But these are not means, let me remind you, to reach godliness – these are just our poor thanks, our heartfelt gratitude.
Prayer is true when it comes out of gratitude. Prayer is false when it is just a means to persuade God, to seduce God, to ask for something from him – even if you are asking God himself, then too your prayer is full of desire. And when prayer is full of desire, it is too heavy, it can’t have wings. It can only grope in the darkness of the earth; it cannot soar high in the sunlit sky.
When prayer is without desire it has wings, it can reach the ultimate. And when prayer is without weight, when it is out of thankfulness, not desiring anything but just to show your gratitude for all that existence has already done for you…
You say: “Is it enough for us to just be? But my gut-feeling is that I need to do something to be worthy, to contribute, to give….”
It is not a gut-feeling: it is just what has been conditioned in you by the society. The society has been telling you continuously, persistently, day in, day out, from your very childhood – in the school, in the college, in the university, in the church, the priest, the politician, the parent, the professor, they are all joined together in one single conspiracy: to give you the idea that as you are you are unworthy. You have to do something, you have to prove yourself, then only will you be worthy.
This is the strategy of the society to exploit you; this is the society’s ugly way to make slaves of you, not creators but slaves. But in beautiful, sophisticated ways you have been conditioned. Beautiful words covering very ugly realities. The ugly reality is that the society wants to use you as a slave, the society wants to manipulate you, the society wants to control you. It manages it in two ways.
On the outside is the state, the policeman, the magistrate; they enforce laws, but laws can never be absolute and man can always find ways to defy laws. Then the society creates another safeguard – it creates a conscience in you; it goes on hypnotizing you, saying again and again that you have to be worthy.
And the helpless child has no other way than to oblige, than to surrender. His whole life is at stake; he cannot survive on his own. He has to depend on the parents. He has to watch continuously what they want, what they appreciate, what is rewarded by them. If it is rewarded by them, then he is worthy, he feels good; if he is punished by them, he feels unworthy, he feels bad about himself