A Radically Happy Lord’s Prayer

Yo, Pop!
A Radically Happy
Taoist Buddhist Catholic Quaker Version
of the Lord’s Prayer

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you
, and that your joy might remain full
– Jesus, on his last day before crucifixion, spoken on the way to the garden (John 15;11)
**** ********
Our Father
(Abba, Allah, Amma, Nityananda, Da–The Prosperous Presence)

I heard a preacher once say that if we fully understood, fully experienced, just the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer—-Our Father– we really wouldn’t need to go any further, wouldn’t need to pray any more. I could dig it. It’d be like,beam us up, Scotty! Zap. We’re there. One with the infinite. (Infinite.) One with the Father Mother God, All That Is, Brahman, Allah, Tao, Buddha Mind, Big Daddy, Yo Mama, Present Prosperity, whatever we want to call it: one with Our Father.

I was somewhat dumbfounded recently to realize that,like most Christians, I’ve been saying the Lord’s Prayer, King James version and its variations, most nights and many mornings, sometimes even in the afternoons, most of my life, since I was a boy when  I first learned it from my mom and the faithful teachers in the Methodist Sunday School. I’ve silver in my hair now. And I’ve viewed myself as a Taoist Buddhist Quaker for almost forty years–but I still say the Lord’s prayer, use it, most of my days and nights. (A fact that might surprise some of my rowdy cowboy poker playing buds. This prayer thing is mostly, per guidance from the scriptures, a closet gig for me.) But until recently I hadn’t realized how consistent in my life the Lord’s Prayer has been. A lifetime is a long time to be hanging with a single prayer. But if it works (and it does), then hey…

The reason it works, from my own experience and that reported by others, is that there is a light—a Presence– deep in the heart of each of us that is more than each of us—more than each of our individual personalities, and the Lord’s Prayer is a vehicle we can use to access that light, that presence (Presence.)
The Names, of course, for this light, presence (that is in us, that is more than us) are many: God, Spirit, Truth, Tao, Buddha Mind, atman, Christ Indwelling, Emanuel, Allah, Divine Love, the Beloved, Sat Chit Ananda, Sweetness, Cool, Sparky… and on and on, the names for this One go, as we all know.

The Hindu sage, Ramakrishna, gave a nice image of Divinity being a single pool into which, from various directions, come all the different peoples on earth. “It is a pool entered by many ghats (stairs). From one, the Hindus draw the water in cruses and call it jal; from another, the Muslims draw the water in leather bottles and call it pani;from a third, the Christians draw it (with a pail) and call it water. Can we imagine that this fluid is not jal but pani or water? How absurd! The substance is one, under different names and each man is looking for the same substance; only the climate, the temperament and the
name create difficulties.”
With Names, Lao Tzu said, one should know where to stop. So for many years I would refer to That One (that is within each of us) simply as joy, or more precisely, Joy, with a capital J, These days I prefer to refer to That One as Prosperity, or the Presence of Prosperity.  

So the prayer would begin: Our Joy, Our Prosperity,which art in heaven…

Learning to more artfully, more consistently access this substance— this inner One, the inner Sparky, Force, Joy, Christ Mind Prosperity– seems to be at least part of the work and play we humans find ourselves traditionally occupied with, here on earth. Of course, we are also occupied with all the outer wrangling and striving and struggling and hoping and loving. Yet here in
the new millenium it is more and more apparent to more and more folks that it is this inner search, this inner accessing of the One, that leads to success in
the outside circus. So more and more folks are turning to the inner light, be it consciously or unconsciously, in a secular or religious manner. (Thus the arising of The New Methodist Church and Art Studio!)

Such tapping of the inner light reveals itself to be a good, useful, practical work, a joyful play, leading to enhanced experiencing and expressing of prosperity (Prosperity. Beam us up, Scotti.

Here in the west, those of us who were born into the Christian tradition learned, were trained, expertly or not, to access that One, that Joy, Substance, at least on occasion, through the Lord’s prayer, (Praise his
Name, Amen, alleluia.)  Jesus, being a Middle Eastern Jew, had learned to refer to God, the Substance, as Abba. Mohammed, being a Middle Eastern prophet (with Jewish/Christian roots) was inspired to refer to God as
Allah.  Before either the Jews or the Muslims were invented, the Hindus had referred to the One Substance in the feminine form as Amma. So the three basic names for God in the three basic traditions are: 
Abba, Allah, Amma
. The Buddhists call it (often without a capital “I”) the Buddha Mind, the natural mind, ordinary mind. (It is divine to have an ordinary mind, yes?)Some Tibetan Buddhists call It (it) Da (da.)

