"Prayer is the experience of knowing myself."
-Carin Vagle on Praying at the Speed of Love
This week I was blessed to record a very real conversation with Timothy Frantzich and Carin Vagle about their prayer lives. Something happened in that conversation that deepened how I think about, talk about, and personally experience deep soul writing.
You might not recognize Timothy and Carin’s names, but you know them. Or rather, you know their music. As the group Sofia they took my prayer, “Do You Feel That Breeze,” and transformed the chorus into a love song that melted my heart the first time I heard it and continues to moisten my eyes every time I hear it.
And I get to hear it a lot—and so do you—because it’s now the opening and closing theme song for my radical new podcast, Praying at the Speed of Love.
In these raw conversations, guests talk about their prayer lives—how they were taught to pray as a child and how their relationship with prayer has evolved. And then they invite us to pray with them.
As far as I know, Praying at the Speed of Love is the only podcast where you can hear people talk so openly and deeply about their most intimate relationship—their relationship with the Mystery Divine.
In this week’s conversation, Episode 7: The Music in Prayer, the Prayer in Music, Carin shares her personal definition of prayer—one I’ve never heard anyone say.
Carin said for her “prayer is the experience of knowing myself.”
The experience of knowing myself.
Say that aloud: Prayer is the experience of knowing myself.
What a mystical definition of prayer!
I think I have to add it to my roster of new definitions for post-patriarchal prayer. So far, I am redefining prayer as 1. love songs, 2. sacred medicine, 3. mystical relationship with prayer and all who pray, and 4. the vibration of love.
All pretty spectacular, don’t you think. I have been saying that these new definitions are a work in progress and now, thanks to Carin, I’m adding number 5: the experience of knowing yourself.
And that definition, perhaps even more than the others, explains exactly why deep soul writing is absolutely, positively prayer.
On the page, in dialogue with your Beloved, you meet yourself. Your whole self: your human self with all your human stories and your soul self with all your mystical stories. And you get to fall in love with that Self—the you who carried seeds of divine qualities, purpose, and creative expression through the sacred door called birth, and who will return through the sacred door called death, carrying all you experienced and discovered and learned about love as you walked this beautiful blue planet.
Is that not prayer?
Praying yourself into knowing who you really are: the beloved of The Beloved.
That is perhaps the ultimate definition of prayer.
I must say, this redefining prayer is pretty exciting. And thrilling. And fun. And with each definition, my own experience of prayer deepens.
But Carin wasn’t finished teaching me. Or you.
Not that she consciously knew she was teaching. Carin was simply telling her prayer story from her heart. But this is what happens when you walk in The Mystic with soul friends. Everyone becomes everyone else’s teacher.
And not just the humans.
In The Mystic you quickly realize that everyone and everything is conscious. Everyone and everything is part of the cosmic whole. Everyone and everything carries seeds of grace.
Therefore, everyone and everything is alive, interconnected, and helping guide the way. We are all, as Ram Das famously says, "walking each other home."
I had a wild experience of this interconnectivity this week with a grasshopper who stayed on my screen door for 3 days (what?) until I finally received and acknowledged his message.
But that’s another story, and I’ll save it for the intensive when we talk about how to communicate in The Mystic with our animal messengers.
What I want to tell you today is the next thing Carin said after her definition of prayer. She was talking about getting sick—very sick—in her thirties and turning to her godmother for help. She asked her godmother to give her a regimen—a prayer regimen.
That’s not a word we hear very often. At first blush it sounds rather constricting. Almost military. Right? Like regiment.
But that’s not what it originally means. Regimen holds a lovely surprise, the same surprise the word remember had for me.
Mark Nepo taught me what remember means on my previous show. We were talking about one of his books and he suddenly said, “Do you know what remember means?” Well, I thought I did. Just like you think you do, but remember is actually a medical term meaning to restore the parts or “members” of your body to their original healthy position or state.
In that moment, Mark Nepo handed me the core mystical concept for my 7th book, Find Your Soul‘s Purpose: when you remember your soul’s purpose you are re-membering yourself back to your sacred soul self.
Surprise! It is a medical term as well, meaning “a regulated course, as of diet, exercise, or manner of living, intended to preserve or restore health.”
So Carin’s request of her godmother to give her a regimen of prayer was perfect. And indeed, Carin’s prayer regimen did restore her to health.
When Carin used the phrase “prayer regimen,” it dropped into my heart and resurfaced in the dark at 4am to remind me that for a mystical practice to have a powerful impact in your life, it needs to be treated as what it is—a regimen of sacred medicine—and taken consistently.
But “consistently” is different for each one of us.
I am sorry to report that there is no mystical doctor to diagnose your life and write a prescription for your prayer regimen. I know there are plenty of teachers and coaches who will offer to do that for you, but I don’t think they can.
Have you seen spiritual schedules that purport to describe the perfect day?
I stumbled upon one yesterday and not one spec of it would fit my life. It said the “perfect day” begins at when you rise at 6:30am, meditate, exercise, eat breakfast and, finally, have coffee. (Waiting so long for coffee is a deal breaker right there.) You finally start to work at 10am for a measly 2 hours before lunch, followed by another 2 hours of work. Then on this "perfect" day you stop and exercise at 4:30, eat dinner, and get to bed by 9.
NOT ONE THING on this list would fit my life. Furthermore, I DON'T WANT a life that looks like that.
Seeing that description of the supposedly perfect day that balances all your physical, material, and spiritual needs just reinforced why I do not teach a perfect day. And why I believe no one can. I do not tell you when to soul write or for how long or where. Instead, I encourage you to become your own spiritual physician and create your own sacred regimen for your own precious and holy life.
The word I think best describes your personal sacred regimen is rhythm.
You will happily adhere to your regimen and it will happily dance you into sacred mystical wholeness and well-being when it matches the natural rhythms of your life.
And, if you want to really get into the mystical nature of rhythm, I encourage you to explore the natural rhythms all around you: in each 24-hour night to night rhythm, in each 28-day lunar cycle rhythm, in the annual rhythms of the seasons, and in the 12-month rhythms of your personal year from birthday to birthday. Yes, there are natural phases of your year, just as there are natural phases of the moon. And when you become aware of them and bring them into your deep soul writing, your deep soul writing will carry you very deep into The Mystic.
This is exactly what you're going to discover in the Deep Soul Writing in The Mystic prayer intensive opening July 2.
For 28 days you're going to experiment—on your own and in community—and see what it feels like to deep soul write and deep soul read and deep soul pray in alignment with the natural rhythms of your sacred life.
Please come visit the page I created for this radically different Deep Soul Writing prayer intensive. The video will give you a taste for just how different and deep this intensive will be.
Join me and a global soul community gathering to discover what happens when we create a personal mystical practice regimen that follows our own natural rhythms.
Can't be with us live? Don't worry. Every session is recorded in both video and audio formats and available the next day.
to falling in love with a deeply personal mystical regimen that helps you remember what your heart knows is true: you are the beloved of The Beloved,
PS If you or friends are anywhere near Minneapolis, the first Prayer Concert with Timothy Frantzich, Carin Vagle, and Dean Magraw of Sofia is at Unity of Minneapolis on Wed June 12 at 7pm. You'll get to hear several of my new prayers and Sofia's exquisite sacred music. Scroll down to June on the Experiences page for details: Experiences