BANGALORE: 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, she has 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 are 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 paralysed by the fear that I would crash the car and injure myself and my loved ones. It had 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 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. 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 promise 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. Maybe the solutions will find you or you will become a solution yourself.
Damayanti Chandrasekhar is interested in life questions, spirituality and blogs at www.punctuatelife.com.