New Book Announcement
How Do You Pray? by Celeste Yacoboni
About the Author
About Celeste Yacoboni
Celeste Yacoboni is passionate about helping people discover a deeper experience of the sacred in their daily lives. Celeste is a Minister of Walking Prayer, ordained by the Center for Sacred Studies in Sonora, California. Her work focuses on guiding and supporting people through transitions by creating a space of awareness, presence and inspiration, which integrates body, mind, spirit and emotions.
She maintains a thriving private practice in Santa Fe, NM in which she facilitates healing and wholeness through Massage Therapy, Chi Nei Tsang, Qigong, Women’s Breast Health, Plant Essences, the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono, Spiritual Direction and the inquiry “How Do You Pray?”
Celeste leads “How Do You Pray?” workshops in which people share and experience different ways of prayer and connecting to Source. On her Ho’oponopono CD, Celeste sings a Hawaiian healing practice, which creates a space of love, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.
How Do You Pray? is her first book.
New Book Announcement
As we evolve, so do our prayers;
as our prayers evolve, so do we.
This is the evolution of illumination,
the collective voice of the soul of the world.
What is your soul’s expression? How do you dance in ecstasy, bare your soul to the divine? Bow in gratitude? Merge with nature? Cry out for guidance? How do you pray?
“How Do You Pray? is a rich tapestry of the ways in which people communicate with the Absolute, however it is named. It beautifully portrays humankind’s eternal desire for transcendence. This book is a loving accomplishment — more like a prayer than a book.”
— Larry Dossey, MD, One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
How Do You Pray? Inspiring Responses from Religious Leaders, Spiritual Guides, Healers, Activists & Other Lovers of Humanity (Monkfish Book Publishing, July 2014) was born from a vision in which Celeste Yacoboni was guided to ask the world, “How do you pray?” She reached out to family and friends, then to leading figures from all walks of life and schools of thought. Culled from those responses is an original and deeply personal collection of prayers, essays, and offerings that encourages readers to contemplate the intention of prayer in their own life.
Composed essentially of prayers and short biographies of its 129 contributors (leaders of diverse spiritual and religious traditions ranging from Buddhism to Judaism to Islam to Christianity, as well as those who do not claim any particular walk of faith), How Do You Pray? is an interspiritual prayer book and resource guide to an emerging global spirituality, which embraces our religious and spiritual diversity.
Contributors include Brother David Steindl-Rast, Matthew Fox, Gregg Braden, Dan Millman, Huston Smith, Byron Katie, Marianne Williamson, Margaret Starbird, Lama Surya Das, Andrew Harvey, Terry Tempest Williams, Alex Grey, Masaru Emoto, Arvol Looking Horse, Patch Adams, Roshi Joan Halifax, Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, James O’Dea, Hank Wesselman, Father Bede Griffiths, and many other luminous voices of spirit.
How we pray is as diverse as each being on our planet…
“I feel blessed. Although it may appear strange, I don’t really take time to pray. I feel a special contact with God left unspoken, and I feel the presence of God in my everyday life.”
— Fred Alan Wolf
“I pray by giving thanks and gratitude to earth, air, water and fire and the sun for giving me all that I need to thrive.”
— Sandra Ingerman
“Art is a prayer made visible. Music is a prayer made audible. Dance is a prayer embodied. But the greatest art we practice is the art of Compassion, which is prayer in action and service.”
— Gina Rose Halpern
“Prayer is our most universal and yet also individual way of communicating with the divine, of connecting with the infinite dimension of our being. As this collection so beautifully illustrates, we each have our own way of prayer and praise. Let these words speak and remind you of this sacred mystery. Allow yourself to be drawn into this living secret of divine love.”
— Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
“What science is discovering is that prayer works even without religion.”
— Steve Bhaerman
“In this dazzling collection of praises to the One, an array of spiritual practitioners shares intimate glimpses into their inner lives. What a privilege! What stunning beauty, naked humility, startling insight. This is no standard collection of established devotions; it is a full-bodied, broken-openhearted love song to the Great Mystery.”
— Mirabai Starr, God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam
“Celeste Yacoboni is the curator of the world’s greatest spiritual practices and prayers, all put together in one beautiful, holy book and place, where anybody who believes in anything or nothing can reconnect to themselves, to God, and to why they are really here.”