We here in modern times are extremely fortunate to have all these names (Names), and the streams of inspiration from which the Names arose, available to us. We are inherently free (though seldom encouraged) to use any and all of these Names from the traditions, alone or in various combinations,in our own inner quest to draw from the pool. Fear and provincialism are the only barriers to such  whole earth water drawing.

Obviously, praying is what we do, here on earth, in our spiritual traditions. The prayers of our fathers, and their fathers before them go all the way back to before Abraham was. (We never hear about Abe’s dad—he must have been quite a guy, to raise such a God fearing man.) Prayer tradition, and single prayers, just keep going back and back, and forward and forward, day by day, and will continue to do so, let us assume, as long as they prove themselves still useful, (useful for accessing that One.) The easiest, most direct prayer, of course, is simply uttering the name of God, which is how the Lord’s Prayer starts. If we could recognize the depth of the words, “Our Father,” we wouldn’t have to go any further. We’d see directly into the Real, feel directly into the Real, and need no more words, no more prayers. When you’ve reached the top floor, (Our Father) no more need for an escalator.
Before we go any further, let me be quick to confess that I’m not an expert on the Lord’s prayer. I know it’s quite bold of me to be speaking thus. I’m certainly not a scholar. Greek is Greek to me and I for sure don’t know the Aramaic, the language in which the Lord first offered this prayer. Although I’ve studied and enjoyed and learned from many Lord’s Prayer commentaries, I couldn’t necessarily articulate the exact differences between various scholarly interpretations and understandings. In this I’m probably like most Christians.
And yet, I am familiar enough with my own daily practice that I easily and freely admit that the Lord’s Prayer is to me an old friend, a lifelong companion, about whom (as you can tell) I have little hesitancy in
talking, and praising, freely recommending to others. Don’t we all talk easily, joyfully about our old friends? “Stinky? Hell yes I know Stinky. We started grade school together and we’ve been hanging out ever since. We’ve been through thick and thin together. He’s even saved my life, pulled my bacon from the fire many, many times. Do I know Stinky? You bet your
buttons I know Stinky.”
That’s the kind of “authority” I feel for talking about the Lord’s prayer.(Though of course the Lord’s prayer is not “Stinky” in any sense of the word.) Again, I suspect I’m like most Christians in this regard. I’m talking about our mutual old friend. Your relationship may be completely different. And if so, how  wonderful! Just goes to show how wondrous and inspired and multi-faceted this friend of ours truly is.
Thank God for multi-dimensional, multi-faceted old friends. (For those of you who are just coming to the Lord’s prayer, I commend this friend highly as a direct access channel. Practice it, use it on a regular basis and you’ll see what I mean. You will discover wonderful unveilings in your life, delicate blossomings, simple every day graces that you hadn’t noticed before.)
Like all of us, I find myself saying the prayer (visiting the old friend) more often in some years than in other years. And in some seasons more than other seasons. Some days, or hours, more than other days, or hours. And again like most of us, over the years I’ve also been fortunate enough to be led to and taught by other friends, to say other prayers—Buddhist, Hindu. Taoist
, Muslim, and Native American prayers, as well as all the regular daily football, mountain climbing (“I’m too high, Lord, help me down”) and thank
you for the parking spot prayers.
And it appears that I’ll continue to be led to new types of prayer, new friends, and led to revisit old ones.My prayer life, I’m happy to report, is open, radical and multi-hued. Still, I keep coming back, keep being led back, most every day, to the meat and potatoes, bread and butter of the Lord’s prayer. 

