Daily Reflection

“God is not punishing you. God is preparing you. Trust God’s plans, not your pain.” (Artsy Christian)

When I came across today’s quote, I knew instantly I wanted to write a daily reflection about it, simply because I’ve struggled for years now wondering at times if I’m being punished by God for all my past transgressions, as I know there have been a lot of them in this life alone. Yet, somehow, I find myself constantly returning to the belief that maybe it’s just human beings who have labeled God as this wrathful punisher of people, as doesn’t that judgment always seem to come at the precise moments in our lives when things aren’t going the way our ego wants and desires?

So, if that’s not the case, and God really isn’t a punishing God, then why does God allow such difficult pain and suffering to occur for many of us in our lives? Could it be solely to help prepare us for some greater plan that is beyond our understanding? Is it possible that our pain and suffering is simply a level of discipline that Jesus once talked about, that becomes truly necessary to help us reach our highest potential in life? I know that’s a hard concept to swallow and believe me when I saw that my ego often fights this very notion, especially when I’m going through a stream of days, weeks, months, and even years where my mind and body writhes in agony more than not.

But, there is something quite good that’s actually come out of all this pain and suffering that probably wouldn’t have happened if I never had to face any of my health issues in the first place. You see, it’s all this pain and suffering that’s driven me to rid myself of every bit of hate, anger, negativity, and judgment that once consumed the majority of my life. And the more I’ve done that, the more I seem to cultivate higher and higher levels of compassion, unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness of others, which are four things I never had much of before all my pain and suffering began.

Thus, to put it rather bluntly, I’m leaning more and more these days to believe that God is like a loving parent who disciplines their child, solely to protect them from going down paths that will only lead to more pain and suffering and away from them ever reaching their highest potential. Sure, many of us often fight that discipline whenever it feels present and instead choose to take our free will somewhere else. But, honestly, where has that ever gotten you? For me, fighting the discipline has usually just led to an even deeper pit of despair filled with an even greater level of pain and suffering.

That’s why I’m opting to place my hope and faith more so nowadays in the idea that God is actually preparing me for something greater through all this pain and suffering, rather than believing it’s simply a punishment for all my past transgressions. As given the growing level of connection I feel in my heart today to everyone and everything, I ultimately am seeing more good coming out of this discipline than not. And frankly, I would gladly rather remain on this path, than go back to any day before all this pain and suffering began, where my life was engulfed in far too much negative energy and darkness.

Dear God, if I’m ever wrong, please correct me. If I’m ever lost, please guide me. And if I ever start to give up, especially on You, please help me to keep going and to keep trusting in You.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“A prayer doesn’t have to be the Lord’s Prayer or involve a rosary or be at a house of worship or even with closed eyes. A prayer is simply sending energy and love to a person we’re thinking about. Sure, it can be a formal prayer talking to God as we’re taught in organized religion. But a prayer can also be a spiritual crystal-holding intention to send light or it can be a metaphysical practice of sending energy. We’re all connected. Think loving thoughts for someone is same energy going for the receiver no matter what method you send it. It’s all “praying.” (Tracy G White)

Just over a week ago, Kevin Smith, a famous writer, actor, and director, suffered a major heart attack that almost took his life. While many in the entertainment industry that respected Smith wished him a speedy recovery, one notable actor, Chris Pratt, took it a step further. Pratt, the guy from the Jurassic World movies and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, sent out a tweet on Twitter that said he was praying his ass off for Smith because he believes in the healing power of prayer and then asked everyone else to pray with him for Smith as well. Sadly, instead of seeing this gesture as an act of kindness and unconditional love, many took the moment to criticize Pratt’s words, finding them offensive, and stating that prayer wasn’t the thing that was going to help Kevin Smith heal, that doctors would. And rather than rely on something like prayer to see positive change in this world take place, that people needed to take physical action instead.

While those people made valid points, what I find most unfortunate about this whole matter is that prayer doesn’t have to be viewed as a religious thing at all. The simple act of thinking about someone else with fond thoughts and sending them love and healing from one’s heart is a form of praying in itself. I’m pretty sure it’s a safe bet to say that each of us in this world have probably at some point or another, thought of someone else with love in our heart, and if we did, even for a moment, then we did a form of praying. Yet, people tend to think of prayer as simply a religious act where one communicates to a deity, which ironically is far from the total truth. While that is indeed one form of praying, there are plenty of other ways people pray too, that have nothing to do with religion. The acts of chanting, sitting in nature, and meditating, are just some of those.

Of course, it is important to back every form of prayer with action when possible. A good example is how I prayed for all those hurting in Texas last year when the flooding and destruction took place, yet I also sent a donation to one of the relief efforts in the hopes that it might help. But even in saying that, it’s just as important to note that there are times when nothing more can be done but pray. As one notable Hollywood director said in response to the backlash Pratt received, it’s not like Pratt is a doctor and can perform any surgery, nor does Smith need Pratt’s money to cover his hospital bills. Thus, in this case, the best thing Pratt could have done was to send out healing prayers to Smith and ask others to pray as well.

Nevertheless, prayer is often misunderstood and labeled as nothing more than a religious act. But, maybe if people would just start looking at it as something more than communicating to a deity and instead seeing it as an act of channeling greater love and light on this planet, we might all start to benefit from it and truly see how we all are connected.

I pray that one day we all may unite on this planet through prayer, by sending each other love and healing, and trusting in doing so, that our world may become a brighter and lighter place to be in.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Daily Reflection

“Observe the ant”, the great Oriental conqueror Tamerlane told his friends. In relating a story from his early life, he said “I once was forced to take shelter from my enemies in a dilapidated building, where I sat alone for many hours. Wishing to divert my mind from my hopeless situation, I fixed my eyes on an ant carrying a kernel of corn larger than itself up a high wall. I counted its attempts to accomplish this feat. The corn fell sixty-nine times to the ground, but the insect persevered. The seventieth time it reached the top. The ant’s accomplishment gave me courage for the moment, and I never forgot the lesson.” (An excerpt taken from the daily devotional “Streams In The Desert”)

 I found this short story quite inspirational because of the great feat I’ve been working on accomplishing for more than five years now. The kernel of corn I’ve been repeatedly trying to carry over a high wall in my own life is the work I’ve been doing to become much healthier in my mind, body, and soul, given how unhealthy I became after living for several decades, and frankly, for several lifetimes as well, in toxic addictions and behaviors. At this point, I’ve lost track of the number of attempts I’ve made to achieve this goal, yet I haven’t given up. I’m sure many in my shoes probably would have long ago, as this world often makes it far easier to give up on achieving something than to persevere through it. I believe the only reason why I’ve made it thus far and continue to keep picking up this kernel of corn for another repeated attempt to become healthier is directly related to the blind faith and trust I still have in God. As through them, I’ve found enough strength and resolve, just like an ant, to keep going and to keep persevering for one more day. And I wholeheartedly believe that because of my faith and trust in God, I’ll eventually achieve this arduous task and carry this kernel of corn to where God always intended for it to be.

Thank You, God, for the level of persistence and perseverance You’ve given me to overcome so many obstacles I’ve had to face in life. Having this strength has helped me to keep going, especially through all the suffering I’ve had to endure in recent years. While my mind has become weary of continuing to pick up this kernel of corn day after day for as long as I have, my Spirit remains resilient to keep trying. And that alone is precisely what makes me just like an ant, a creature who never stops trying until it achieves the feat it sets out to accomplish.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson