I prayed

I left the conference early today. So, I went walkabout in the city. Singapore is amazingly clean (makes Switzerland look messy in comparison – that clean), gorgeously landscaped (you wonder about whether they actually pay people to buff the leaves on the trees, everything is that manicured and shiny looking) and just a very pleasant place in general. But if you are looking for the Far East here, forget it – you really wont get too far. It is a contemporary and very wealthy looking city with elegant skyscrapers, postmodernist structures and what have you. The only building that I saw that was even remotely “exotic” in that it had a pagoda-like roof, upon closer inspection turned out to be the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Today however, I stumbled into a Chinese market area and right there amidst all the meticulously maintained and polished stalls (everything is polished to a high gleam around here, it really is) was a modest looking Buddhist temple. In fact, at first I didn’t even realize what it was. There were all these people standing, waving joss sticks and women were selling lotus flowers out front. And then this Chinese girl walked up to me and asked me whether I would like to pray and offer a flower to the Buddha. And I found myself saying yes, suddenly with tears in my eyes.

I went back the next day and took a photograph. I want to remember what it looks like – my temple.

I do believe in a higher being, so I am not an atheist, but I do not pray. I never seem to be able to. The operative word in higher being for me is the higher bit, so every time that I have attempted to pray I find myself thinking of that joke where God turns to the Archangel Gabriel and asks, “Oh and by the way, what has been going on with that planet? You know the blue one… What was it called again? Earth, right?” and Gabriel says “Oh, doing very nicely Mister God!”. So, that is my concept of God. He is way too busy to care about all the stuff that is going wrong with this planet – much less interested in the whinings of the likes of me.

Then the girl showed me what to do. So, what happened today was a first in many years, maybe even decades. I prayed whole heartedly, from the bottom of my heart. Poured my soul out, told him all about my innermost wishes and longings. Asked for his help. Promised to be good.

I am reluctant to put this here. I am worried it will sound false, phony. It was an intimate moment and should I share it even? And why? But I will anyway. I want people to know that I prayed, that I still have that much purity left in me somewhere. It means something to articulate this out loud. I am not sure what exactly, but it does.

It is my childhood that was given back to me in Second Life, that enabled me to pray after all these years I think. And I think I need to put that right here and in words.


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