Over the years I’ve come to suspect that the reason we humans pray is simply because it’s our nature to pray. But even deeper than praying, it is our nature, our deepest desire, to love God openly, fully, with all of our hearts and souls and minds. If we could do this—love God, commune with God, completely, totally— without praying, maybe we wouldn’t need to pray. But praying seems to be at least one of the ways –one of the methods–we have all learned to love God, and our neighbors as ourselves— by taking some time in prayer.
I’m convinced this love of God, and the desire to love God ever more deeply, as demonstrated by the time we spend in prayer, is natural for we humans. It
is also natural to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This capacity for love, and this desire for love is at the root of our being, I suspect. It makes
sense that this is why Jesus told us—commanded us — to do these two things:
to love God with all of our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. He toldd us to do these two things because when we’re not doing them—when we’re not loving– we’re not being natural, not being true to our deepest reality. He knew that love was our deepest capacity, and love is what we as human beings were naturally, divinely designed to do.
So okay, how de we actually do it– love God and love our neighbor? How do we best get done what Jesus told us to do? How do we experience and express our deepest, most prosperous  nature?
Jesus was—is– a good teacher, obviously. (I mean,duh!) He first demonstrated for us in his own life what the results were of loving God and loving our neighbor: peace, joy, healing, lepers cleansed, the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead to rise up again. He showed us—demonstrated for us—the results in the real world of loving God and our neighbor fully, completely. He healed the sick, brought riches out of a fish’s mouth, demonstrated to violent and unhappy folks how to live in peace and harmony and then finally how to overcome death itself. These are the fruits of
love. And then he told us ”these things that I do, you can do also. And even greater things than these.”
Yea, right, is how most of us respond to such suggestions.
But Jesus wasn’t the kind of teacher who would tell us we could do something and then not tell us, show us how to do it. To show ushow to do it, he gave us a basic prayer—what we now call the Lord’s prayer. I suspect that Jesus left us this prayer to be used as being a basic tuning fork—a signal in the dark – which we are invited, and encouraged to tune into. As we do so, we find our thoughts, and feelings, and actions spontaneously moving back into harmony with our deepest nature, e.g., our fundamental capacity to love.
In other words, as we say the prayer, or more accurately, as we align ourselves with the truth behind the words, align ourselves with what Jesus was pointing to when he gave us the prayer, then we find ourselves spontaneously loving God more—and loving life, and all it has
to offer more. We find ourselves more free, more easy, more natural, more prosperous after saying the Lord’s prayer than we were before saying it. That has been my experience, at least lately.
I intuit that there’s a way of working with the Lord’s prayer, or more specifically the reality behind the prayer, that results in opening more freely, more gladly, generously to those around us. It makes sense that the prayer Jesus taught us and the commandments he gave us should go hand in hand. By engaging his prayer, we find ourselves better able to do what he told us to do; by engaging his prayer, we grow more adept at following his two basic commands.
If I were forced to describe my Christianity—which Jesus would never force me to do—but if I wereforced to describe it by my curious friends, I’d suggest that the best description might be “Happy Taoist Quaker.” As a Happy Taoist Quaker I know that I sometimes engage the form of the Lord’s prayer a bit differently than do many Christians, while at other times I engage the old King James version, lock, stock and barrel, who needs more? Still, on our best days, let’s assume that we all end up in the same place (at the foot of same Throne) when the prayer is done, no matter what version we use. That place, symbolized by the Throne, is a place mostly beyond words, and images, but the daily, meat and potatoes effect of being in that prayerful place, if only for a moment, is that we are able, if only a bit, to love God a little more freely and our neighbors a little more gracefully. And it only makes sense that since Jesus said these two things—1.) loving God and 2.) loving our neighbor– are the basics of his teaching, and that if the Lord’s prayer is the basic prayer, it only makes sense that the prayer should help us fulfill his commandments.

find that the radically happy Taoist Quaker form of the Lord’s prayer that I now regularly engage does indeed lead to such a result, as does, of course, a similarly prayerful use of the King James versions.

Although we have countless examples over many centuries of the vitality and immanent necessity of the Christian faith, and although even here in our modern era we have individuals who have realized and demonstrated much of the full potential of Jesus’ teachings, still, the wars continue, the suffering persists, the daily lives of millions of people are bereft of the natural light which Jesus came to reveal It seems to me that here in this new era we are in desperate need of a radical revitalizing of our Christian faith.

