Speculating on water crystals

The comment about the video says, “Research from Dr. Masaru Emoto, says that when human thoughts are directed at water before it is frozen, images of the resulting water crystals will be beautiful or ugly depending upon whether the thoughts were positive or negative. Emoto claims this can be achieved through prayer, music or by attaching written words to a container of water. Since 1999 Emoto has published several volumes of a work titled Messages from Water, which contains photographs of water crystals next to essays and “words of intent”. My son Matthew showed this video and it set me thinking.

I would like to know your opinion if this is science or science fiction or new age stuff?

IF the above videos are real science, then it is fascinating giddy stuff.

Just think of our human body. It is largely water: 70%.

Let’s engage in adventurous speculation and extrapolation.

Will the harbouring of negatives like bitterness, anger, prolonged stress and hate cause malformation at cellular level that consequentially become a disease?

On the other hand, would grateful and joyful praise all day perk the body’s performance and resistance to disease?

What is the impact of our attitudes on our water laden body? What is happening at a cellular level? Are beautiful and ugly water crystals formed and if so are they precursors and indicators of health or disease?

What are the implications on meditation? Meditation is translated from Hebrew “ hagah” which means ponder, mutter, speak, muse, and imagine. When we meditate on the gospel and the promises of God thinking on it, speaking it under our breath, muttering it – what is happening to us psychologically and physiologically? What is being birthed in us?

We keep muttering verses like, “God is my refuge and strength”, or “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid?” or “The Lord is my righteousness” or “The Lord will supply all my needs” or “He himself took my sickness and diseases”. We say them over and over. What happens as we do that?

What happens below our skin when we sing praises in the congregation or in the home? When we listen to different kinds of music?

Is speculating on water, instead of gold, the next best investment of the century?
Watch this second video with a spoonful of salt:

A Christian review in the Lord of a busy day by David Keith Townsend

Ignatius of Loyola“Let me give you an article I wrote which shows how to pray while busy in the Lord’s work. This is what I practice,” said David Townsend, dressed in a Hawaiian bright blue shirt, and looking about 60 . He was my spiritual director for a silent retreat at the Seven Fountains, Chiangmai, Thailand. He gave me  permission to reprint and share it online. This ancient practice of reflective prayer called the “examen” is invaluable for all Christians living on the fast lane, not just pastors. It was originated by St Ignatius of Loyola(see pic on left)  for his Jesuit priests. It is a practical and spiritual practice that cultivates a grateful heart and a greater awareness of God’s activity in our daily lives.

My day is the place where I meet God moment to moment. My day is also the place where I fail to meet God moment to moment. My God is continually revealing himself to me in the places, events and people of my day. So it would seem rather important to look at this day in which my commitment to God finds, or fails to find, its expression. My day is the place where I respond, or don’t, to the moment to moment calls to love and service of those around me. My day is where God is moment to moment exercising his loving providence over me. My day is where I allow, or don’t, God to work his will for me. How can I grow in an awarenesss of and sensitivity to God working in my own life? The simple way is to look back over the day at some time when I have leisure to do so. Not just to look back in general terms, but to look back seeking to find where God has been active for me in my life today.

Prayerful reflection is an important aspect of Ignatian spirituality. St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, was especially keen on this prayer of reflection on the day. For the Jesuits he founded, he insists on two 15-minute periods of such prayer each day. This prayer has variously been called the Examen, the Examination of Conscience, and, more recently, the Examen of Consciousness, or the Review of the Day. It is almost as if Ignatius were saying, “How can you say you are living a Christian life if you never reflect on it? How can you say you are doing God’s will if you never look to see what you are really doing? You want to serve Christ and live a more Christlike life, well then, reflect on how your day has been, and let the experience of the day teach you what it will.”

Most Christians believe God is working through his Spirit in their lives – unfortunately few reflect on this crucial fact of their lives. The Examen is a short prayer exercise which can help develop in me a greater awareness and sensitivity to the concrete ways God has been working in my day for me. This greater sense of God with me leads me to a more accurate and spontaneous response to the initiatives of his presence. Traditionally there are five aspects or moments to the prayer of Examen, and on any one occasion perhaps one or more aspects will predominate. So these five aspects are not a syllabus to be got through. I give any one of these aspects the time I desire and need.

