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Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

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Enslin colour

Yisgadal v'yiskadash sh'mey rabah. Amein. B'almah dee v'ray kheer-utey,

May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (Cong. Amen.)
    in the world that He created as He willed.-Mourner's Kaddish

Someone in my life asked me recently upon hearing of possible good fortune coming to me if I would mind if they prayed for me.

"Well, I figured I'd ask because... well, I'm religion, and I know you're..."

I cut the person off and smiled, "No, I don't mind."

I understand why the person asked. We've gotten to a point as a culture that religion has become so defined and so pigeon holed that more often than not we fear that other people's prayers may polute or dilute our own religious beliefs.

As I've commented many times over the last few years... I've become incredibly more spiritual, philosophical, and in my own way religious in comparison to where I was as recent as 10 years ago. Despite having just smiled and acquiesced... there was a bit of thought in my response. I knew the person who wanted to pray for me was only wishing good fortune in accordance with my beliefs and path. Seeking to offer me the personal energy to follow the path that I've laid out for myself. It's a very giving ting to do in this overly letiginous world of looking out for one self above all else. And the gesture is appreciated on so many levels.

If the subject line like most of my writing is too subtle to be quickly grapsed. I lost a friend during this holiday weekend.  It's extraordinary that I can call this person a friend because in truth I'd only known him for three... maybe 4 weeks. I don't really make friends easily in the work world anymore. Friendship is a luxury you can't spend on team members who might wind up managing you or managers who might wind up deciding on your layoff. Trust is something you dole out much like a confidential document. It's given on a need to know basis.

I've often joked that in this world there are three times of people.. Player Characters, Non-Player Characters, and Wandering Monsters. My new coworker Nathan had been hired on a week before I was to assume our current roles. We both went through training together and one could term it a bonding experience. Nathan was the Player Character that you were glad to have on your team. Nathan was a burner who was very active in the local community having just returned from Critical Massive the Seattle area "Burning Man" where he was one of the senior organizers. But despite all categories and lists... Nathan was Nathan.  Life was something you could see in his eyes. He grabbed life and rode it. I don't really think there was a judgemental bone in his body. This was someone who you knew was on the level and you could be on the level with just as easily.

I find myself reminded of my best friend in High School. We've lost track of each other over the years. I regret than now. I remember visiting him during graduate school. He told me that he envied me because I knew how to live life. This took me aback because I always envied his academic devotion and achievments. He told me that most of his sleeping dreams ran the theme of being like something he was watching on TV that he wasn't very participatory in them.

I find myself reflecting on why the Universe would choose to put such an example of the antithesis of how I view coworkers into my life for such a short period of time to take him away. A person who so lived the philosophical ideal I constantly strive for. Each individual moment in our lives becomes a defining point of who we are, who we've been, and who we shall be. I am happy to feel I will be a better person for having been able to meet and get to know (albeit only slightly) Nathan.

Nathan was happy with who he was... Living life in a way that made him happy... And was accepting of everyone around them for who they were.

I pray for a man today that I really didn't know well at all. I don't try to dilute his beliefs in any way with my actions. I only wish that he receives in death that which fulfills him as much as he fulfilled himself in life.

Term of all that liveth, whose name is inscrutable, be favourable unto us in thine hour.

Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills; yea, the accomplishment of their wills.
Liber XV - The Gnostic Mass

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I don't have a problem when people pray for me in a good way. I have a problem when people pray for me in an "I wish she would change her life" sort of way, if that makes sense? A good way to pray is to just pray - that I find peace, or happiness, or contentment, that I live my life in a way that is in accordance with my morals, that I live well. A "bad way" to pray is praying that I change because I'm a sinner, that I "find Jesus," that I live according to your morals, etc. I never have a problem with people who pray the first way. I have way too many problems with people who pray the second.

Sorry to invade on what must be a difficult time. You just got me thinking...

Not an invasion at all

That really does summarize how I feel.

I feel that if your thoughts energize the person in the manner that they feel they seek energy. "I hope the person accomplishes the good they are hoping for" fits for me just fine.

"That person needs to feel my more correct energy to help them away from their misguided energy" ... that makes me just feel dirty and in need of a shower.

Re: Not an invasion at all

Many Christians (not all) I know seem to pray in the second manner. In fact, I think I can accurately state that most Christians I have come into contact with pray that way. And people wonder why I have a problem with Christians praying for me... *sigh*

I call that the difference between praying *for* me and praying *at* me. The former is welcome, the latter is not.

