to address our minds to that purpose. And that purpose comes to be.
You know, for all of my intellectualizing to myself and others, I totally agree with this. What I (personally) need the neuropsychology for is to distance myself enough from what the church teaches to make self-transcendence feel safe again. Having more details about how it works is icing on the cake. For the most part, though, now I can just let it be.

What I love about regarding myself as part of nature is that if I want to narrow my purpose further than just being, I can do it. It's my choice, unfettered by whether it's an approved choice, and independent of the purity of my soul or my past behavior.

(Interestingly, the Mormon version of grace I used to believe in had granted about half of my current freedom.)
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

Bremguy
Posts: 42
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Location: Seattle Area

Re: Prayer to the ocean

Post by Bremguy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:17 pm

To a great degree, we are all one. We were all together in whatever the Big Bang was. We were all the same singularity, then as the heavens cooled and started forming gas, atoms, molecules, the stars , galaxies, the planets, and everything else we can, and cannot see. You, I, the other readers in NOM, are made up of the same stuff. Part of me could be the atom that was next to you.

I think, when we give homage to things in our world, like the ocean, forests, trees, birds, we are giving praise to whatever, whoever created us.

I can remember as a kid, going salmon fishing with my Dad in the Puget Sound and other areas in the Seattle Washington area. I loved it when the sun rose, and you could see it and its glory. I felt a certain oneness with everything, that feeling has never left me. When I get down, I find a boat launch or park on the Sound, and just look out at what is around me. It really calms me down.
Live Long and Prosper

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