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This book enlivens an age-old tradition of prayer as an expression of radical reliance on God, or uncompromising surrender to Life. This path, practised by saints across traditions and throughout time, elevates the possibility of prayer to a level beyond ordinary pleas for comfort and prosperity. The book invites a renewal of the inner life by increasing the desire to burn away superficial, safe notions of God, holiness, satisfaction and peace.
Table of Contents
|Introduction to the 10th Anniversary Edition||p. xi|
|Transformational Prayer||p. 1|
|Starting From Nowhere||p. 14|
|Always Praying||p. 21|
|Igniting the Inner Life||p. 43|
|Working with the Mind||p. 58|
|The Body in Prayer||p. 61|
|Invisible Prayer||p. 76|
|Dangerous Prayers||p. 81|
|People of Dangerous Prayer||p. 151|
|Praying on the Subway||p. 190|
|Writing Dangerous Prayers||p. 201|
|Select Bibliography||p. 227|
|Contact Information||p. 252|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
This book is not primarily about conversational or dialogic prayer. Plenty of others have offered wonderful instruction in prayer of this type, and some of their words will be reiterated here. Praying Dangerously is also not essentially about inspiration, help, or comfort the familiar content of many prayers. Therefore, it is not ultimately about achieving greater peace and harmony, or even greater courage and kindness, although these side effects of prayer will generally be observable in those who pray. The basic distinction in what I call dangerous prayer is brilliantly articulated by author and teacher Ken Wilber, but has been made by many other pioneers in spiritual life before him. Wilber explains two functions of religion or spiritual life, and consequently two approaches to the path. The first function of religion is translational, he says. We translate our lives into a different language, so to speak. Whereas before we may have been cruel, violent, totally self-serving, addicted and proud, religion helps us to translate our old values, behaviors and belief systems. I will call the other function of religion or spiritual life, as Wilber does, transformational. In this domain, the rules of the previous game don't apply. Transformation is a whole new venture. Far from aiming at peace, transformational prayer aims at the sword. Far from feeling better, the soul that is "transformationally prayed” is being annihilated, consumed, eaten up and spit out. The self or ego that, in the course of translational prayer, is dismantled and rearranged in a new and clearer syntax, is now wiped out. It no longer has the least say in the play. With transformational prayer the separate self has been subsumed by what is larger, or truer, or higher (if you will), or wholly (holy) Other. Transformational prayer is about death to all our notions of God, prayer, holiness, spiritual life, and satisfaction or peace. Only in such death or annihilation is a real life possible, or so say the mystics and great poets, and scores of wise elders and saints throughout the ages.