(Cong. Amen) - Because there's always a minyon on the Internet

Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

I very much like your division of the world. (Should there be a sub-category for Wandering Monsters vs. Installed Monsters, such as a dragon, a mummy, or Evil Warlock, or are they more NPCs?)

And finally, no I don't mind when people offer to pray for me, unless is it used as a dismissal, as if it is something they do grudgingly because there is nothing else to do. Then again, that can lead to the wonderful exchange of:
Them: Well, I'll pray for you.
Me: Thanks, I'll dance naked under a full moon for you.

Re: (Cong. Amen) - Because there's always a minyon on the Internet

Them: Well, I'll pray for you.
Me: Thanks, I'll dance naked under a full moon for you.

You know... I probably didn't need that image. i'm more than happy for someone to pray for me... But I don't spiritually-micromanage. I don't think I really need the details of how that will happen.

Likewise people may not want to know what is involved with how I may find my way to sending happy thoughts.

Re: (Cong. Amen) - Because there's always a minyon on the Internet

Which can lead to the ritual sputtering of pop through the nose.

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. May he accomplish his True Will.

I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I was about to say "dang, it's always the good ones" but since Ken Lay also died recently, I can say there's no rhyme or reason. ;-(

I do empathize with your point about people praying for you. H's mom says that to me often, and at first I admit, I thought it was a bit presumptuous. It took some thinking to realize that rather than trying to push her faith on me, she just wanted to wish us well in accordance with her own beleifs. Frankly, I'm more irritated with people who ask me to "magick" them something like I'm going to bring rain or change an election result the way someone might pull a rabbit out of a hat! Ironically, Thelema makes me want to give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not. ;-}

This is most definitely a complex and interesting issue. First of all I'm sorry to hear of the loss of a new friend -- things like this seem to underscore at least the randomness if not the actual unfairness of the Universe. Rejoice in the time that you knew him and the lessons he embodied. (But you already knew that.)

As far as prayer from others is concerned I tend to be pretty circumspect. It's not from a lack of belief in religious relativism -- I consider myself a Daoist Thelemite Wiccan Ceremonialist for pete's sake. But I also believe that deities are real and prayer is Magick, and not all deities, prayers, or practitioners would necessarily recognize, let alone honor the concept of my Will. Two-plus decades in various alternative religions has taught me to be rather careful about what I allow others to do for/to me in such a context.

As a traditional Witch I tend to follow very strong injunctions against working any kind of magick on others without their explicit permission except in extremis (usually self defense.) This particularly includes healing. AIDS victims are an illustrative case in point -- experience has indicated that big healing energy thrown at AIDS patients who have taken a turn for the worse is generally picked up and used by the virus and its chums instead of the person. Not good. In some cases I have petitioned a person's deities or belief-system to provide them with the energy they need to do what they need to do. Wow, talk about weasel-words. ;-)

I find it unlikely that a Christian praying for me would encourage me to "Rejoice in the will of my God." Their god simply is not going to support my life choices from all I understand of him, even if the particular adherent might. I find the Collects from Liber XV that you quoted to be most comforting and most useful across ecumenical lines. They clearly express what I feel while still trying to offer as much solace to as broad a spectrum of beliefs as possible. "I don't try to dilute his beliefs in any way with my actions. I only wish that he receives in death that which fulfills him as much as he fulfilled himself in life." is a very beautiful way to put it.

The meddlesome Mormons routinely pray for people they do not know. I find this kind of activity utterly reprehensible and have constructed magickal corner-reflectors specifically to return this sort of crap to the sender. On the other hand there is a Shinto priest up in Granite Falls who prays for me automagically on a regular basis without any explicit guidance or direction from me. I have consented for this to occur because my understanding of Shinto and my estimation of his character tells me that his actions will almost certainly be beneficial and consonant with my Will. So I guess where I'm going is that religious relativism is a Good Thing but for me it must be tempered with a proper portion of discrimination on both the giving and the receiving ends.

Now, that's not to say that if someone in a wildly alternative (to mine) religion offers to pray for me I'm going to get all huffy and lay a big theological rap on them when they're just trying to do me a favor. But I will set up screening constructs to admit as much good as possible while keeping the meat-hooks from hitting their mark. With most Pagan folk some fairly simple directives will get the magickal efforts right on target. Such directives are usually welcomed by folks used to working intentional magick as opposed those who are always asking Big Daddy for favors.

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. He sounded like a good egg.

Absolutely beautiful. It's amazing how people touch our lives for a moment and change them, isn't it? Lovely.

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