The First aspect is the fostering of an attitude of thanksgiving or gratitude. There is nothing that has not been given me. I am always on the receiving end of gift. I myself am God’s greatest gift to me- I am the gift by which I can know every other gift. I am the gift in which I can know my own giftedness. So I spend what time I need to become aware of my need to be grateful, to see the giftedness of my own life and living. As this gratitude touches me I express it how I will to Father, Son and Spirit.

The Second aspect is to ask for light. I beg the Spirit to enlighten me to see what the Spirit wants me to see. In other words, it is not my analysis of the day which is important. Nor is it my judgement of what is fine or fitting that is central. Nor has this enlightenment anything to do with my own leanings towards a morbid introspection. I ask the Spirit to show me in the everyday events and people of my life where and how God was present and working for me. I am seeking to find God. The Examen is positive. Without this prayer for light I could all too easily poke around within myself in such a way that scabs are knocked off wounds that would heal very well if only I left them will alone.

The Third aspect of the Examen is to play back the day in such a way as to find God in all of that day of mine. I remember the places I have been in; I recall the activities I undertook; I see the people I was with. In other words: places, occupations, people. I ask the Lord to show me where he was present, in me and in others. To say that God is everywhere may be very true, but it is not very helpful here. It is probably more helpful to remember that God has been acting for me wherever I notice the traces of the Spirit in those places, in those occupations, and among those people of my day. So where have I been aware of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness, and self-control?(Galatians 5:22,23). I notice each place and express my gratitude. Where I was able to open myself to the work of the Spirit I give deeper thanks. Where I closed myself to those gifts, I ask for sorrow and express my repentance, in some appropriate way seeking reconciliation.

The Third aspect of the Examen automatically flows into the Fourth aspect, which is the deepening of the gifts of sorrow and gratitude. I beg the Lord to deepen my awareness of not allowing him to work for me in his gifts, or of not allowing him to work through me for another, or through another for me. I praise the Lord for those times I did let him work for me, when I co-operated with his gifts.

On any one occasion of praying the Examen I may just wish to take one gift of the Spirit, for example joy. I see where I noticed joy in my day, and give thanks; the places where I entered into the joy of another, or allowed another to enter into my joy; the times joy was shared. These were the concrete moments when God was acting and working in his gift of joy for me and for others. Conversely, I become aware of the times and places when I prevented God acting for me in his gift of joy; when I would not enter into the joy of another, or when I was a kill-joy. I see this now and express my sorrow. And so similarly with the other gifts of the Spirit which are being continuously poured out on my life moment to moment.

The Fifth and final aspect of the Examen is to take a look ahead and to ask for what help and guidance I will need. I can foresee fairly clearly the next day, or half-day: what places will I be in? what people will be with me? what occupations will I take on? or be involved in? With this person I will need the gift of patience; in this place, perseverence; with this occupation, the gift of gentleness, if someone is not to be unduly hurt, etc. I ask for what I see I need very simply and humbly with trust in the loving providence of Father, Son and Spirit – God-with-me.

The practice of the Examen will help foster a growing sensitivity to God, the Trinity, moment to moment at work with me and for me, and through me for others, and through others for me. My life becomes one of greater ease in ’seeking and finding God in all things’, as St Ignatius would put it.

David Keith Townsend, SJ

Sunday, 17th April 1983

Prayer is ears too!

help me to listen LordPrayer includes listening.

Jesus listened in prayer

Many miracles will require more time than the raising of Lazarus.

Even in Lazarus’ case, Jesus was listening to the Father when someone told him that Lazarus was sick. He waited a further two days before he headed for Lazarus home. He waited on God. He listened. Morning by morning, like a disciple, he listened to his Father.

We cry,  we listen

It is wise to listen whenever we pray for impossible situations like the salvation of a loved one, a debt, an addiction, a relationship fracture, a colleague or fellow believer who is a thorn in the flesh, a terminal illness, or a rebellious child. We make our request known. We cry out to God.Then we listen, and continue to listen even as we go about our day. God may speak to us about what we prayed for through something we read, hear or see, or even touch. He could simply drop an idea in our mind, or move us to feel, or steel our will to take a certain path.

Respond to God’s invitation. And pray again with faith………….and listen.

Many miracles unfold stage by stage.

Prayer is ears too. Not just mouth.

Escape to Tioman

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Off the east coast of peninsula Malaysia, are several beautiful islands, the largest of which is Pulau Tioman. I was blessed to be hosted by Roland Ng, and my daughter accompanied me on this escape from  Singapore. Sorry, did I make it sound like Singapore is a penal colony. The long weekend was a continuation of my vacation of lounging at home, wherever that happens to be:  sleeping, eating, idling, reading, watching, strolling,  reflecting, chatting and journaling.

