“Ask the friend for love”

This is the part 2 of my post
on prayer that is based on Tara
Brach’s recent podcast
“Ask the friend for love”

These are my notes from her talk
with a few of my own thoughts – R –
sprinkled in.

Here’s the link to part 1:

What we’re exploring is living prayer.
It’s not a mechanical prayer.
It’s an experiment not a prayer
from any formal religion.


How do we open to the authentic
heart which is really the spirit
in the spiritual path?

Tara’s answer is: “we always start
right where we are.”

R – I love this answer! Prayer happens
in the now; in the present moment.
It’s really the only place to make
a connection with Divine.
Also, “the ordinary stuff of life”
is such an authentic place to pray from
and pray about.


R – Listen to the want
be present to your thoughts,
feelings and emotions.

R – This is signature Tara B.
It has been so helpful to me
to practice this step of
investigation as she constantly
encourages us to do.

Whenever we have a charged emotion
feeling, or thought, if we listen
deeply we’re going to find something
incredibly powerful and important,
but we have to take the time to
dive deeply.

Reflect on something in which
you have a strong want; something compelling.
Ask yourself: “If I got that, what would I get?”
What are you really wanting?
Usually, we find that there is
some sort of homecoming. That we are wanting
to be at home in our lives and in our hearts.

R – Reminds me of the prodigal son’s awakening.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How
many of my father’s hired servants have
food to spare, and here I am starving to
death!… So he got up and went to his father.”

Indian sage Nisargardatta said,
“The problem with you is not
that you have desires, but that
you desire so little. Why not
desire it all? Why not complete
fulfillment, joy and freedom?”


What about the times when we
are really stuck and need help?

During these times we can ask:
What is the fear saying?
What does the fear want?

If it’s love, imagine feeling the
love. What would that feel like?
Who else do I desire to be loved by?
What would it feel like to feel
their love? Say, “please love me.”

R – Tara mentions a line from
the following poem and says she
has learned so much about prayer
from John O’Donohue.
It’s one of my favorites, so I’m
including the entire poem.

For Longing*

Poem by John O’Donohue

blessed be the longing that brought you here
and quickens your soul with wonder.

may you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
that disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

may you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.

may the forms of your belonging – in love, creativity, and friendship –
be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

may the one you long for long for you.
may your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

may a secret providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

may your mind inhabit your life with the sureness
with which your body inhabits the world.

may your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.

may you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
may you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

Prayer is the bridge from longing to belonging.


When you want something you can
only manifest what you already have.

You can’t pray for something unless
you already know it from the inside.
You can’t pray for love unless something
inside you knows about love. You
can’t pray for peace unless there is
something in you that knows about peace.
When you feel a longing, and you
trace it back to its source you
come back to that place that already knows.

Jesus says whatever you have ask
for in prayer believe that you have
received it and it will be yours.
In other words, feel the longing.
Imagine that you have received it.
Imagine and it will already be there
because it always was there, you just forgot.

The deeper the longing is, the
more powerful the prayer and the
experience that comes out of it.

Part of it is an experiment on
how to get in touch with that longing.

What does that afraid alone
place most need?
Tara has found that it needs to
find belonging.
“When I’m feeling scared and alone
I want to know that this body
belongs to loving awareness. That’s
what I am.
I want to trust that.”

There’s also a prayer that comes from
fullness. Out of fullness we offer
the benefits of our practice. We offer
our blessings.

R – More and more I am offering
prayers of blessing and mercy for the people
in my life for no other reason than
I love them and I want them to
be healthy and happy! Join me!


Think of something you long for.
Feel into it. What does this place
most want?

Visualize yourself moving up a mountain.
Whatever you need will be there.
It might be a feeling, or a form like
Jesus or Buddha or your mother.

Imagine receiving what you most need.
You might imagine yourself surrendering
to loving presence, or merging with
loving presence. If it feels difficult
simply ask. Just keep asking because
this is a life practice. Prayer gets
deeper and stronger overtime.

“Ask the friend for love
Ask him again
For I have found that every heart
Will get what it prays for most.”
– Hafiz


~ Rod

*Read more poems like this in John O’Donohue’s book, Bless The Space Between Us

Photo by Rod Janz

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