— Marcia Wieder, CEO/Founder of Dream University
Question and Answers with Celeste Yacoboni
Q: What inspired you to do this project and create a book?
A: I woke up with a vision and I heard the words, “How do you pray?” I felt the essence of all people, religions and beliefs. I also felt the unity in the oftentimes-extreme diversity of spiritual paths. I felt great compassion for the perceived separation that we can feel when we are disassociated from each other and our divinity. This inquiry has changed the course of my life and became the focus of my work. As I considered the question, I saw my life as a prayer, and was inspired to ask others what is prayerful in their lives. I envisioned a book of responses from our spiritual teachers, thought leaders and activists would support us and offer us hope in this time of great transition.
Q: How long did it take you?
A: About 6 years in linear time, but it had what I call a divine timing aspect. It took days after the vision to even share it with my husband. How could I put something so vast into words? But once I started asking people, How do you pray?, I couldn’t stop. I asked my family, friends, clients and everyone I came in touch with. We sat in circles and shared our many ways to praise, chant and connect with the Source of our being. People heard of it and sent me their prayers. I received hand-written responses from children living in a safe house in Nepal. That cracked my heart open with love for all humanity. As I wrote to religious teachers and spiritual guides, they wrote back with deep responses, sharing their hearts and souls.
Q: How do you pray, Celeste?
A: I say yes to love and life. When I open my eyes in the morning I am flooded with grace and I feel gratitude in every cell. Every breath is a prayer. I ask myself, Am I breathing or being breathed? Am I praying or being prayed? I enjoy rituals from many traditions and they are a natural part of my day. I may light Tibetan incense and stare into the eyes of the bronze White Tara Goddess of Compassion, or I chant the name of God in many languages from many traditions, and I say the Hail Mary honoring our Blessed Mother from the Catholic tradition from which I was raised. As a teenager I started exploring all spiritual traditions and fell in love with them all, realizing their essence was one and the same. I have come to know that all life is a prayer. I pray over the seeds that I plant in my garden to honor the cycle of life. I light a candle when I hear of a friend that has left this world and gone beyond. I look into the eyes of my husband at night before sleep and know that it is enough… I live what I call a prayerful life.
Q: What is Interspirituality?
A: Interspirituality allows for respect, appreciation and participation of any religious tradition or spiritual practice, whether it is the one that we were born into or choose. We can sit together as one, with inspiration and gratitude for and to each other, ourselves and any name we choose to give to the life force that ignites us all. Interspirituality honors all spiritual paths. Interspirituality is acceptance and respect for all ways to kneel and kiss the ground. It is to participate in the rituals of communion, union with our divine essence in all forms.
“I suppose I’ve never thought about God in my life and never really prayed. As a doctor when I’m with someone suffering, if they have a faith, I pray to their faith. I’ve seen its great power. I take what I find holy—friendship and care—and it comes out in the language of their faith.” —Patch Adams
Q: What is the Prayerfield?
A: There are always people praying. Any time of the day or night in any part of the world there are people holding the vigil of prayer. Your prayer joins with all prayers in a vast energetic field. Prayer is energy and energy moves through intention. Our prayer merges with and is carried on the universal energy that spins the planets and beats our hearts. When many people have the same intention, the same prayer, we connect and create an energetic template that translates into form. It is an intelligent relationship and union with all of life.
“I pause to acknowledge and honor the Heart Essence—which is the enlightened essence of all the Masters, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Deities and the Higher Self—that lives within me. I merge with my Inner Self, the part of my being that resides there, and I tune into the Prayerfield of the Heart Essence, feeling the forces of love, light and healing move me to prayer.” —Tara Stapleton
Q: What was your process for gathering the contributions for How Do You Pray?
A: I sent out emails far and wide. That original invitation requested that they write something and send it back to me, or if best for them we could do a phone interview. I bought a simple phone recorder when I got the email saying Rabbi Zalman would speak with me. It was a miracle. All I said was, “How do you pray?” He spoke and I listened to this great teacher share the very personal ways he prays. What an honor! Most of the contributors sent me their prayers and essays. Some took years to get. I did about 12 phone calls that I now have recorded and cherish.
