Nestled within the Lord’s Prayer is everything we ever need; it contains it all. Here, then, are the Guide’s teachings about how we can apply it in a personal way to solve any problem.
This short phrase may conjure up a picture of God as a literal father to humankind. So as we say these words softly inside ourselves, we can meditate on how this must apply to everyone, even those we don’t happen to like. We can let the slideshow run of all those people we have some disharmony with, including those we full-on hate and those we just feel some minor resistance to or irritation with. Dropping into stillness, we can pause and consider that these people too are children of God.
In fact, we can only call ourselves children of God if we’re willing to open the gates to all the creeps and crapheads in our world. Either no one’s in this flock or everyone is, even those who bring up unpleasant feelings in us. Opening our arms this wide has the subtle effect of shifting our attitude and therefore our feelings, even if ever so slightly. We will become more free and relaxed.
Our first reaction to opening to inclusion may be resistance; our feelings aren’t always so willing to change. In fact, holding onto strong negative feelings creates tight inner knots inside us, and they aren’t so quick to let go. So consider any resistance to be red flags saying ‘ding, ding, ding, there’s a knot here waiting to be dissolved.’ Important tip: try not to ignore red flags.
Whenever we have angst about another, there is something in us that needs attention, no matter how wrong the other person may be. This insight unlocks the latch on whatever we need to straighten out inside ourselves, making us ready for new recognitions, teachings or inspirations. Then real, practical means can show up to help us free ourselves from our stuck, stinking state.
Ask for it. Want it. And then all of a sudden, as we sit in meditation and deeply ponder these words and how we can apply them, a pressure will lift up off our chests. The lock will release and we will feel ourselves freed from a heavy burden.
Here’s another way to work with this. We can skip over everything that bugs us about someone, and visualize how they are perfect. Where is that divine spark in them? How does it show itself? Never forget that all who seek will find. We can actively search for the qualities in them that stream from their Higher Self—the ones that qualify them to also be called children of God.
We have to learn to draw a line between Higher Self qualities and those coming from the Lower Self domain. We can pinpoint which comes from where. The Higher Self is eternal and immortal—it’s of God. The Lower Self is temporary and based on illusion. Let’s start by looking at the home team before we start sizing up others. Once we can distinguish both in ourselves, it won’t be so hard to love our neighbor; it will become so much easier to recognize someone we don’t like as our brother or sister. Then our own Higher Self can stream forth and connect with the Higher Self in the other. Namaste.
That’s what’s contained in the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer: our father.
WHO ART IN HEAVEN
Heaven is inside us, not outside. So we must look for what we’re seeking—to find our own perfection—within, where it already exists. It may however be covered over and difficult to find. We must also seek heaven, which is the same as seeking God, inside the soul of our brothers and sisters—even of the ones we reject. That’s where we can find the eternal, living God.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME
The way to hallow the name of God, the father, is to try to fathom his laws and follow them. And there are a bunch of spiritual laws—one for every aspect of life. Whenever we find ourselves stumped by any life situation, it means we haven’t found the specific law we’re violating.
So when we say we want to hallow thy name, we are really asking, “Where am I struggling? What are my problems? Somewhere I am not in keeping with a spiritual law, even if I’m not aware of it—and I don’t want to do this any more. Show me.”
By asking God to help us understand what spiritual law we are breaking, we learn to establish a personal connection with God, and in that way we truly hallow his name. For any time we are willing to be in truth about our problems, asking for help with an honest heart, we will get an answer. It may not come at exactly the same moment of our asking, but if we open our eyes and look, life will bring us answers.
THY KINGDOM COME
When we follow spiritual laws, hallowing God’s name, we also bring ourselves closer to his kingdom. Because it’s within. But if we had to think about where God’s kingdom is, most of us would put it “somewhere out there.” We think it’s going to descend to Earth and all we’ll have to do is go to where God’s kingdom is and walk in. Many of us have this kind of vague made-up idea rolling around in our imaginations.
