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How Prayer and an Open Mind Made Me a Better Software Developer

Experience submitted by Julian Kingman

About 7 or 8 years ago, I was having trouble installing some design software that I had just bought, and I discovered that it was incompatible with the hard drive I had installed. I did some Google searching, and soon made things much, much worse.

I don’t remember all the steps I took, but I ended up deleting my Master Boot Record (that’s very, very bad), and my computer was “bricked” (a tech term meaning the device has been rendered as useful as a brick).

At an all-time low in the process, I used a technique I learned from Belsebuub’s work: I prayed to my divine mother.

After that prayer, a simple thought came to me: “why don’t you try to understand the problem?”

I discovered an underlying lazy desire for it to “just be fixed already,” a desire that was driving me to try every solution I came across. Pushing that aside, I began to examine the real problem instead, to see what specifically was wrong.

To my surprise, I was able to restore my master boot record, “un-brick” my computer, and even install my design software all within thirty minutes of taking this approach.

During software development, I’ve used prayer countless times to ask for help solving a problem. Sometimes, a problem has been so difficult it has literally brought me to tears. Any time I encounter difficulties during the course of my work now, I try to remember to pray, as I’ve noticed things become much easier when I do.

When faced with a particularly stubborn bug that I was trying to fix, I prayed for help, and a new idea came to me: “ask someone for help.” This not only helped me solve my problem quickly, but showed me how strong and useful the software development community can be.

In another case, I had a complex problem with many moving parts, and one part was not working. I prayed for help, and immediately saw that I could sidestep the problem by addressing it in another area.

This helped me solve me problem, and showed me that most times that I’m faced with an “insurmountable problem”, I can approach it from a different angle and get leverage. Sometimes though, all I could do was pray for help to not become despondent, and continue to trudge through the problem.

Through these experiences, I’ve seen that beyond just solving the problem, prayer often also brings a deeper understanding and helps me see the mechanisms that are at play.

As an added bonus, the approaches above have been just as helpful in understanding myself and developing spiritually, as solving problems. Not being lazy with self-observation, not jumping to conclusions, asking for help, and seeking understanding (not just solutions) have been instrumental in changing myself, and having better relationships with others.

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25 comments
  • Those are inspiring experience Julian, showing how prayer is a living form of the highest communication we have as people, and communicating with that true and living faith is very uplifting and amazingly real.

  • Thanks Julian for your post. Prayer is also something that I am reflecting on now. Just today I woke up and felt that I needed to pray. However it was difficult to just pray because I am not in the habit of doing it in the traditional way and had other obstacles. Reading your post and reflecting on my comment has finally allowed me to pray. I was praying for freedom from compulsive tendencies. It did not feel selfish nor materialistic, but also helped me focus on the tasks that I am doing.

    • Yes, I agree Alex. Prayer is a very important part of daily life. Without it, it’s so easy to become disconnected from the divine, but with it, we can develop an ongoing personal relationship with our divine parents and the other spiritual beings, which can become an essential help during times of difficulties.

  • Great article Julian,

    Thanks for pointing this out. I imagine this approach could work well in many situations.

    Once in a library I asked a woman for help to print something and she started to get really nervous; after a while it became obvious that she didn’t know how to do it. It took a long time for me to calm her down and she looked like she was on the brink of some kind of mental break down. We worked it out eventually and it was a complex process. She could really benefit from your insights, it’s a pity more people don’t look into these things.

    I’m currently trying to do something that is leading me down the same ‘trudging’ way that you speak of and I’m sure many are familiar with; your story is inspiring me to hopefully face it better. I’m reminded of something I heard a long time ago:

    ‘Satan injects the pain and we go and search for the pleasure’

    Can’t remember where that came from but I think of that when the pain hits and try to face it.

    Thanks again for your insights.

    • That’s quite an apt quote Martin – very true. I think many of us can relate to the drive to pursue pleasure as a way of escaping from painful emotions or situations in life.

      I can also relate to the “trudging” through life, which you mentioned. This has been particularly acute for me, as I have been literally confined to the same building for most of the last few years, so the sense of enjoyment in awareness became replaced by a feeling of repetition and drudgery. I tried to distract myself with things that were useful, such as listening to spiritually uplifting talks or music and these definitely helped to uplift me for a while. But I also realised that by placing my attention continuously on external stimuli, I was missing a lot of the thoughts and feelings that were coming up inside.

      Recently though, I’ve made a big effort to go “back to basics” in terms of boosting my sense of awareness during daily tasks. Even if I’ve done the same old thing hundreds of times before, I realised that awareness can bring a much needed sense of freshness to any task and actually make it enjoyable to do. It’s much nicer to start living in the moment again, rather than continuously looking for that next distraction, in order to avoid unpleasant feelings.

