I can’t help paying my respect to the late George Michael. But I am about to talk about faith. So it is appropriate, right?
Well, people’s faith awes me.
You see, I am not religious. If you ask me, I’d say I’m Buddhist. I can’t really say I’m a non-practicing Buddhist just because I don’t go to the temple. (Long story.) I am practicing Buddhism in my everyday life. I believe in karma. I try to be mindful. I seek balance and moderation. I want to treat others the way I want to be treated.
I was raised in a Buddhist household with a hint of Hinduism and spiritualism–pretty much that’s just as how Thailand is. I was educated in Catholic school K-12, and when I got to college, I read up on Wicca because it’s the 90s. But I was never religious.
Yes, I’m one of those who rolled my eyes when people go all fanatics with their religions. Mocking at times, even. But don’t be offended. I mock everyone’s religion including my own. Yeah, I’m your typical Buddhist-leaning heathen.
However, I do have faith in people and their faith.
If you wouldn’t mind my saying, in many occasions, I think I felt the presence of God…or cosmic force, or whatever the things beyond me is…or that I think the Spirit moved me.
I feel it in my soul–the sense of calm, contentment, and joy. Not the “I’mma get up and dance!” joy but the warm-fuzzy feeling that envelops you like a warm bath, putting a grin on your face.
On rare occasions I happened to be where people gathered to pray, I feel it.
I felt it as we held a circle of trust on an Oregon beach during my friend’s pagan wedding.
I felt it watching a video of a Buddhist monk chanting to bless my Thai friend’s wedding ceremony, panning to the room where everyone bowed their heads.
I felt it as a friend asked us to say grace over a holiday dinner party of 12 in the middle of a busy an Italian restaurant.
I felt it when the Surf City Laundry Love crew led us in a prayer circle before we kicked off the event.
I felt it in the chapel last night at the viewing of my late coworker Ray as his friends and families sang Samoan hymns.
The Spirit never seems to move me, as it were, when it was an organized religious thing. Like a mass or a day at the temple, I don’t really feel it. And I should. All those people, gathered because of their faith, for crying out loud. But maybe they were there out of guilt, or something else. Somehow it doesn’t feel true.
But in those small moments I mentioned, when people come together because of certain connections, I can feel it.
In those moments, I realized how we are all connected to each other, just small pieces of a bigger plan.
The friend who was getting married in Oregon was Brandon’s childhood friend and the one in Thailand was mine.
The dinner party was for a group of us who used to ride the commuter bus to downtown LA together from Orange County. We’ve been gathering once a year for 8 years now.
Laundry Love was our December Be Kind for Khun Noi event. Everyone was there to serve for different reasons but we were all there to SERVE. I didn’t realize it’s a part of a church outreach but our little non-religious volunteer club would’ve done it anyway.
And of course, all of us who knew Ray were at that chapel to say goodbye and to celebrate his life.
We are all connected, no matter what your faith is.
You have faith in your religion. I have faith in kindness. And I have faith in YOUR faith.
So, you keep up with your faith, people. It works for you. And that’s awesome.
Thank you for sharing your faith with me.
And now, back to George.