Radical: Webster’s Dictionary: from the Latin word radicalis,
meaning, “root,” or “to have roots.” Also from the French,radiz
, also meaning “root.”
To be radical, then is to be at the root of the things, to return to the root. So in my mind a “radical Christian” is simply one who is close to the root
of Christianity. And what is the root of Christianity?
Again, Jesus was very clear, very simple about this: “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” “Who are my brothers and sisters? Those who follow my teachings,” e.g., those who love. “I have brought you a new commandment: love one another.” Is there any argument here?
When I propose a radical view of the Lord’s prayer, I am simply proposing that we search out and make clear for ourselves the roots of his prayer. We are led in this search by Jesus’ own admonition that love is the essence of his teaching. He said, “I have brought you a new commandment, and that is to love.” We might assume, then, that love is likewise the essence, the root, of his prayer.


This might be a good place to take a moment to discus s the relationship between love and joy and prosperity.  My own understanding is that, at root, they are three words—love, joy, prosperity — for the exact same Presence, the same experience, or activity. Love is joy is prosperity; prosperity is joy is love. I recognize that this is not the usual pairing—that love is generally considered to be so much more than joy, than happiness and prosperity does not traditionally include love.  Nevertheless,  as I’ve been exploring over the years the relationship between love and joy and prosperity the unity of these three words appears more and more evident.

So, who could argue with love? Everybody can! And does! From country music artists to theologians to teenagers experiencing new feelings, the word love is used in literally countless ways. When I typed the word “love” into the
google search engine, for example, in less than two seconds I had a choice of over 51 million “hits,” including “spanking with love,” dog love, cat love, bacon love, illicit love, free love, money love, and on and on. The word “
Love” has so many different meanings and connotations and implications, and has been used for so many different kinds of “treatment,” that in contemporary usage it is very imprecise. So what is “radical” love. What is the root of love? “If you love me, keep my commandments,” said Jesus. How do we know if we love Jesus? At the risk of oversimplifying, but with the need for clarity, let me suggest that when we love someone,we enjoy them, and feel prosperous in their company. When we don’t love someone, we don’t enjoy them, and feel a sense of lack.

Of course, in contemporary usage concepts such as “tough love” and “blind love,” and “stubborn love” point to the fact that love runs deeper than just transient emotions or feelings. But at its root, in my experience, love and joy and prosperity are three words for the same experience. The times that we love someone but don’t enjoy them are fleeting. If we don’t enjoy someone day after day, year after year, but still claim to love them “down deep,” I think we’re fooling ourselves.
Fortunately, to “pray aright,” and to live aright, we don’t need to agree on a definition of love. We simply need to feel love, express it, spread it, magnify it. When we do this we will be fulfilling the commandments, and simultaneously fulfilling our human potential. And how do we know when we are feeling love? Let me suggest—radical as it may sound—that it’s simply when we are enjoying ourselves, feeling prosperous, enjoying our thoughts, words, actions. I’m not talking drugs, sex and rock and roll—though these are the
avenues that millions are using in their attempts to get back to the roots of joy and a feeling of prosperity.  I’m talking about enjoying our families, our jobs, our daily routines, our daily chores and simple pleasures. Loving our families, loving our jobs, loving our daily routines.
The reader may not agree, just yet, that this juxtaposition of love and joy and prosperity adequately covers all the bases when we talk about the root nature of love—be it divine love or human love or puppy love—but that’s why I’ve written this little little essay: To suggest that it really can be this easy, this direct, and that this doorway—the doorway of joy, prosperity and love—is a doorway that gets us back to the “root” of our spiritual tradition. We desperately need to get back to our roots—back to love that heals, that transforms, that lifts our lives out of earthly suffering—be it physical, financial, familial, vocational– and into the kingdom, the happiness, the prosperity of physical, financial, familial harmony.

To be radically happy is to be at the root of happiness. To be at the root of happiness means that it never goes away. It stays all the time. I think this is the destination, the root of being towards which the Lord’s Prayer points us. I figure we can stop saying the Lord’s Prayer when at last we experience radical happiness, flowing prosperity, every day, all day, and are able to melt the 3-d world into divine light, and do it for our neighbors, as well. I suspect that’s the intent and potential of the Lord’s Prayer. So I figure until we are so
happy, so prosperous that we are see-through, and so alive we create and heal continuously, spontaneously, wherever we go.—until that point, we might profitably continue to use the prayer.

We can start, as Jesus encouraged us to do, simply by contemplating the root meaning of “Our Father,”  e.g, our Joy, our Love, Our Prosperity.

This contemplation, of course, will be continued.




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