On humanism and spirituality
As a student in an all-girls Catholic school, we all went to Mass every Friday. After communion, the priest encouraged us to pray for our intentions before ending the mass with a “going away with peace in our hearts”. Lighting incense sticks in Buddhist temples with prayers for heartfelt wishes. Kites or lighted lanterns with wishes inscribed into them sent off the night sky. Throwing coins into a fountain or a pebble into the center of a mystical pond or lake are other ways to make wishes and hopes come true. An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. Korean lore even mentions that cracking a hazelnut open while making a wish wakes up the house goblin and makes him want to grant your wish.
All these religious or cultural beliefs, rituals, or practices have the mechanism of asking in its essence and root. The 7 Days of Asking program springs from this mechanism of “best wishes” or “good intentions,”
The Asking: Gift to Humanity
The 7-Days of Asking program was inspired by the “Gift” given by Silo — spiritual guide and humanist—at his talk during the inauguration of the La Reja Park of Study and Reflection inauguration in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on May 7, 2005. Silo jokingly said it was so simple, it was “almost like a recipe from a cookbook.”
…” and since at some celebrations people exchange presents, I would like to give you a gift. Then, certainly, it will be up to you to decide whether it merits your acceptance. It consists of the easiest and most practical recommendation I am able to offer. It is almost like a recipe from a cookbook, but I trust you will be able to go beyond simply what is indicated by the words…
At some moment of the day or night inhale a breath of air, and imagine that you carry this air to your heart. Then, ask with strength for yourself and for your loved ones. Ask with strength to move away from all that brings you contradiction; ask for your life to have unity. Don’t take a lot of time with this brief prayer, this brief asking, because it is enough that you interrupt for one brief moment what is happening in your life for this contact with your interior to give clarity to your feelings and your ideas.
To move away from contradiction is the same as to overcome hatred, resentment, and the desire for revenge. To move away from contradiction is to cultivate the desire to reconcile with others and with oneself. To move away from contradiction is to forgive and to make amends twice over for every wrong that you have inflicted on others. This is the appropriate attitude to cultivate.
Then, in time you will understand that what is most important is achieving a life of internal unity. This will bear fruit when what you think, feel, and do go in the same direction. Life grows thanks to its internal unity and it disintegrates because of contradiction.
It happens, then, that what you do does not simply remain inside of you, but also reaches others. Therefore, when you help others to overcome pain and suffering you make your life grow and you contribute to the world. Conversely, when you increase the suffering in others, you cause your own life to disintegrate and you poison the world. Who should you help? First, those who are closest to you, but your action will not end with them. Learning does not stop with this “recipe.” Rather, it begins. –-An excerpt quoted from the talk.
The Asking Program Background
A few volunteers from the Community of Silo’s Message in New York, Buenos Aires, Amsterdam and Athens took on the challenge of developing the recipe and created the program. Doing so, they discovered the power of the “Gift” and decided to offer it freely to all those who search for the light in their hearts.
The initial group in New York started in early 2020. The Asking Program spontaneously spread. New sessions started, with participants from dozens of countries. No doubt the pandemic gave an impulse to this expansion. Today, teams are dedicated to developing the 7-Days of Asking program so the “Gift” can become widely available to the public, especially in this time of need. Currently, the program is in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Hungarian, German, Italian, and soon in Hindi and Japanese.
The 7 Days of Asking Program
The program helps us deepen our experience with the Asking by awakening the heart in a step-by-step process, connecting with the best in ourselves, clarifying our true needs, and finding internal strength. We ask for ourselves and our loved ones, to move away from contradiction, to thank, to reconcile with ourselves and others, for internal unity.
The Recipe – How the Program Works
The Askings are done individually twice daily for 7 days with a reminder sent to each participant daily.
A different Asking is introduced daily together with a reflection and an inspiring phrase.
A key component is three group meetings: Introduction, Interchange and Synthesis. The group interchanges enrich the experience and help make new discoveries. The group strengthens the work and being with like-minded people in the same process in an atmosphere of community spirit and learning environment can be truly uplifting.
Some Personal Experiences and Testimonies
The first Asking Program for the Asia-Pacific Region was launched by Emiko Nagano Friday, July 30, 2021 Day 1 was on Monday, August 1, and ended August 7.
Emiko-New York/Tokyo: “My daily Asking has become my energy boosters. Each time, I am filled with gratitude, as I connect with the best part of me to do an Asking. It’s an intimate and meaningful experience only to discover what’s in my vast internal world.”
Nicholas-Sydney: “I thoroughly enjoyed the 7-days of asking program”. I was able to connect with the best of myself, and in doing so, I believe I connected with my loved ones. Coincidentally, as I was asking for myself and my loved one to move away from contradiction, to be reconciled and have unity in life, I learned that my loved ones exactly made decisions that would fulfill my wishes of freeing from contradiction and moving towards reconciliation and unity.
Boldy-Metro Manila: I did Askings for my family, house help and close friends’ well-being. I also Asked my Guide to bring me out of my contradiction and live a life with unity. I felt very good doing an Asking for others, it felt very unitive.
Enrique-Metro Manila: “Thanks to The Asking, the span of my attention is longer and I can concentrate more after the seven days of Asking. This is more than I asked for. This is great. Also, some concerns (loved ones) were better understood, that’s why there’s the longer attention.”
Gemma- Laguna, Phil.: When I do my daily morning Asking, it sets a positive tone for the day. Asking my guide, a presence, from deep within my chest for the well-being of family and friends. At times, I do another Asking during meetings this time more specific. A strong certainty is felt when I imagine the person in need will be better.
Karina-Metro Manila: “Thanks to the Askings, I gained more internal strength to continue pursuing my chosen life’s direction towards coherence and meaning, and more inspired to give and share freely what I can to everyone around me.”
Some other testimonies from other parts of the world:
Krisztina: “The Asking felt like oxygen to my body and my mind.”
Maria: “The 7-days was a very beautiful experience. From the moment I connected with my inner self, I was able to truly help my loved ones.”
Rosa: “When I was feeling trapped and in deep need of a way out, the Asking opened possibilities for me and made me feel that I can trust the future.”
Interested to know more? Or to look into initiating the program in your area?:
Website/More Info: www.theasking.org
mail: Emiko Nagano firstname.lastname@example.org