The Power of Praise and Worship – Part One
It is interesting that in every religious tradition down through the ages, praise and worship, plays a
central role. The specific forms of worship and praise are different in the different traditions, the
words are different, the songs are different, the rituals are different – but the essence is the same.
The practitioner is honoring and glorifying a particular Divinity. Whether one chants “Halleluya”,
“Praise the Lord”, “Om”, “om mane padme om” or “Allah Akbar” – one is engaged in the practice of
praise and worship. Whether one kneels on a prayer mat and faces Mecca, sits in the Lotus
Posture, sways to the rhythm of the Shmone Esre and faces East, or lifts the hands on high – one is
still engaged in the practice of praise and worship.
Could this be an accident? A coincidence? Is it some harmful form of mental disorder as the
secular atheists claim? What particular benefit is gained by these practices – practices which have
occupied untold millions of people (more likely billions) down through the ages?
Is the Divinity like a human being who can be swayed from his course by mere flattery?
Obviously there is much more to it than that.
The Masters who instituted these practices – and they were masters – had a much deeper
understanding of psychology than our current crop of secular psychologists. Infinitely deeper.
What passes for psychology today is little more than the analysis of an intellectual animal of other
intellectual animals – for the supposed betterment of the intellectual animal. Since the mind that is
doing the analyzing is greatly flawed – it derives its findings only from the evidence of the five
senses and the values given to those findings – its conclusions are inevitably flawed as well.
The fact is that the quickest way out of a depression, guilt, fear and anxiety (as well as hosts of
other mundane problems) is the practice of praise and worship. Medication might give a person
some temporary relief, but will not strike at the core of the problem. Prolonged praise and worship
will cure a problem at its root.
It is no accident that among the Jews, mourners – those who have lost a loved one – those who
have just experienced one of the most devastating events a person can experience – are required to
say the “Kaddish” for a whole year (a few times a day). And what is the Kaddish? A song of praise.
Recitations of the Psalms of David – basically songs of praise – are documented by both Christians
and Jews – as the source of many a deliverance.
What do we mean by praise and worship?
First and foremost we mean “acknowledgment”. One acknowledges the Higher Power, by what
ever terminology he or she uses. The terminology is not very important. In this acknowledgment
one recognizes the source of all good – that such a source exists – and that it exists and is
operating in the present moment.
The next step is praising and honoring this source. The source of a person’s or society’s good – is
certainly deserving of inner praise and honor. Will the praise and honor sway the Divinity from it
course. Of course not. But it aligns the person – on a psychological level – with the energy, light
and intelligence of this Divinity – and thus the person in better able to receive what is being given –
constantly being given – 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
But there is much more that goes on here. The mere fact that a person is in a state of “praise and
worship” means that he or she is not in anger, condemnation, depression, attack, or sickness. Sure
in the beginning stages, he or she might still be feeling those things – for they have a certain
momentum of their own – especially if they have been indulged for many years (as if often the
case). But no new energy is being given to these negative thoughts – and thus the very act of praise
and worship weakens them. Its as if one pulled the plug on them. All they have is their accumulated
momentum – which will soon dissipate since they are no longer being fed.
In this new and higher state of mind that is begotten by this practice, other magical and miraculous
things happen. For in this higher state of mind new and higher energy comes into the person. The
energy and intelligence of the Divinity they are worshiping enters the mind and starts to do its
perfect work. Problems are removed in various ways – sometimes through a new solution –
sometimes through a spiritual insight that shows that there was no problem to begin with –
sometimes by the revelation of a negative habit of mind or character that was the cause of the
problem – and the person can now remove this negative habit.
Light begins to come into the darkened and depressed mind. And there is no better cure for
depression than Light. They cannot coexist. Light immediately banishes it.
The Light will, little by little, step by step, remove the binding limitations that cause a person’s pain
and suffering. Limitation is probably the major, spiritual root cause of depression.