The consciousness of the One is Unity. It is neither prayer nor meditation nor anything else that has a name. Yet, the approaches to this One are varied, each bringing more of one aspect of this Unity to the fore than another. The Unity remains the same, yet the paths of approach create different views and experiences of what That is.
Prayer, which addresses the Source of being, addresses that Source through relationship, through the deepest love of the soul for the Divine Oneness that is at its core. Prayer may be considered to be the heart of meditation, and meditation may be considered to be the consciousness of unity that prayer seeks.
This is the blessing of spiritual knowledge, that we may approach the Divine in many different ways corresponding to the essential qualities of our own soul which seeks to join with the Oneness as its own Beloved and spiritual Home. What feels like Home to one soul may not exactly feel like Home to another. And so the One that contains all consciousness within itself will represent itself along the line of recognition so that each soul will know that it is Home because it will feel a vibrational affinity that lets it know that this is the case — that what it has been seeking has been found.
All paths to the One are true paths, as varied as they may be, because in their purity of origin they represent the many ways in which the One can be perceived, all of which are correct. It is with this in mind that we can speak of prayer and meditation as two approaches to the Divine Unity, each holding a mystery that can be explored in ever increasing depth by the beholder. Prayer, which addresses the Source of being, addresses that Source through relationship, through the deepest love of the soul for the Divine Oneness that is at its core. For prayer, the heart is instrumental in deepening the approach to the Divine Unity. For it is the heart that gives intensity, depth, and completeness to the communion that can take place through prayer, and it is the heart that can experience a joining in love with the Divine Heart that requires nothing beyond this, for it is complete in itself.
Meditation can also take one to the Heart of the Divine, but more often it takes the seeker to the Being of the Divine. Here is a door that one enters not in a relationship of two but in a unity of One. In this place there is no self and other; there is no self and larger Self. There is just One, experienced as both self and other, and beyond these labels as well. This joining is on the level of Being. It is an experience of feeling all within the All. It is the droplet that knows the ocean while not being separate from the ocean, and it is the ocean that knows the droplet while not being separate from the droplet. In this place of joining, all separation vanishes. No droplet, no ocean, only One. Here, one goes beyond relationship to the Unity of Being itself, the primordial place from which all life sprang forth.
Human beings have the capacity because of the depth they are capable of experiencing of joining the Divine Heart through prayer and the Divine Being through meditation in a practice that unites both. At times, this practice may be articulated in an outer way, but often it is an inner process of joining the heart with the deeper self that takes place at a junction in which two roads converge, the road of prayer and the road of meditation. These roads may be joined within the being of the individual self that seeks to reunite with the Divine Oneness.
In a simple way that is accessible to most seekers of all spiritual backgrounds, it is possible to pray and to sit, to orient oneself in love toward that which is greater than self, and then to become That. Here, it is not a matter of either-or, but of allowing the joining with the Oneness to take place on multiple levels, and as deeply as one is capable of feeling at a given point in the soul’s journey. Prayer may be considered, in this sense, to be the heart of meditation, and meditation may be considered to be the consciousness of Unity that prayer seeks. Through praying and sitting silently, through the intent of joining with the Divine Oneness, both paths can open so that neither is excluded. When this happens, the heart feels completely held in love, and the deeper self feels completely one with All. This is the goal of unification that is the destiny of human consciousness. It is the joining of one with the All so that one becomes the All in love.