Our work, however, is to create God’s kingdom within ourselves. And that can only happen when we successfully navigate our way through Earth school, learning about spiritual laws and applying them in the proper way.
THY WILL BE DONE
Simple but not easy, this one. We’re the ones making it so hard. We go around claiming we don’t know what God’s will is, but for sure, if we knew it, we would totally follow it. We forget about that part where our prayers for assistance are never answered with a stone. So if we try to make contact with Spirit World of God, asking to know his will and desiring to fulfill it, we’re going to get an answer. Even while we still have doubt. We don’t need to rack our brains wondering ‘what, oh what, would God have me do?’ If we’re unsure, we only need to turn to the areas where we don’t yet need an answer. The answers will then become obvious, once we start to think.
Here’s a no-brainer: God’s will is for each one of us to follow a path—in whatever way it appears—toward purification of our souls. We can also bet on it being God’s will that we face ourselves honestly, instead of doing what we usually do, which is to push away anything that makes us uneasy. Then we blame circumstances or other people, hoping to find a scapegoat so we won’t have to look within for what’s the matter.
Take any inner resistance, contemplate its cause for a moment, and Shazam, we can be sure to find that we have violated a divine law. No one else’s wrongdoing or error of any kind has the power to make us feel disharmonious inside unless there’s something amiss inside us as well. In the end, any of our inner feelings of disharmony—heaviness, anger, resistance, fear—signal that we have, in some way, failed to fulfill the will of God.
Something in us, then, doesn’t square with the world. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so much darkness in some of our life situations. Again, if we wholeheartedly want to know what it’s about and how to fulfill God’s will, we only need to ask. The answer may take a while, but sooner or later it must come.
Don’t be afraid. God’s will is not something to fear. It’s always wise and loving and leads us to happiness, even if this means struggling through a tricky transition. We can ask ourselves, “Am I ready to sign up for doing God’s will, even if I’m not crazy about it at first?”
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
OK, now what on Earth does this mean? Are we really praying that God’s will be done in heaven—you know, that mysterious “somewhere” located somewhere “out there”? More than that, if such a place existed, would it need our prayers that God’s will be done there? Do we think that, like, we would have some say in this? Certainly not.
In truth, we do have some say, to some degree, here on Earth, if we follow a spiritual path of self-development as a way to spread more light into the world, working on behalf of God’s kingdom here on the home planet.
But keep in mind, heaven is within. That’s where our spirit is hanging out in all it’s original perfection, waiting for us to break through the walls of our Lower Self to find it. To what extent is this God within—the essence of who we are—already manifesting in our earthly reality? Where does God not yet shine through into our actions, our thoughts and our feelings? Try this on for size: where do we hold some tight conviction or opinion that we cling to, believing it is God’s will? Would we be willing to loosen our death grip and let it go, considering the possibility that maybe it’s not quite so? Or would we rather hang on, convincing ourselves it must be this way?
Really try to find an area in life where you cling to something. Now, be honest: is it more important to know the truth or cling to a tightly held conviction? If we’re right, do we trust that we can let it go and God will confirm it? Any time we feel a tightening band of rigidity—regardless of whether our opinion is actually right—we prevent the heavenly kingdom from manifesting within. Of course, if we’re in error, we’re already blocking the truth and God’s kingdom stays locked away.
GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD
We tend to repeat this part like a mantra, without giving it too much thought. We assume, although often without clearly formulating the thought, that earning our keep doesn’t have much to do with God. But truly, we can’t do anything good if it’s not blessed by God. Without his help and guidance, we’re dead in the water, no matter how hard we try again and again.
If we’ve done even a little self-development work, we have enough awareness to reflect on our lives and see which parts had God’s blessing and which did not. Feel the difference? How about looking at areas where we repeatedly fail—our trouble spots. What’s the real reason for this? Where did we go wrong? Where is our attitude off base? These questions are good food for thought. Can we surrender ourselves entirely to God?
