Posts tagged prayer
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My friends often ask me how I pray. I don’t remember where I got the idea or how I started my technique, but I use nine bells on a wooden tray I found in my house and a candle with the flame inside the glass. Before I pray, I bow to heaven and earth, and then the sun and moon, and then to my parents. After I bow, I sit there and close my eyes. Before I pray, I ask for peace and blessings. I ask God to help the problems we encounter. As time goes on, I feel the divinity knows what we want and what we need. We do not need to ask for our sake. Gradually, I pray for the goodness of the people in this world.
Recently, I have been quiet. I have enjoyed that peace and quietness. Every time I have this communion with God, the birds always sing. After the prayer, I always ring the bells. At first, I could not understand why someone suggested using bells. The divinity did not need us to awaken it. But I thought it might awaken the people of the world. The people reside in the north, the south, the east, and the west. Yes, the people from all four corners of the world. And then, one day, the Voice told me, “The bells awaken the souls of the people. The human beings in the flesh separate themselves by race, religion, gender, country and every other kind of boundary. But their souls do not discriminate. That’s why you only need to pray for their souls.”
I heard this a few months ago, and it still rings true. More violence has happened in this world because of these distinctions by color, race, religion, country, etc. With this all happening now, I do my part in praying for everyone. In ringing the bell, maybe, just perhaps, the soul of the people will be awakened, and we will no longer have all this separation. We can live in harmony in this precious world.
Ten years ago, I moved into a new house. Well, the house itself wasn’t new, in fact it was 50 years old, but it was new to me. Anyway, every evening at around midnight, I would hear what I came to find out were two opossums running around in the space between first floor ceiling and second floor. They sounded angry and aggressive, perhaps even fighting with each other. After many nights of hearing these sounds, which completely terrified me, I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore. So, I got in touch with an exterminator to come in and check things out.
When the exterminator arrived, he checked everywhere, even up to the attic. He told me that he could seal all the openings in my house, but there would be no guarantee that they would go away. I had this gut-feeling that if I used this company, the problem would still persist and I would end up wasting my money. So, I took action and sealed all the openings myself. But I still heard the fighting and running around every night. It drove me crazy, but it seemed as though there was nothing left for me to do.
A few months later, I was reading a book about prayer. I had just finished reading about a specific prayer ritual when I was inspired to try it out myself. I lit a candle and bowed, paying my respects to heaven and earth, and to the sun and moon. Then I began to pray. I was feeling calm and connected about ten minutes into prayer, when all of a sudden I was jolted out of my peaceful state by an angry loud noise coming from my yard. As I went to investigate the noise, I noticed that it was coming from outside, near my utility room. When I peered out the window I saw one opossum standing in front of an exterior opening to the inside of my house, guarding it from another opossum that was also trying to get in. How could it be that I completely missed this opening when I patched up the house before? I waited until about 10:00am to make sure the opossums had not re-entered the house, and then came out and I blocked the opening. Ever since then, the noises have completely vanished. No more sounds, no more opossums. I had finally solved the problem.
I was amazed the problem, which bothered me for more than a year, was resolved just like that. It is incredible the way that answers come about. Once I finally took the time to pray, a miracle found its way into my life. Only when I allowed myself to feel helpless and vulnerable, did I find myself in the right situation to see what I had missed before: the opening into the house. I wasn’t praying to God to help me, and I wasn’t giving up either – I simply gave myself a time out, to show humility towards the universe, and in return I was given a miracle. I’ve been able to sleep quietly and peacefully ever since.
I also vividly remember how prayer helped to prevent a car from hitting a group of people. I volunteered to drive my friend Sue’s car from San Gabriel Valley to downtown of Los Angeles to take care of some business. She had just moved here from overseas and was not familiar with the area.
I had been driving for many years and even though it was not my car, I was sure I could handle it. But when I took the exit to downtown, I felt something strange going on with the brake. It felt so loose that instead of hovering over the floor, my foot actually kissed the floor each time I pressed down on the break. Fortunately I was able to get the car to stop at the first light. Given that it wasn’t my car, I thought maybe this was just how this particular car drove, so I continued on the road. Far ahead I could see a red light and many pedestrians getting ready to walk across the street. Given my earlier experience exiting the freeway, I immediately began to step on brake.
Oh, no! The break was not responding! I tried hard to press on the brake but the car preceded to move forward. I still remember what it felt like to see the image of the pedestrians getting bigger and bigger as the car crept closer and closer to the crosswalk. I was so frightened that I was going to hit them. I felt so trapped that I envisioned myself holding the steel frame of a jail room. Out of panic I yelled “pray!” Immediately, I could hear Sue’s and her two kids’ so fervently and eagerly filling the car with voices of prayer. Right before I was giving up the hope, the car made a sudden stop right in front the pedestrians.
Just like that, the car completely stopped right in front of them. Some gave me the gesture of pointing their fingers at their eyes, as if saying: “Didn’t you SEE us?” Clearly they were scared for their lives, and so was I. None of them realized that the prayer prevented the tragedy from happening at that time.
We were all so shaken up. We got out of the car, pushed it to the side of the road and called AAA. We climbed back into the car and prayed again as we waited to get towed. We prayed with tears streaming down our faces. We thanked God helping make everyone safe. We were also grateful to be alive to share this experience.
Now let me be clear on my interpretation of what happened with the car: I believe that miracles can come to us in times of desperation as a result of our own earnest efforts in partnership with the wonderful workings of God and/or the Universe. Had I not applied my foot to that break with all of my might, I’m not sure that the powers at be would have come to my aid. I took action, and where my actions perhaps fell short of what was needed to prevent injury or loss of life, a higher power stepped in. Therefore, in my opinion, equally important to prayer is the need for us to take responsibility for our own lives.
