Prayer is not something that you impose on yourself or anyone else. Prayer is a natural call for help, or a natural expression of gratefulness. Prayer can happen only on two occasions: 1. When you are desperately in need of something then you pray. When you realize that you are weak and you cannot handle something, that is when you ask for help and that is a prayer. 2. When you realize that you have received more than what you really deserve, and it has all come to you as a blessing and as a gift, then the gratefulness that you express becomes a prayer. And if you extend this a little further, another occasion when prayer rises from within you is when you are in deep love with the maker of the universe or the divinity,in whatever form or formless way you perceive it to be. That is devotion.
So prayer is something which happens spontaneously. And it's good to have a few rituals associated with prayer as it adds some colors to life. When you pray in a particular manner by lighting a candle or something that brings up to the surface those emotions that are sleeping in you. The benefits of prayer are: 1. It invokes those emotions that are sleeping within you. 2. It takes away the worry and burden in your head. 3. It builds confidence in you and you feel the connection from your side. You are already connected to the divine, but from your side you start realizing your connection to the higher power. 4. It puts you into a routine. Suppose you make it a habit of praying every day, maybe the first four days go without any experience, but on the fifth day, you experience something. It's almost like any other sadhana. So make prayer a practice in your life so that you know you have something to do that is ethereal.
Prayer is the way to connect to the something that is not so tangible but is existing. So, prayer could be one such link to the unknown and unseen. Falling in love with the unknown is faith.
The seed becomes a tree and then the tree becomes a seed. So the fulfillment of the seed is in becoming a seed again. Unless the seed becomes a tree, and tree bears fruit, the seed is not complete and the cycle is not complete. From a seed to a seed is the whole journey. It starts with one and becomes many seeds. In the same way, the human life finds its fulfillment when it realizes the vast nature of its being; when it realizes that 'I am not just the body, I am more than the body. I am not just an individual, I am much more than that'. This alone can bring fulfillment. Till this awareness comes, there is restless inside.
The way to get this fulfillment is through three things: 1. Awareness (Bodh) 2. Unity (Yog) 3. Love (Prem) These are the three ways for the seed to realize its total potential. Awareness means being aware that everything is a dream. Wake up and see the dream nature of everything. 'I am nothing', 'I don't need anything', 'I belong to everyone', 'I am everybody' - that is Bodh. Union (Yog) is that which cannot be expressed in words. It is only realized in the experience. Realizing that everything is one and I am That is Yog. Love again cannot be tied to words. It is our true form. It is not a feeling. We often think that love is a feeling, this is wrong. This is why people always get entangled in it.
Look back in your own life, do you have an experience of your own birth? Do you remember? No! At the age of two or three you suddenly started realizing some things in this world, I won't say everything. Then by the age of four years, you start realizing your identity. But if you are asked, "Were you really born?" You don't know! We were there, that we all know. It's a really abstract thing but it's really very concrete. Let me give you an example. You make a pot out of a ball of mud. When you make the pot, the space inside the pot is born. But can you say that the space was born? Can you say that space inside the pot was created? What was created? The boundary of the pot was created, but was the space created? No! Now what has value? The mud has value or the space inside the pot has the value? Nobody buys space and neither does anyone buy a ball of mud ball. What you buy is the space within the mud. That has some value.
Now, the same is with human life. It has ability to expresses the infinity. The infinity is anyways there, but it has no value. Life is also there on earth but it has not same as human life. It is human life which expresses infinity that brings total satisfaction.
How to do you express infinity which is anyways there? Through Awareness, unconditional love and union. When the small mind realizes I am united with infinity, that is called Yoga. Not just doing exercises. When the small mind realizes that 'I am no longer the small mind, I am part of the big mind '. You know in uniting also it appears that there are two things that you are trying to unite. This is a recognition that I am part of the something big. This is a step towards Aham Brahmasmi.One step before that is 'I am part of it'.