Monday, April 24, 2006

Devotional Improv: Stimulate Spirit by Making It Up As You Go Along

Great Goddess, Divine Mother, Cosmic Creatrix,
may the ambrosia of your compassion overflow
the chalice of my being.
Recently, I've noticed that I feel compelled to compose devotionals and poetry in moments when I'm overcome with Divine love and joy. ( I define "devotional" here as "contemplative prayer in praise of Deity or Spirit". I prefer this to "prayer", which in mainstream American religious thought is often interpreted as result-oriented prayer - asking Deity to give you a raise, smite the heathens, etc.)

I wondered: Is this process reflexive? Could I be overcome with Divine love and joy by composing my own devotionals? The answer, thankfully, is "yes". Based on this work, I've made "Devotional Improv" a daily part of my practice.

Devotional Improv is easy:
  1. Still your mind using whatever technique works well for you. A la Genpo Roshi's "Big Mind" technique, you may ask to speak to the Wise Mind, or speak to the Non-Grasping Mind. Or, you may choose to recite a mantra with great fervor and devotion.
  2. Once you have reached a state of stillness and clarity, create your devotional as you pray. Don't concern yourself with getting it "right" the first time.
  3. If you feel the need to restart, to change the phrase you just uttered - do it. (The above devotional took three tries before it came out in its current form.) Seek out the words and meanings that cause your heart to swell.
  4. Keep yourself open to wisdom. Let wisdom work through you. Let wisdom traverse your synapses, stimulating and re-wiring your mind. Tap into past learning, intuition, and the universal Spirit of infinite Knowing.
  5. Neither get frustrated by your lack of wit, nor ensnared within admiring your own cleverness. This is an offering you're making to Deity. Your offering is no better and no worse than anyone else's. What matters is that you stimulate the movement of Spirit within you and through you.
  6. Once you have composed a devotional prayer that stimulates your Spirit, repeat it 3, 7, or 21 times.
  7. Write your devotional down in a journal for later reference.
Since I'm a Deity mystic, my devotions are directed to the Goddess. You can easily create impersonal devotions to Spirit as well.

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