      • Back to basics; that’s always a good idea in my experience Michael. Thanks for pointing that out; it’s a good reminder 🙂

        I can relate to missing the thoughts when caught in distraction; it’s so important to see them and work out what is happening.

  • I was reminded of your article here earlier Julian. I was trying to fix an error message on my computer that had come up. I browsed a website giving a possible solution. But first they started by explaining all about the problem and I felt that ‘I can’t be bothered with this, let’s skip to the solution.’ ( Not that reading whole pages for every little issue is needed, sometimes time is better spend and a quick answer will suffice.) Problem is though I found is that this causes a pressure on my emotions which would make me lose my energy balance. So rather than giving a task it’s own allotted time and doing it in awareness, I was trying to squeeze it between other tasks just wanting to get it over with so I could go back to my original work. However by doing that I was disturbing my emotional energy and I know from past experiences that doing tasks in a hurried ‘just getting it over with’ way can easily throw part of my day off and balance, especially when I get stuck in that downwards track fascinated with just trying to fix things externally.

    To be honest I’ve had too many instances of this occurring the past…. Thinking a task, of one kind or another, would take only a little time and be simple to fix or something easy to make. Only to be faced with complications or to realise that it takes a lot longer and then getting stuck in that blind race to the finish with my emotions tied to the results, my awareness virtually asleep so little learning, and certainly no peace.

    I really hope to change this way of work more and more. When I didn’t manage to fix this small error today, within the 10 minutes I gave it, I managed to not get dragged into the problem. Getting back to my original task list.

    • You really summed up a persistent problem for me Karim, as I’ve struggled a lot to avoid getting attached to the results of getting things done, at the expense of my inner clarity. I can relate to the feeling of wanting to skip to the solution, rather than understanding the problem. As you mentioned in the example of the tech problem, sometimes a solution can be quickly found by skimming online guides, rather than getting immersed in the details, but at other times, we need to give a task a lot more attention, in order to complete it.

      I have quite a lot of restrictions on my time, due to my current circumstances and have found it a huge battle to overcome the frustration that can arise due to wanting to complete tasks and move things forwards, only to be faced with ongoing obstacles. It can be very difficult to actually want to do things, but being continually thwarted. On the other hand, it does give a sense of the preciousness of time and the importance of using it wisely. Each of us only has so many free hours during a day, so if we want to achieve a certain goal, it’s very important to use each fragment of time in the best way we can.

      At the same time, it’s important to avoid creating that internal pressure, which results from wanting to fast forward through difficulties, rather than approaching challenging situations as opportunities for learning.

      • “…., at the expense of inner clarity”

        Nicely said Michael. I think there’s important things that we do need to work for, but the most important thing is ensure to guard that inner light, that treasure of consciousness, and work to make it grow. Allowing it to get swamped -by whatever we would think important- would be the wrong way to go about things.

    • I also noticed the type of emotional drain that you mention. I find that it comes from a time pressure on doing something. It leads me to skim information, look for quick solutions and so on. I was paying attention to skimming once and noticed that just by skipping some information on a page (which I did not know whether I needed or not) caused an emotional tension. On its own it was not significant, but this kind of tension adds up throughout the day and eventually results in exhaustion, loss of focus, and other problems.

      • Yes, that’s right Alex – on their own, these small feelings may seem insignificant, but when they total up during the day, they can create a major sense of emotional imbalance, loss of focus, exhaustion, or other problems. It shows how important it is to maintain a sense of inner clarity on an ongoing basis, in order to avoid wasting precious energy on lower emotions.

  • I loved reading this. It reminds me to ask more, just all the time, throughout my day. Sometimes I talk to my Divine Mother, telling her about the things I find difficult, and it’s very comforting. It’s like having a conversation with a very dear friend. Someone who understands.

  • What a wonderful set of experiences, Julian. And thank you for teaching me a new technical term. I’ve never heard of “bricked”!

    I can really understand that urge to just make things work and to not really understand the issue. Indeed trying everything without an understanding can make things a lot worse. I’ve been guilty of that many times. Amazing how with just some simple prayer, you were able to find so many appropriate solutions (and profit internally as well).

    I hope when my next computer or coding issue arises (most likely tomorrow morning), I’ll be able to take a page from your book and ask for help and try to understand more.

  • It is interesting how sometimes a problem can be so easy to solve and at other times the same problem can be perceived as insurmountable from what I can see. I realised that in my case I am either clear and uplifted or down and unaware when facing major problems.
    Sometimes after just spending few quiet minutes or even praying like in your case, Julian, brings that clarity and understanding.

