Warmed by the prayers of others  

Friday, 1 January 2010

Well, here we are at the end of another year and once again I find myself with the family queuing on a cold and clear night to clang the temple bell of our local shrine and offer a prayer for good fortune in 2010. Afterwards, we are treated to a cup of sake and a plastic mug of hot porridgy stuff and a warm by the fire, shown here.

The fire is more than just a bonfire to warm the hands on. It's traditional at the turn of the year to burn all the good luck charms and decorations from last year. So in a very real sense, we have been warming ourselves on the prayers and hopes of our neighbours, and that knowledge is a very comforting thought.

It seems strange to us to burn the very charms that we hoped would bring us our dreams. Yet, it is another reminder that everything has a right time and place to be. Just like in martial arts, energy that is misplaced or left over-long in a static position usually turns out to be a liability rather than a benefit. I guess it's the same with our prayers and dreams. Just like everything else in nature, they have to live, because to stand still is to die.

To anyone reading this, I hope your dreams and prayers thrive and grow strong in 2010, and my best wishes for everything you hope to be.

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