Prayer Index

As of November 11th, 2021, I’ve maintained a 250-day streak of praying for thirty minutes per day. I have no interest in stopping. This practice would surprise the me of a few years back, someone who was something of a diehard atheist of the Dawkinsian/Yudkowskian variety.

I believe I have a distinctive perspective on prayer. I don’t know that it’s truly unique, in a world-historical or contemporary sense, and I suspect that it isn’t – nevertheless, I do know that I came up with this approach myself, perhaps as an independent discovery, and haven’t heard it enunciated to my satisfaction elsewhere. Two components of my spirituality are that it is 1) process focused rather than belief focused and 2) intended to be intensely naturalistic, done in full light of our knowledge of the natural world. It has more aspects, but these are a start.

I’ve struggled to explain this still-developing ‘naturalistic spirituality’ to people. But along the way I’ve ended up producing a smattering of content on spirituality, meditation, philosophy and theology. I’ve collected these writings and videos below, as well as references to a few works that influenced my approach to prayer.

I hope these can be of use to others on a similar path.

  1. Techniques and concepts
    1. Describing Prayer video [7 min]
      1. Contains a basic prayer protocol in the video description. If you read only one thing from this list, read that prayer protocol and give it a try.
    2. What is Phenomenology? video [13.5 min]
      • A video demo expressing the concept of phenomenology as ‘the stuff of the mind’.
    3. Your Body Moves On Its Own video [16.5 min]
      • A video demo showing natural body patterns that can emerge via the right introspective intent.
  2. Mindsets
    1. Dirty Saints, Monstrous Hermits video with transcript [7.5 min]
      • A 1964 short speech by Leonard Cohen, discussing formality and fervor in a time of secularism and rigid orthodoxy. Conveys a mindset of sacredness over formality.
    2. The Mystic and the Metaphysician video [6 min]
      • Spirituality as ‘the shaping of the mind’; mystical practice vs philosophical analysis. Conveys the mindset of process over belief.
    3. On heroic sincerity essay [2400 words]
      • Art, self-expression, and bravery in spiritual combat.
  3. Spirituality and perception
    1. What I Learned at the Mount of Olives video [8.5 min]
      • On how we’re spiritually shaped by our physical environments.
    2. On Piercing Experiential Visions essay [~2500 words]
      • Centering first-personal perception in learning and relating to objects of significance.
    3. History is Boring Because You Don’t Want To Feel It essay [~1500 words]
      • Felt meaning and the study of history.
  4. Context around spiritual practice
    1. Improving Your God-Concept video [11 min]
      • A mixed practical & philosophical video, discussing prayer as a type of perception and centering conceptual clarification as one goal of prayerlike contemplation.
    2. What Life is About video [10 min]
      • Thoughts on human development and ways this may suggest a purpose for spiritual practice.
  5. Philosophy
    1. Atheist meme week: a live dissection essay [1900 words]
      • Why smart atheists can get behind the idea of natural law.
    2. Is Syncretism Naive?  video [10 min]
      • Intuition pumps and tensions around syncretism.
  6. Important works
    1. The Hagakure, Yamamoto Tsunetomo (18th century)
    2. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1548)
    3. Confessions, St. Augustine (~400)
    4. Impro, Keith Johnstone (1979)
    5. The Over-Soul, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1841)
    6. Civilisation, Kenneth Clark
    7. Dancing with the Gods, Eric S. Raymond (1995)