I’m in the process of reading a book by Elizabeth Gilbert called Eat, Pray, Love. (see the sidebar for what I’m reading) Elizabeth is a New York Journalist and, in Chapter 9, during a long car ride, complains to her friend about how long it’s taking for her divorce to come through. It had been taking an extraordinarily long time and she was wrung out.
She said to her friend, “I don’t think I can endure another year in court. I wish I could get some divine intervention here. I wish I could write a petition to God, asking for this thing to end.” She then went on to explain to her friend why she thought that she couldn’t/shouldn’t ask for specific things from God but should instead pray for the courage to face whatever occurred in her life with equanimity.
Her friend’s response was as follows:
“Where did you get the idea that you aren’t allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe, Liz. You’re a constituent – you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known.”
So Elizabeth wrote a petition to God and asked for what she wanted. She humbly made a case for getting rid of one more conflict in this world and said that it would increase the general health of the whole world, letting two more people become free and healthy. (It was a great letter but I’ll let you read it in the book.) She signed it respectfully. Then her friend suggested that she should add (symbolically sign) the names of all the people whom she thought would support it. They listed them for an hour as they drove, including her parents and others, alive and dead, as far-flung as Mandela, the Clintons and Gandhi. Then she was exhausted and fell asleep. She was woken by her cell phone ringing. It was her lawyer to tell her that her husband had just signed the papers.
Did I mention that this book is non-fiction? As unlikely as this story sounds, I believe that when we ask for what we want, we should be prepared to get it. Yes, this could be a coincidence. Yes, she might be stretching a point – although I don’t think she is.
To write a letter/petition to God or the Universe, I think you have to get very clear in your own mind about what you want and why. Wishy-washy petitions don’t usually garner support and we’d best keep that in mind when formulating them.
What do you want? Who will benefit and why? Keep in mind that you can’t pull one over on the Universe or the all-knowing-one because, well, he/she/it is all-knowing. You would really look unworthy if you lied about deserving something, or lied about what you really wanted it for, or how many people it would benefit. Even if you don’t believe in God, and you’re writing to yourself, lying isn’t likely to move you closer to what you want. At the very least, you should be honest with yourself.
It seems to me that getting clear is really half the battle. If you can spell out what you want and not have any doubts about it, then you’ve set your intention clearly enough to manifest what you want or need – especially if it really is in the best interests of your soul and everyone else’s. And, in the worst case scenario, if you still don’t get what you’re looking for, petitioning can’t do any harm, can it? It’s not like you’re using up three wishes.
All this left me wondering how I would phrase a letter. What do I want? How much do I want it? Why?