Punctuate Life

Pause Breathe Relax


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The Power of Prayer

I started jotting down my prayers in a journal sometime in early July this year. I was intrigued by the maid Aibileen in “The Help” who wrote down all her prayers in a prayer book. Everyone thought her prayers worked. I read about the same thing in “Write it Down, Make it Happen”. So I finally started writing down my prayers. It started off as a gratitude journal but soon I found myself asking for many things on behalf of my friends and family. The cool thing about a prayer/ gratitude journal is that it helps you keep track. Keep track of your mental state and petty needs from yesterday. When I go back and read the prayers it reminds me of the person I was and how my needs have changed and how I have changed. And also how many of my needs have been met and prayers answered!

Yes prayers do get answered. Every prayer you utter is heard. Buddhists believe that the Goddess Kwan Yin hears the cries/prayers of every soul that is suffering. She is a Bodhisattva but instead of detaching herself from the world, out of infinte compassion, decided to be amongst us and alleviate suffering. She is like  a Mother Mary from the East. It really doesn’t matter who you address your prayers to. It’s just important that you pray. Even if all your prayers are answered, you could most definitely pray for the millions of souls who and lost and suffering.

A friend of mine told me how she feared for the safety of her kids. I remember being that person. Always afraid. Always overprotective and I remember how it felt. Somewhere along the way I had the good sense to replace my fear with prayer. I think it was when I started driving (one of my worst fears in the past) and I was paralyzed by the fear that I would crash the car and injure myself and my loved ones. I couldn’t go past 5 m.p.h. and the instructor joked about ‘granny’ being faster than me.

It has reached a point where I had to face my fear. Where I had to simply let go and believe that by some miracle I would fly instead of falling hard on my face. So I prayed. Please help me. Please help me drive safely. It became a habit and now I always send out a prayer every time I start the engine.

So it is with things I have no control over. When I see suffering beyond my scope to help, I pray. I have to pray because I know that the moment I stop, fear will clutch my heart and hold it captive forever. Fear that will congeal my blood and my thoughts and make me buckle down in defeat. When I pray, I look up and there is hope. Hope in something bigger than me that knows the greater order of things. That will overcome the fear and darkness that is rampant. That will light up our souls and cure all our ills. Prayer holds within it a promise of hope and redemption. A promis of help from afar. A promise of comfort. A promise of triumph. When you pray you give all your worries away to be transformed into solutions that come back to you in good time.

I will leave you with a prayer I wrote in my journal after Hurricane Sandy hit the North East.

10/30/2012

Dear God,

                  Today I would like to pray for the millions of people in the path of Hurricane Sandy, who were affected. Who lost their homes, lost power, lost their loved ones. Please console them and be with them. Give them strength and help them remember you. Bring them togther so they can help eachother. We have friends in these States – please keep them safe and keep all families safe. Let people evacuate from their homes and not get trapped as the flood waters rise. Please help the emergency workers who are trying to help ease the pain and suffering of these people. Please surround them with your love and your angels. Please bring light to the darkness. Please help ease their pain. Please help me help in whichever way I can.

Infinite love and gratitude,

Damayanti

                  


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Journaling, Writing, Venting…

I almost didn’t write this post. Here’s what happened. I started writing about forgiveness (forgiving 101 was to be the title of this note) and then as I was writing so much anger welled up in me that I decided I’m not ready to write about forgiveness because ‘I’ have a lot of forgiving to do. Then, since I had so much anger I thought I should write a note – Anger 101. But guess what you end up writing when you are angry- trash! Anger channels your basest, most revolting, negative-times-three emotions. The reason I am sharing all this is to make it known to all who have been following my posts that I am far from perfect. I am still learning and growing everyday and I do try to live up to a certain standard. I succeed sometimes and I fail sometimes.

And since writing brought me to this realization I decided to write about journaling. I used to keep a daily journal when I was in school. Then I started one when I got married and stopped because I used to write everytime I was upset and reading that stuff later made me cringe! Then I started writing only the inspiring stuff and now I have a journal full of stuff I’ve read, heard or seen over the past decade and it’s just awesome. It’s like a pick-me-up.

So if you have never done this before, start by buying a journal. Decide how often you want to pen your thoughts. If you live a very active, hectic life, peppered with a lot of stress, I suggest you write everyday. Place the journal on your night stand and write for 5 minutes before you go to bed. Don’t force it, just write whatever comes to your mind. It should be relaxing. Let it all out. You can write about something good that happened in your day (gratitude journal). Or something bad that happened in your day. Can be very cathartic. But once you are done venting on paper, remember to write how you wished it had happened. Say you mucked up a presentation at work, imagine the opposite. Like you had done such a great job that the boss came and shook hands with you and commended your work and then write about it. So that way you shift your energy and focus on something good before you tuck in for the night.

Sometimes you can use a journal to write affirmations. Positive statements about things that you want to change in your life. Again, doing this  before bed time is good. Instead of affirmations you could communicate with God in a journal. Have all your prayers, all your thank you notes to God in one place. Some people are not good with saying prayers or their prayers are limited to religious texts. I think it really helps to write or say your own prayers too. It is a powerful exercise and that way you have a closer relationship with God.

There is one other way you can journal too and I do this. Some of you might think it’s weird but I feel compelled to write this because many of us have to deal with the death of a loved one in our lifetime. And although this sounds spooky, it really helps to write to them. I had a lot of things that went unsaid between my grandma and me before she passed away. I felt a lot of guilt. I wished I had spent more time with her. I wished I had told her how much she meant to me and how much I admired her. And many a day I spent crying and feeling utter loss. Almost like I was orphaned. Then I got a message on television from John Edward, the medium who can channel departed souls. He was asking people to write to their loved ones.

So I wrote to my grandma once and it felt good, although I was crying throughout the process. Then I wrote everytime I missed her. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Festivals. And slowly the guilt and pain disappeared and was replaced with gratitude. I highly recommend it if you have lost someone very close and feel like you can’t move on, miss their guidance in your life, or simply couldn’t say everything you wanted to say to them before they shed their mortal shells.

You can also write letters to people you need to forgive and whom you cannot confront now. But please don’t post the letter. The reason you are writing now is because the person has not asked for forgiveness. Is blissfully unaware that you are still hurting after 365 days. And also because they don’t think they have done anything wrong! More on this in forgiving 101 (if it ever gets published!)

So here is where I am…I think writing once a week is kind of tricky after what happened this weekend. So I’m going to write every day starting today…so I have more clarity when I’m writing something I’m going to share with all of you. When will you start and what will you write in your journal?