By Claud Vaduva
For Christmas, I would love to inspire you with a beautiful talk about Christ Consciousness. An even deeper longing is to show you, to invite you, near your own heart so that you may directly feel the radiance of this anointed one. I invite you to experience this intuition, which is immediately available within, at any moment. During this direct, intimate connection, it is very difficult to make a separation between the self and this divine emanation, because the common self you call “yourself” slowly disappears as you practice the Prayer of the Heart. I invite you to pray this way today.
The Prayer of the Heart
This prayer is very simple. It uses the breath, naturally, just as the waves move in the ocean. However, it must really be expressed with your entire being, only then does it truly work. A common form of the Prayer of The Heart is: “O Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me.”
But, I would like to share with you how I pray: “My Lord, Jesus Christ, please have mercy upon me.”
I find that adding the words “my” and “please” causes a deeper intimacy and vulnerability to arise within me. You can try to utter these two different versions a few times and feel the quality of your own inner landscape.
Before delving deeper into these details, I would like to portray the simplicity of this practice. This prayer is like a tiny seed whose humbleness holds the potential to be an entire tree—though simple in its practice, is like a sieve that gradually refines your heart so that it may recognize and merge with Awareness in the Spiritual Heart, your Real Essence.
The Practice of the Prayer of the Heart
To practice the Prayer of the Heart, make yourself comfortable in a prayer or meditation posture and use the breath to enliven the prayer until your entire being partakes in its utterance.
You breathe into the heart:
- On inhalation, mentally utter the first part of the prayer (“My Lord, Jesus Christ”)
- Pause and hold the breath (full lungs)
- Exhale and mentally utter the second part (“Please have mercy upon me”)
- Finally, pause for a moment, holding the breath (after exhalation)
That’s it. It’s very simple. Try it—start by focusing in the chest area and calming the breath, becoming quieter and more interiorized. Then, begin to utter the prayer with Open Attention.
Going Deeper in the Practice
Your inner attitude and openness when performing the Prayer of the Heart are essential in going deeper. When inhaling, you open to Christ Consciousness. You perceive every quality you can attribute to this consciousness—first conceptually, then emotionally. The more you pray, the more refined and intimate this connection becomes. Inhalation becomes a fullness, a filling of your available empty vessel with Christ Consciousness (as best as you can feel it and understand it at this time). To match this subtle recognition, it is important to be very quiet in your body and mind. In time, all attributes will fall away and radiant, luminous Pure Presence will be intimately experienced.
When holding the air in your lungs, rest in your heart, in stillness, in the fullness of the radiance of this light. It is the awareness of the dissolving of the personality. In time, this dissolution becomes complete as you learn to open and surrender more and more. You experience a fusion with the gentle light of the grace and love that you recognize as constantly being available to you. It is a moment of deep intimacy and immediate intuition of Christ Consciousness.
On exhalation, love. Simply love. Allow yourself to be loved and, simultaneously, love yourself. As the personality, you ask, you pray, for mercy—you express an act of openness. From the fullness of light and grace, you bestow this love unconditionally. Asking to be loved means allowing yourself to be loved, which is an act of unconditional love and compassion towards yourself. You love your ego, your emotions, your thoughts, your body, your strengths, and your weaknesses. The gates of heaven in your heart open and the light pours into every corner of your being. Is an act of love-forgiveness-embracing. It is praying and gratitude simultaneously, both asking for help and receiving love. Your personal self surrenders in openness while Christ Consciousness bestows its grace.
When holding the breath after exhalation, rest in the peace of non-being. It is an emptying—you ready yourself to receive the grace of Christ’s presence. It is a pure recognition of peace and stillness. It is a moment of transcendence and a serene embracing of the entire existence.
Opening to Christ Consciousness
When I started using this prayer, I noticed that there was a subtle resistance to the idea of Christ Consciousness. That’s why I persevered and added the word “my” when I utter it. I say it as a way to remember that there is a full embracing of this consciousness, a readiness for intimacy, while I pray.
Perhaps you may feel (as I felt) that it is a bit more comfortable to invoke Jesus Christ in a dryer, more detached way—“that” Lord Jesus Christ. If so, you may want to try saying “My Lord Jesus Christ” to express your immediate availability. The formula does not matter. It is just a subtle purification the ego’s tendency to maintain the status of being separate.
When I use the word “please” in “Please have mercy upon me,” I again address the ego’s resistance to asking for help. It is an indication to the personality that I really want to open and deepen this receptivity. It is the genuine crying of a baby that seeks a mother’s immediate attention.
What Is Christ Consciousness?
Christ is the one who already pervades you and calls you gently, beyond judgments and expectations, into the divine presence already existing in your heart. You can see Christ as that knowingness in a moment of action when you are making a wholesome choice, as that secret knowingness that Consciousness is more than just a human physical body. It is the realization that when you ask for external help, it is your inner responsibility to embody the received answer through your attitudes, actions, and, ultimately, your surrender. Jesus proclaims the “Kingdom of Heaven is in your Heart.” He indicates that spiritual endeavor has an inner direction towards that essence which is already with you, and within each of us.
Christ is the direction,
the step out of the everyday,
outside of yourself.
It is this immediate experience of love,
gratitude, forgiveness, and aspiration.
It is the enthusiasm, exultation, ecstasy,
understanding, light, and bliss.
It is the palpable emanation of the unmanifested,
the pure radiance of the Divine Presence.
It is your heart’s gateway to the ineffable.
It is the intuition that you are born to love—
to love everything so profoundly
that every expression of this manifestation
is celebrated and adored in ecstasy.
This love is the recognition that remains
as a constant, continuous exultation of the Heart.
Claud is a senior Hridaya Yoga teacher