My neighbor Jim Hasbrouck got 500 Tibetan prayer wheels from a friend going out of business, and I got one of the biggest today. There are Buddhist prayers inside, but I wrote one of my own and put it in the wheel. I won’t tell you what it is. But if you get insight from my writing, my prayer is answered.
Now we all pray, sending thoughts and prayers everywhere, and even more so on social media. I mean, we send someone prayers for the dog being sick. The slightest upset or problem gets a prayer on Facebook. But these prayers are easy since they are just an act of thought.
But Buddhist Prayer wheel, however, puts some muscle behind the prayer. The wheel gets the body involved and make the prayer real. If something is not invested in real action and form, it’s just a thought, a wisp of smoke, a wafer so thin it floats like a snowflake. But when you put your body into your prayer you can create a snowdrift.
Thoughts and prayers are easy, but if you write your prayer and put it in a Tibetan Prayer wheel along with ancient prayers have been chanted for thousands of years, well that puts some weight behind your heartfelt wishes. Of course, you then have to spend some time spinning the wheel to send out the prayers.
Jim Hasbrouck is selling these beautiful prayer wheels on eBay, but you can message him here and go directly to the source.
The purpose of Buddhism is to restore center. Our Western culture is a mind culture, a thought culture that is separated from the body and action, so we think we are doing one thing but actually doing the opposite. The mind has been disconnected from the heart. Wisdom and compassion have been cut asunder, The eagle flies with only one wing at a time, going in a circle instead of straight.
Buddhism, Zen in particular, is the sudden healing of this wound, the Heart Sutra that sews the mind and heart back together.
In our rational society, we don’t believe in magic prayer wheels, yet we believe in thought prayer, setting prayerful thoughts as if they are magic, as if our prayer will turn the hurricane. But we don’t realize that if I pray that the storm miss me, it hits someone else, who is also praying. Is the cosmos a battle of prayers? Prayer dog fight like in WWII? Haha…my prayer shot down your prayer. The storm hits you instead of me. If that isn’t magical thinking I don’t know what is.
So what is so magical or unbelievable about a Tibetan Prayer Wheel?
Prayer centers you, but what kind of prayer? When you are at your center, the heart, you have no needs but the needs of others, so your prayer is always an intention to restore and maintain center, but not just. your center, but the center of everyone. There is only One Center.
When we lose our center, that is when we pray to restore center. But the truth is we cannot lose out center because we are always at the center of the world, the center as the Knower and the Seer. I SEE. That is the center. I am seen.
When we flip to being the Me on the outside, on the rim of the wheel, I make myself and my feelings and thoughts into IT, and my center is outside of myself looking at it, or, as I discover in my talk, you project that “outside Me” onto other and worry about what they are thinking about me. I want the externalized ME to like the Me that is at the center.
When we experience stage fright, that is a panic attack of the externalized ME that paralyzes the Self, and freezes the oscillation between the two me’s.
The Prayer Wheel, as I explore in this talk, is a metaphor of the Two Me’s: the wheel as a center and the ball on the chain that spins the wheel. But you can see the Primary ME is the Center ME and not the external ME that orbits my center like a dying and resurrected moon.
OK, we are really connecting dots now, so hang in there. The Wheel spins because there is a center and an orbiting ball, the Two Me’s, just as the moon orbits the Earth.
When I misplace my center and put it in the orbiting moon, I’m always looking for my lost center in the wrong places. Our American culture is a society of the misplaced center. Even Trump ran on Restoring the Center (America). Religion is about restoring the Center, which it calls Jesus.
Whenever we make our Lost Center another IT, we are still on the outside looking at IT as center and wondering why we still feel in exile.
When we SEE through and through that our center cannot be an IT, the turning point happens and there is a shift to our real Center of the Knower. I SEE.
As long as I invest in what I see, some IT, external or internal, I am still circling my true center, going round and round the stable center. We can call that karma or Ground Hog Day or a Merry-go-round.