Q: How did you get around the names and labels of Divinity as you talked with such a diverse group of people from many different faiths and walks of life?
A: That’s the beauty of How Do You Pray? It is accepting and all-inclusive. People used their own language, a language of the heart that transcends separation. We understood the beauty of all the many names for the Divine. I use the word God and it’s very exciting! With the growing disenchantment with religious institutions, it seems we are evolving a new language to translate and honor the oneness of humanity and divinity. There’s no lack of names for this: God Goddess, Creator, Great Spirit, Ultimate Reality, Divine Mother, Holy Father. Any name is like a finger pointing to the moon. We have the opportunity now to be inclusive. Instead of looking at a name as limiting we can honor it as one of the many. God to me is the Grid Of Divinity, and we are all part of it.
“My favorite description of God comes from William McNamara, the Carmelite priest who taught me so much about prayer in my forty years of monastic life. (I am no longer a monk.) Calling God Personal Passionate Presence, he said that the only response to Personal Passionate Presence is our own personal passionate presence. So I have learned to sit in silence, passionately present to the moment, in the fullness of my unique personhood, as who I simply am: Tessa. In the silence I feel the Presence surrounding me. I am immersed in it. I am one with it. It fills me and “speaks” to me, but not in words. I name this Presence “God,” having no trouble with God-language.” —Tessa Bielecki
Q: How would you summarize your experience?
A: How Do You Pray? is a vision, a book and an evolutionary driver. It merges our human primal instincts with our higher-level intuition and awareness. As we sit with this inquiry we develop a depth of experience and possibility. As we get in touch with ourselves, we realize the veils are thin between each other. As we accept our own condition we can better accept that of others. We realize we are not alone, but part of a community – unity in diversity and diversity in unity. We can live together in peace with respect for our differences. We are inspired by our ancient wisdom as we move together into the future. We are the bridge, one with instinct and intuition, grace and gratitude, heaven and earth.
Q: What moved you the most during this journey?
A: The love and generosity I have felt all along the way. The willingness of these incredible people to share so deeply and the acknowledgement that this book was needed and they were honored to be part of it.
Q: Do you have a favorite passage or quote?
A: They are all my favorites. Today I find myself repeating, “I am through with everything but you.” It is from a Rumi quote that Patricia Flasch writes about in the book.
Q: How has your own practice evolved since you started asking how people pray? Do you pray any differently today than when you started this journey?
A: I have an expanded awareness and appreciation for what I call prayer. I am smiling now as I realize the prayerfulness of this question. How we pray is how we speak to each other as well as commune with the Divine. We all become the Divine and sacred to each other.
Suggested Questions for Celeste Yacoboni
- What inspired you to take on the project of asking people how they pray?
- Your book includes a diverse group of spiritual leaders, shamans, scientists, philosophers and guides of many different faiths and practices. How did you come up with such a variety of contributors?
- What is “Interspirituality?”
- How do you describe the Prayerfield?
- How did you get around the names and labels of Divinity as you talked with such a diverse group of people from many different faiths and walks of life?
- Did you talk with the contributors?
- Did any contributions make you laugh? Cry?
- Amit Gotswami said, “In all spiritual traditions, the prayer ends in silence.” Are there other commonalities in prayer, threads that ran through all traditions?
- How would you summarize your experience?
- How did working on this collection change you?
- How would you like this book to change the world?
- What moved you the most during this journey?
- Do you have a favorite passage or quote?
- How do you pray, Celeste? And how has your practice evolved over the last seven years?
- Where can others contribute their prayers and comments?
Recordings of Radio Interviews with Celeste Yacoboni
The latest news about the How Do You Pray? project can be found at http://howdoyoupray.com/news.
Here are recent interviews:
Video Recordings of Contributors Reading Their Contributions
How Do You Pray? Inspiring Responses from Religious Leaders, Spiritual Guides, Healers, Activists and Other Lovers of Humanity — By Celeste Yacoboni
Monkfish Book Publishing Company / Distributed by Consortium
Trade Cloth 9781939681171 US $22.00 /CAN $23.99
Trade Paper 9781939681232 US $16.00 /CAN $17.50
Ebook 9781939681188 US $14.99 /CAN $16.50
Publication date: July 2014