The techniques in these mindfulness essays keep God close at hand. Through prayer, we stay aware of God’s omnipresence, forgive as soon as we’re offended, and bless everyone and everything, thereby connecting to those around us, making it harder to hate and easier to love; and we humble ourselves, every moment, before the grandeur of life.

(For full discussions on all these topics, please refer to the other Mindfulness essays in the table of contents.)

The latest technique I’ve been practicing involves prayer. Like all mindfulness exercises, it is simple. Before getting into it, I want to talk about prayer.

First, to whom are we praying? God, of course. But who or what is God? No one knows for sure.

“All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”—Matthew 11:27.

Still, we can approximate a working definition, so we’ll at least have some starting point for building a relationship with God. This is also a great introductory mindfulness exercise.

From the opening line of the Lord’s Prayer, we see that God is in Heaven.

“…When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven…. “—Luke 11:2.

And Jesus said that Heaven is within each and every one of us.

“…for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”—Luke 17:21.

If Heaven is within, then God is within each and every one of us. Further, God made everything.

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”—John 1:3.

And so God exists not only within the people, but within, and as, everything.

As you go through your day, stop as often as you can, and note whatever you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell; all of it is God. This is the definition of infinity. Because, keep in mind, there are many more things in the universe than what’s in front of you. God is all of that too.

Look at your fingers. That’s God. The color of them is God. The sound of you snapping your fingers, their smell, texture, length, width, and so on, all of it is God.

The basic definition that I use in all of these essays is this:

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”—1 John 4:8.

Since God is love, then that’s why we need to love every one and every thing.

“…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”—Matthew 25:40.

That’s because all of it is God. And since Heaven, and therefore God, is within you, by loving everything, you are doing good for, and loving, yourself. This understanding is the revelation, the a-ha! moment that destroys your world of sin, throws your demons into hell—which is the absence of Heaven, of God—and, therefore throws your demons away from you, causing you to be reborn.

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”—Revelation 21:21.

The new Jerusalem written of in the Revelation is a new you, a life without the lingering of sin. We extirpate sin by forgiving others, as well as ourselves. And we forgive through prayer.

We must not forget to forgive ourselves. This is crucial.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”—Matthew 6:12.

God will forgive us, but only if we forgive first. So when I am the trespasser, then God will forgive me only after I have forgiven myself. If I don’t, the sin stays with me, the guilt remains. And when Judgment Day comes, God will judge me. Since God is within me, then I will actually be judging myself.

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”—John 5:22.

God has given judgment over to Jesus. And while this is a fine point, Jesus is the word, and the word is God.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”—John 1:1.

Jesus is also the light.

“[John the Baptist] came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.”—John 1:7.

And the light was made by God.

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”—Genesis 1:3.

And Jesus is his commandment.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”—John 13:34.

Love cannot exist without forgiveness. Since God is love, then Jesus (God’s only begotten son) is forgiveness.

“For God so loved the world that He gave the only begotten Son, so that everyone believing in Him should not perish, but should have eternal life. / For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”—John 3:16-17.

Before Judgment Day comes, then, we need to forgive everyone, which is to say, love everyone—including, especially, ourselves.

This is my new mindfulness exercise: Through prayer, I forgive myself when I sin. I also forgive myself for everything in the past, that I haven’t forgiven myself for yet. That, too, I do through prayer.

This requires introspection. While in prayer, look deeply. Remember. Go through the book of your life. Be honest with yourself.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”—Revelation 20:12.

I know my sins. They’ve held me down, imprisoned me long enough! I’ve done my time, paid my debt. So have you. It’s time for parole, a new life.

Stay aware. Keep God with you, through prayer, so you’ll see your sins as they happen. Then forgive yourself.

I developed a little equation that helps me to know when I’ve practiced forgiveness: Understanding + Acceptance = Forgiveness.

To forgive someone, even ourselves, we have to understand (or empathize with) them. Why did they sin? Was it a matter of survival? We are all liable to do anything if we are desperate enough. Survival doesn’t need to be taken literally, as life or death, but as their way of life—the loss of which can be just as scary as death.

