A couple days ago I chaired an AA meeting. I picked the topic of prayer. I read a passage from As Bill Sees It. In the passage, Bill Wilson wrote that prayer helped him endure stressful circumstances, and that long walks and mindful breathing also helped alleviate his doubt and worry. I was reminded of something that happened to me in San Francisco.
When I moved to San Francisco, I really struggled to land a job. It was late 2008, right after the big stock market crash. The real estate bubble had popped, and hiring slowed down significantly. All I could manage to get were temporary assignments. It was painful. I would interview for full-time positions, get my hopes up, then be denied, often after several rounds of interviews at the same company. The biggest chances came at the headquarters of Facebook, the amazing Pixar Animation Studios, the up-and-coming Pandora Internet Radio, and last but not least, LucasArts (I'm a big Star Wars fan). Just setting foot onto those locations gave me a euphoric buzz.
After failing with those giants, not to mention a bunch of less notable companies, I finally wound up getting an assignment with promising long-term potential at the alumni organization of a prestigious university (UCSF Medical School). It involved editorial tasks and desktop publishing. It was going well. But one day I got pulled into the human resources office. They had found some DUIs in my background check, and I had not transparently divulged the misdemeanors on the initial job application. I thought my attorney had got my record expunged, but I was wrong. I told them my mistaken assumption, and they said they would take it into consideration and get back with me.
I didn't hear anything for a couple days, and during that time I was silently begging God to let me keep the job. I would say in my mind: "God, if you let me keep this job, I'll stop drinking alcohol. I swear." Reflecting on my passionate pleas now, it's quite hilarious, but at the time, I was pitiful and desperate.
Well, lo and behold, the HR department got back with me and said they would let my transgression slide. I was so relieved! First, I thanked God, then later that night, I bought a 6-pack of beer to celebrate. So much for my promise to renounce the toxic elixir!
But my victory dance did not last long. The next day they called me back in and said they had changed their mind. I got fired. Perfect poetic justice. The snowball of defeat and demise continued. I would drunkenly stumble through more months of small jobs and disappointment until I finally hit rock bottom, got sober, was blasted with kundalini, and then found AYP. The path has been winding, as I know it is for everyone.
The point of me re-telling this story is to find the purpose and effectiveness of prayer. In AYP, samyama is a prayer-like technique, but it's not the kind of bargaining prayer I was trying to pull off. With samyama, there is not so much fixture on the exact outcome of our desires. It's more like purposefully planting seeds and trusting the organic process of growth. There is less artificial interference, and more harmonious compatibility with the natural flow of stillness in action.
That's not to say that there isn't a need for exactness, precision, and accuracy in life. Of course there is. But without the foundation of pure ideas and essences, there is little value in the exactness of our constructions. Samyama is a tending to the foundation of stillness and subtle thoughts, thereby putting exactness in its proper place as being secondary to the primary cause of infinite silence and beingness.
The best artistry, craftsmanship, and ingenuity come from a place of peace and joy. After all, there is an order to manifestation in life: stillness, then idea, then energy, and finally, physicality. When we abide by that organic process, beautiful and wondrous things happen. The proactive platform of AYP lends itself to achieving skill and mastery in any worthwhile career, because the foundation is being laid for divinely-inspired success.
Catch you on the flipside.