In most Western Advaita circles prayer is an absolute anathema because it seems necessarily to imply duality. So with most seekers I have waited years until I introduced the topic. (As up to now I have only worked with people on a one on one basis, no-one has been exposed to something that he was not yet ready to digest.)
When finally I do introduce prayer people respond in a very similar way to it: with a mixture of scepticism („This certainly is something we are beyond, aren’t we?“), bad conscience (“Is not this a regressive step?”) and longing to allow themselves to pray.
The biggest obstacle to prayer is the Western notion of God. The God they know of is an entity different from them, meaning this God definitely is part of duality. No Western Advaitin wants to turn to that. Moreover – even though there is much talk about His benevolence – many people have developed a healthy kind of a mistrust concerning His expression of love and care. They associate God with shame, guilt and punishment and much rather live without Him. Continue reading