By Sheesha Hee, New Age Islam
12 March 2018
If you have a good friend, you love his/her company. You enjoy spending hours on end with him/her, talking about all sorts of things or even just experiencing his/her presence in silence, without having to speak a word. Now, if, as many religions teach us, God (who dwells within us and everywhere else) is our best friend, it’s good to think about how much time we spend in ‘His’ company each day. If we tabulate this and compare it with the time we spend on things like eating, sleeping, gossiping, fiddling with our phones and so on, many of us (myself included) will find that we give relatively little time to the One who we might claim is our dearest friend.
Various religions prescribe different methods for people to commune with the Divine. Prayer, meditation and contemplation are some such methods. These differ in their forms in the different religious traditions, but their essential function is the same.
Setting aside a specified bit of time every day to talk with God in the form of a friendly conversation is another good way to commune with the Divine. It can be a very helpful means to cultivate or further strengthen one’s personal relationship with God. It’s a practice that I and my friend Chinku sometimes follow. We call it ‘Chat-and-Paw’: you chat with God, and, along with this, in a notebook you write down (with your little ‘paw’!) the things that you may say to ‘Him’ during the conversation.
You could try to do ‘Chat-and-Paw’ too (though you might like to call it something else!). Allot a fixed period of time for this every day—fifteen minutes may be good in the beginning, and you might soon enjoy it enough to want to extend it by another ten minutes or more. It might be good to do Chat-and-Paw in the evening, after dinner (but before you start feeling sleepy!), when you can reflect on the day’s events and on your behaviour that day. Once you’ve fixed the timing for Chat-and-Paw, try to follow it every day (Of course, don’t be rigid about this. Some days, you may be very busy or tired and so you might miss doing Chat-and-Paw, but that’s okay!).
Set your alarm clock for the duration of your Chat-and-Paw session. Then, take your pen and your Chat-and-Paw notebook, sit in a comfortable position and start your conversation with God. As the conversation proceeds, write down all the things that you tell God. These might include the following:
1. Expressions of gratitude for various things.
2. Expressions of praise of God.
3. Expressions of emotions, both ‘positive’ (such as joy, satisfaction, and contentment) as well as ‘negative’ (sorrow, anguish, fear, tiredness, anger, irritation etc.)
4. Requests for God’s guidance for one’s life in general or for particular issues (such as difficult situations or people who are behaving difficult).
5. Requests for God’s help.
6. Expressions of remorse and requests for forgiveness for wrongs that one may have done.
7. Requests for God’s blessings for specific people or for the whole universe.
8. Jokes and light-hearted comments that we want to share with God: I’d like to think that God wants to see us happy and that ‘He’ has a good sense of humour!
I think doing ‘Chat-and-Paw’ has done me good. You might find it to be good for you, too. Would you like to try? Maybe you could start today itself!
Words of Wisdom
“Beware of anything that threatens to take away your joy [in the name of religion]. In the end it will probably take you away from God as well.”
Rabbi Arthur Green, Judaism’s Ten Best Ideas: A Brief Guide for Seekers