Did they sin out of pride? What all have you done to maintain your pride?

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”—Proverbs 16:18.

Pride is a basic weakness. We all experience it. We all sin. Stay mindful through prayer.

“…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”—John 8:7.

Keep God with you, so you will be less likely to slip into hypocritical, self-righteous indignation.

“Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”—Luke 6:42.

If you walk, then you can’t (or shouldn’t) blame others for walking. We all walk differently, so we shouldn’t blame others for keeping their own pace.

Did they sin just to be mean? This is probably the hardest one. Sometimes we’re mean just to be hateful. Face it. Understand that anger builds like steam in a kettle. If we don’t deliberately, purposefully, release the pressure, then it will escape on its own, with or without our consent.

We must remain aware, through prayer, of our sins, and forgive ourselves so that our debts don’t pile up.

God exists in all of us, individually and as a whole. Therefore, we are tethered to each other—sharing breath, time, space, dreams, desires, and a need to be respected and accepted for who we are. We are all a manifestation of God, a particular expression that is unique in the universe.

Understand this, and you will be reborn.

Acceptance is the second term in the forgiveness equation. For it, we need another equation: Love + Humility = Acceptance.

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”—Matthew 23:12.

We must humble ourselves before God. The sea is so vast, powerful, and beyond understanding; and my boat is so small.

“For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.”—Ecclesiastes 5:7.

When the Bible tells us to fear God, what it means is that we should respect and humble ourselves—as we do when we‘re afraid—before the awesome, unfathomable universe, and the one true God that/who/whom is even greater than the universe.

As your eyes and ears are a part of you, we are all parts of the universe: aspects, archetypal traits of God. Though every one of us is a vicarious substitute for God, a way for the universe to know itself—or, at least, a part of itself—we are not, actually, God.

In Eden, the first temptation is the desire to be God.

“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”—Genesis 3:5.

This temptation caused the fall of humanity, the expulsion from paradise. Don’t underestimate our will to power. The shame caused by our weaknesses—our inability to conquer, or even stand before the overwhelming universal hurricane—provokes an ironic, unrealistic perspective: that we are in control.

We’re not. Face it. Accept it, through humble prayer. You and I are not the captains of our small boats. Even if we are, the frothing, towering waves take us where they take us, which is often nowhere near our planned destination.

Be mindful, throughout your day, of what becomes of your plans—of how many times you must alter, adjust, and reconfigure them, in your desire to maintain your chosen course. The sea takes your tiny boat where it wills. You are the observer, chronicler, subject, and worshiper, not the captain.

I once asked my grandfather, the now-deceased Southern Baptist preacher, whose Bible I use to research these essays, what the Bible said about determinism and fatalism. Are we in control, or are we not?

He told me to imagine a big circle. This is God’s will. Then imagine a smaller circle inside of the larger one. This is your will.

Be mindful, through prayer, of this difference, and the similarity. Your will is God’s will, since God made everything, and exists within everything. But, at the same time, it is your will.

Did God really think that Adam and Eve wouldn’t eat the apple? Of course not. God made the apple and serpent, as well as Adam and Eve. God made the apple appear succulent and desirable. God made desire, invented temptation, and our weakness to the will of power.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”—Genesis 3:6.

Eve chose to eat it. Adam chose it as well. Therefore, we choose to suffer by living apart from God. We prefer the slums of Earth to the rich, verdant garden of Heaven. But since that is our choice, then we can choose, instead, to be reborn. Through prayer and mindfulness of God, we can be like Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Joshua, Jesus, Peter, and St. John the divine (author of the Revelation). We can leave the homes of our fathers, and make the pilgrimage to the promised land.

“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.”—Genesis 12:1.

We must be humble enough to admit that we don’t know everything. We must be mindful enough to accept that we are off course: full of anger, hatred, and doubt, and the delusion that we are God, instead of a small, but necessary part of God.

Once we understand our position in this vast ocean, then we can follow the stars to the port of our Heavenly Father, and be reborn.