In saying this part of the Lord’s Prayer, we are asking to be guided in obtaining both our earthly bread and our spiritual sustenance. Typically, our spiritual bread is terribly neglected; we think it matters so much less than our material bread. No, folks, it’s the other way around. Our spiritual bread feeds our soul and is much, much, much more important. We need to want it—to desire to be spiritually nourished. This is the gateway through which all our earthly problems get resolved, and not vice versa. Once we start yearning for spiritual bread, we are making nice progress in moving along our spiritual path.
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES
The operative word here is “us.” We’re asking God to forgive us, not me alone. That means everyone, including those who have hurt us and who we may still be struggling to forgive. If we can honestly wish that God forgives them, we free ourselves from a dark spiritual form inside us that attracts harmful energies and other dark influences. Wow, now that’s really saying something.
So we’re really asking that God forgive not only us and those we love, but also those against whom we still hold a grudge. That’s what we’re really guilty of and for which we can ask to be forgiven.
Let’s talk about this guilt for a minute, because often we are not clear about our own actual guilt. Instead, we produce exaggerated feelings of guilt that are not justified; they are false and unhealthy. Here’s how the inner process works. We don’t want to admit to the areas where our guilt is justified, where a genuine, constructive repentance would go a long ways without dragging us down or discouraging us. We could ask God to forgive us, and if we really want to change, we will feel liberated by the forgiveness we receive. A burden will lift off our shoulders when we carry through with our sincere, good intentions.
But no, too often we won’t face our real guilt. In our pride, we want to see ourselves as better than we are. Beyond this, we know that inner change isn’t easy; it won’t happen overnight and an effort will be required.
From the core of our being, signals arise that spur us to recognize our guilt—where we are in the wrong. But our Lower Self, with its pride and laziness, gets into the mix, so we adopt a guilt that isn’t genuine. It’s like we’re saying, “You know, I’m really sorry about everything, but I’m not the one who’s really guilty here.” This hidden notion needs to be brought into the light of day. Seeing it will help move us from suffering false guilt to gaining real forgiveness.
Here’s a nice bonus: once we recognize our real guilt, we automatically lose all false guilt complexes that pull us down; we will know peace. The struggle is in opening ourselves wide so we can overcome our own resistance. We’re afraid to admit to our real guilt—where we have in some way hurt someone else—preferring instead to cover up our faults. In that moment, we want to be better than we are and can’t accept that, right now, we’re not very perfect. Facing our real guilt for this truth will lead to liberation; sitting with false guilt complexes will not. The truth might be a bitter pill to swallow, but that’s our medicine that will help us heal. False guilt only leads to more of the same, with heaviness and sadness heaped on top.
We need to examine ourselves closely to see all this. It is only by penetrating all our layers of delusion that we find how we are responsible for causing pain. In our actions or emotions, we have violated some spiritual laws and we can ask God to forgive us; we can also ask to be shown the error of our ways and how to change. Only after we free ourselves in this way can we totally forgive another. Expecting forgiveness for ourselves, then, goes hand-and-hand with being ready to forgive. And then once we’ve experienced the balm of God’s forgiveness, we will be able to forgive ourselves. This leads us to the next line in the prayer.
AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US
How many times have we said the Lord’s Prayer knowing full well that we have no intention of forgiving someone? That’s called self-deception, or aka, kidding ourselves. While we may be past the point of hate, resentment still smolders and until we’re clear from that, we’re not free enough to have spiritual experiences. We lack the ability to completely forgive because we lack the ability to understand the other person. This, though, we can pray for help with—to gain the insight we are lacking. As long as we really want it and are willing to stop wallowing in our resentments—which we like to do, a lot—then all this will be given to us.