That being said, I believe that indeed, miracles can happen through prayer. Sometime when we, as human beings, feel the most powerless and helpless, we can only pray. In our humble experience, prayer can spark the flame that ignites the powerful force of miracle into our lives in the most desperate of times.
Sad stories …
In fact, I was not the only victim of the unscrupulous realtor who sold me the motel. I visited several of her other clients. One was a merchant from Taipei known for his business acumen. He bought a hotel quite a distance from the city and overpaid more than a hundred thousand dollars for the property. I could not figure out how such a smart person could be cheated by a realtor. He shrugged helplessly and blamed jet lag.
An engineer retired from Los Angeles city hall also bought a hotel through same realtor. The location turned out to be unsafe, and he had to buy his home in a safer neighborhood. Like me, he too trusted someone who could not be trusted. Last but not the least was a business person who bought a property from her. She put her attorney’s name on the title instead of his. He got his money back with the help of gang members. Her ranking as a $10-million realtor was built on clients’ blood and tears.
What happened to Charles …
All the attorneys who represented the defendants did not want to contact Charles, the Dixie Mafioso. However, we had no choice but to take his deposition. Charles had moved to Austin to avoid investigation by Dallas law enforcement. My attorney went to see a psychiatrist to buck up his courage before we went to see him. Charles began the interview by asking how my husband was doing. I told him I could pray; then I gave him three gospel tracts. Strangely, he opened his jacket and carefully put them in the pocket above his heart. He died of three cancers half a year later. When I heard of his death, I could still picture how sincere he was as he accepted those tracts. Maybe he was anxious to receive salvation from God.
Goddess of justice …
Before leaving the court building, I passed by a statue depicting the Goddess of Justice. She carries three symbols: A sword symbolizes the punishment of evil. A set of balance scales symbolizes the weighing of evidence. A blindfold symbolizes how justice must be objective, without showing fear or favor, regardless of power, money, wealth, status or position.
I felt justice had indeed been blindfolded, but not in the way intended in the depiction of the goddess. I could not help crying, for there was no justice in my case. I was neither a natural-born American nor a native of Dallas. I had neither power nor money to pursue my case. The judge did not allow much of my evidence to be presented to the jurors. My evidence was not properly weighed on the scales. How could we get justice under these circumstances?
The judge is an incarnation of the Goddess of Justice …
In English, justice means “righteousness and fairness.” The word can also refer to a judge. It is right and proper for a judge to bring justice about. He represents an incarnation of the Goddess of Justice! I was unlucky to have as a judge a person who not only disregarded our evidence but belittled me. He told my attorney that he would overturn the verdict if I won the case. And that is what he did, in effect, by wielding his power to rule out evidence that would have vindicated me.
I won the lottery …
As for me, it seemed as if I had won the lottery – the lottery of bad luck! It is unbelievable that I could encounter so many bad people – the Dixie Mafia, the heartless realtor, a real estate lawyer without ethics and an unjust judge. But it added a lot of color to my life story. The fire happened many years ago, and my memory should be blurred, but it came back clearly, and I could recall all the details. It seemed as if the fire happened just yesterday.
Song of Life …
Nonetheless I had a hard time writing about the fire. While writing, I listened to a song by Yanni, “With An Orchid,” in the background. Its sense of sorrow and helplessness seemed to reflect my feeling about the writing I was doing. How I wished I could climb to the mountaintop and yell: “Oh, God! Do you see my grievance? Do you see my frustration? Do you feel my pain? Do you see how helpless I am? Is there no justice?”
I can’t let go …
I can’t put it away. I can’t let go. I can’t forgive them. Many times, tears filled my eyes and I had to stop writing. I remembered a Chinese saying: “The officials are free to burn down houses while the common people are forbidden even to light a lamp.” Is there no justice in this world?
When I think of what resulted from the conspiracy of Charles and the people involved … My brothers lost their jobs, my husband and I both fell ill, and I lost my children’s education fund. I endured endless pain and sorrow. How could I let go?
At this moment, not only did I feel heartbroken, I also felt pain in my right big toe. I awoke at 3:30 a.m. Unable to go back to sleep, I studied the Bible. I saw the verses: Jesus prayed for those who put him on the cross, mocked him, despised him, spat on him. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23-24) But I shook my head and told myself that I could not follow His example because I was a mere mortal.
Continuing my reading, I was amazed by the story of Joseph. He had had four different types of garments – a coat of many colors, slave clothing, prison clothing and garments of honor. Four different types of garments reflected his status in life from a 17-year-old to 30-year-old. In such a short span, he experienced being hurt, betrayed and saved. He had fallen to the bottom, and then climbed to the top as prime minister of Egypt. He saved his family and an entire nation. He became someone who could provide for others.
This story shook me, especially the word provide. I have more than 4200 subscribers to my blog. I was so downhearted and depressed. How could I lift and inspire others? I was filled with hatred. How could I write anything in my loveneverending blog, which emphasizes “love,” not “hate.” Oh, God! What should I do?”
Image is from http://www.christianfreedom.org/prayer-2/
When I arrived home, I started looking for David’s story. Unexpectedly, I found the movie “Windtalkers,” directed by John Woo and starring Nicholas Cage. It is a good story about how Navajo Indians used an encoded version of their native language in radio transmissions to help the American troops and keep the enemy from understanding their messages during World War II. I liked the story, but I was particularly moved by the Indians’ state of mind. They let go of their feelings of oppression and the pain of being forced out of their homes by the same government for which they were now fighting. Instead, they helped the country win the war. Was it thanks to their culture that they could do this? Were they closer to nature? Or did they put country before tribe and home? Maybe their thinking is far superior to ours! Sure enough, watching the video of David the Navajo brought me an unexpected miracle …
To be continued…