    It’s great to see that in this way you keep your relationship with the divine alive throughout your daily living.

  • Looks like Julian, you and your divine mother made a great job partnership!
    Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to those moments where I feel helpless from my mind and there is this gap not knowing what to do. It’s so nice when this gap is filled with a faithful prayer which is grounding me and I’m able to get detached for a while from the problem.
    And as someone said there is no problem without a solution, otherwise it is not a problem. 🙂

  • Nice insight Julian, and a good reminder that spirituality is not something that’s only present in romantic, idealistic settings. It makes me think of my own personal struggle with linking my ‘mundane’ work with inner knowledge; I found/find that I can fall into the trap of approaching work tasks with a resentful attitude (“oooh this is so boring, I dislike so much that I have to work to get money to buy things when I could just be skipping around being spiritual”) that means I’m actually blocked from the kind of intelligence that makes the work go more smoothly.

    But when I remember to approach this work with inner discipline and that it’s not somehow a part of my life segmented away from inner practices like prayer, awareness and concentration, I not only avoid getting brought down by egos related to the situation, but the work is much more effective and I can actually appreciate that it’s helping me to learn to structure my mental activity to create more solid concentration.

    It is really hard though to break the pull of egos that are so linked to certain situations, like despair in the fact of a ‘bricked’ computer! 😉

  • It seems something like programming work can be very absorbing and also complex. So I can see how that could easily become a trap, where we are caught by the emotional attachment and drive to try to get to the end result of solving that issue. But with it being so complex we might be caught for a long while in that drive, which when it’s not reaching its goal can really drain us. I know I’ve faced similar issues and when I wasn’t careful I would go well into the night behind my computer to try to get something done, but by doing that forsaking my healthy schedule (of spiritual practices, going to bed on time etc.).

    Anyway it’s great to hear you managed to take that step back at those times. Detach. Ask for help.

    All the best in being conscious in the matrix ;-)!

  • Dear Julian, thank you for this fun and useful story about the power of prayer. I’ve been feeling down the last couple of days, and while I know the source of the depression is within, it’s been hard to get myself unstuck. (I didn’t delete my Master Boot Record, at least :)) In times like these I tend to forget to pray for help. You inspire me, again, to try to remember this…maybe I can set up an alarm to remind me each day to pray! Whatever the way we remember this, it is such a gift and I know that when we do ask for help, we get it. Might be in a way we expect or in another way, but help does come. I’m so grateful you shared, and wish you more insights to come.

  • Very inspiring experiences Julian, thanks for sharing. They clearly show how this spiritual work is not happening just somewhere in the higher realms (even though that’s also true of course), but is a mainly a part of our everyday lives, and it is in these everyday struggles where we can learn to comprehend these eternal principles you’ve mentioned (like the necessity to stop, ask others for help, seek understanding rather than quick fix, etc). They also show how important it is to not get fascinated by a problem, but take a step back and reach internal clarity and detachment first before continuing.

    To a certain extent, I verified this as well when working as a software translator, as that work was so tiring, the amount of it mounting and the content so dry and unappealing… I usually just plodded through it mechanically, with my mind seeking to escape from it at every opportune moment seeking at least minute distractions. However, when I decided to apply what I had learned through Belsebuub’s work, giving it my full concentration and interest (like I really started pondering on each of those technical sentences, making sure I understood them and did my best to translate them well), the work was done so much more quickly and in higher quality, that it left me in awe. I thought that if I had been applying this approach all the time, I would have saved so much time and would have also ended up more peaceful and happy during and after working.

    • That’s good you were able to transform your work practice with a different approach Lucia. I’ve also found that with a change of approach, a boring task can become something that is actually enjoyable.

  • Thanks for sharing your approach Julian. It’s interesting how you were able to apply prayer to an activity that would normally be associated with a technical and scientific way of thinking, in order to gain a new perspective.

    I can relate to the feelings of despair when trying to work on something computer-related and being completely stuck as to how to fix a problem, especially if time is limited. But I’ve also found your approach of taking a step back to be useful, especially when my inability to resolve a problem has resulted in a lot of frustration.

    I think taking time to reconnect with the divine part of us can be beneficial throughout so many aspects of our lives, as it can give us a clearer perspective on a particular problem and its importance, as well as allowing more creative solutions to become apparent.

Belsebuub

Author Belsebuub
Image © Mark Pritchard
Mark Pritchard (Belsebuub) is a British-born spiritual teacher and author who explains that every person has their own unique spiritual aspect... Read more here.

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