The thing we are most thickheaded about understanding is that there are things we can’t do by ourselves. Like forgive. We all need help on this one. That’s why this phrase is included in the Lord’s Prayer. If we could forgive all on our own using the power of our will alone, we wouldn’t need to pray for help, would we? Like, for example, we don’t need to ask for help moving from Point A to Point B because we have legs we can move at will. But forgiveness, that we need to ask for help with. That, and the ability to face ourselves in total honesty—to come to know ourselves without our masks. And to tackle our resistance and make real inner change. So we must pray.
Remember, not forgiving is a light-blocking burden that makes our heart unhappy. It harms us way more than it harms the one we won’t forgive. We need to be willing to confront ourselves: “Do I really and truly forgive so-and-so from the bottom of my heart?” When we are able to see clearly that we can’t yet quite get there alone, we can always ask for help.
LEAD US IN OUR TEMPTATIONS
Notice the nuance of the wording here. What we usually say is “Lead us not into temptation,” which can easily create a harmful misconception. For God doesn’t lead us into temptation. Rather, what this phrase means is that we should pray that God will lead us when we are feeling tempted. We pray that God guides us so we resist temptation, helping us have the fortitude to be victorious. Regardless which words we choose to say, it is important that we have a correct understanding about the concept.
So what exactly is temptation? To begin with, it’s within us; it doesn’t come to us from the outside. Even if it did, we wouldn’t yield to it if it didn’t have a matching receptor site inside us. We have to learn that we can be tempted, and in just what way. For instance, can we be tempted to commit murder? Of course not. But we can be tempted to give in to our own faults, whatever they are. So we need to get to know our own faults. We should list them out so we remember them and then pray for help in overcoming them. As with forgiveness, we can’t tackle our faults all on our own. But notice how tempting it is to think we can—that we don’t need any help.
Call it what we may—the devil, evil, Satan or bum luck—nothing bad can get at us unless we have something in us that responds. So it’s an error to think that we can pray for God to keep bad things away. No, the germ of whatever tempts us lives in our own Lower Self, the crust that envelops our perfect inner self. The dark forces merely serve as instruments to draw it out. They bring our negativities right into our awareness where, if we want to, we can fight them. If that germ of evil remained dormant, with no chance of manifesting, we wouldn’t come a single step closer to perfection and genuine bliss. (Did you just catch a glimpse of the genius of God’s laws?)
BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
Same idea—the evil is in us. If it were only outside us, it couldn’t touch us. We can drop this thought into our prayers, asking Christ to help us overcome temptations so that we can deliver ourselves from evil. We’re the only ones who can do this—with the help of God and Christ, just as promised.
Try asking for help, but don’t try going it alone. We aren’t strong enough for that. Even with all our willpower and unceasing effort, we’re as powerless as God—or Christ or any spirit helper—would be without our will to free ourselves. So both are needed: our willpower and the help of God. We need to come at things from both angles, doing our own work and also asking for spiritual help, over and over.
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM
God’s kingdom is within. It belongs to God and no one else.
God’s power makes us capable of love and understanding. It lifts the lid on the darkness and imperfection we have carried with us for so many lifetimes. It cleanses us and illuminates the truth, bringing us to the ultimate conclusion.
AND THE GLORY
This we can only attain by following God’s will.
The Lord’s Prayer is the most beautiful of all prayers because of the way it holds everything—yes, everything—we need to live a glorious life. So much more could be said, but we can also access further depths of meaning ourselves by making this a living prayer. Sit with each phrase and let the meaning of the words expand as further interpretations become more and more clear. Notice how the prayer already lives in some areas of your life but lies dormant in others. Bring it all to life.
If we live our lives this way, we must ultimately become happy and our problems will disappear. For now, our problems are our necessary medicine. Later, when we begin to master our lives, instead of the other way around, we will embody a happiness that can be shared with others. But if we’re unhappy, we can’t make others happy. This simple yardstick of ‘how happy am I?’ lets us measure how much happiness we are able to give. If we truly desire to make others happy, God will guide us in receiving the medicine that will allow us to heal, so it can be so, forever and ever. Amen.
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