You Too Can Petition The Universe

EatprayloveI really dragged out attempting to read "Eat, Pray, Love". Sarah sent it to me when she sent "Helping Me Help Myself" but I could get psyched up for it. 1) New York Times Bestseller means it’s too popular. I mean, do I only read things because other people say it’s good? 2) Author photo, pretty and blonde, what is this "everything" she needs to search for in life? and 3) The title, the minimalist cover, the spiritual journey, all felt too Oprah to me. (And by too Oprah, I mean in a kind of preachy, commercially spiritual kind of way. I don’t actively dislike Oprah but she’s not exactly my favorite, probably in part because she’s insanely popular).

It was either read or do yard work this afternoon so I picked up "Eat, Pray, Love" and an hour later, I already love it.

First of all, painful divorce then torrid affair that ends in heart break. I can kind of relate. Throwing up every morning because something in your life isn’t right? I’ve been there. And her little stories, funny, warm, and completely relatable. And since I’ve been passively seeking to improve my spiritual life for the last few months, and since the book is seeming to start with the "pray" part, I feel something translatable to my life. 

One part I wanted to share was where our author is in a car traveling with a friend. She is wishing she could write a petition to God for something specific to happen in her life (here: her husband signing the divorce papers so she doesn’t have to spend a year in court). She says she feels like she can’t do this because she feels she should just have faith in God that it all works out.

"Where did you get the idea 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 put your opinion out there. Make your case. Believe me- it will at least be taken into consideration."

"Really?" All this was news to me.

So she writes her petition. Dear God, please do this, here are some reasons you should, thanks.

I read it to Iva, and she nodded her approval.

"I would sign that," she said.

I handed the petition over to her with a pen but she was too busy driving so she said, "No let’s say that I did just sign it. I signed it with my heart."

"Thank you, Iva. I appreciate your support."

"No, who else would sign it?" she asked.

"My family. My mother and father. My sister."

"OK, they just did. Consider their names added. I actually felt them sign it. They’re on the list now. OK- who else would sign it? Start naming names."

So they go on to list people who would sign it. People living and dead who hate conflict, friends, relatives, movie stars, politicians, historical figures. They come up with quite a list.

It makes you realize your desires not only effect you but many other people as well. (Your desires, attitude, financial state can also be thought of this way.) Prayer doesn’t have to be this passive activity but something you can actively feel you are doing by defining what you want as well as why you want it to the universe. You can also think of who would support you and why. As someone who does not like to feel like I’m letting too many things happen to me, this kind of prayer feels oddly empowering.

So petition away. Maybe God can help you reach a spiritual, emotional, or even financial goal if you petition him.  And if spirituality is something that interests you, give "Eat, Pray, Love" a try.

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