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Roland had a few of his friends around, other owners of apartments in the Berjaya condotel: Eng Lock(whom my daughter observed a resemblance to Lee Kun Yew) and his brother James; Ron (ex SJI boy who remarkably still meets up with his classmates once a month), and Alan.

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It was a joy to be with my daughter, Elaine. In the bus, on the beach, in the apartment, eating or talking or just being there. One evening   we conversed and walked down the whole 1.5km stretch of fine sand and surf to the restaurant just outside the gate of the resort where we had dinner. Come to think of it, it was good to get closer with my daughter, who has grown up more quickly than I wished, as in a matter of time we may not see her so often.

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The men went out on a boat to fish in the evening and returned at nine with fresh fish which Alan and Roland cooked and we had fish and rice, not fish and chips. We had so much fresh fish for two nights, I wonder if the Lord is trying to tell me something.

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The apartment we stayed in had a beautiful view of the sea and a tiny island. Alan, a real estate friend of Roland said it was better than the $4 million view of SC Global’s Sentosa apartments. I liked just looking out that balcony, standing and gazing, or sitting there with a cup of hot tea, eye on the distant horizon or sky or sea, hearing the sound of the rolling waves dashing against the rocks below, and feel the energetic and playful  breeze caress and massage me. I took in the sights and sounds and savoured it all greedily. Cool sea breeze, an enchanting view, and a good book was all I needed to feel relaxed.

Restless in Cameron Highlands

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I began my annual leave with a week’s vacation in the OMF Bungalow, nestled just off the road that passes by the Strawberry Park hotel in the Cameron Highlands. This was not the first time I had stayed in this bungalow run for weary missionaries and pastors by the Overseas Missionary Fellowship. I had used it for prayer, silent and staff retreats, alone and with others, and it was the first time I was there supposedly to rest. I say supposedly.

my room for six nightsTo be honest I found it a struggle to rest. I had left Singapore, but Singapore had not left me. The restless engine of mind and heart, though emptied of energy, was still running and the hood warm, for even as I settled into my room, the spirit of productivity, raised its insistent voice and demanded an answer, “What are you going to accomplish during this time of rest?” ‘Do’, ‘accomplish’, ‘achieve’, ‘goals’, ‘results’ were words that reverberated in my mind. Even vacation contorted into a task, a performance, a work with benchmarks to attain. My weak reply was, “I am here to rest, not to follow a schedule or plan. Why can’t I idle, do whatever I felt like, or just waste time, you know, just waste time and vegetate?”

As the slow lazy days passed, I realized how futile a reply it was, for into the third day and near the end of the week , I again found myself pulling the emergency handbrake to stop businesslike cost-benefit questions. Surely I am not the only Singaporean who have had to wrestle down guilt and the Protestant work ethic during a vacation. Time is precious, and we are to maximize it even on vacation! So Singaporeans cram as much activity as possible into their already packed plans. I was determined to rebel; I wanted to do whatever I please and let spontaneity reign. And so I did, or at least tried to do.

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I slept whenever I felt like it, and it was more than usual. I read stuff on design, storytelling, manhood, and started on a novel, The Shack, providentially given by James Tan, another pastor from Singapore who was there with his wife, Kim Eng. I picked up a book titled Travel Mercies from the OMF Reading Room and sauntered through its pages over two cold evenings. I napped on most afternoons. I finished two Japanese TV serials on DVD, Kurosagi, a manga-adapted character who is a swindler of swindlers in eleven predictable plots; and Arifureta Kisaki, a slow-cooker of a love drama about secrets and openness, solidarity and community. I also squeezed in the riveting Frost/Nixon movie, a gem by Ron Howard. I feasted on the mountain views, and sat out in the spacious garden, to stroll, reflect, read, idle, pray and journal. I listened to Kevin Kern, Rod Stewart, Norah Jones and worship instrumentals. I enjoyed two inspiring messages of Bill Johnson.

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On a Sunday morning, we went down to Tanah Rata, and spontaneously took a three hours detour to view the Robinson Falls and trek farther into the forest, till tiredness and good sense bid us to return without completing the route. Good sense because one of us was Malaysian front page news thirty years ago when he got lost while trekking in the forest with a missionary family, and was found by orang asli, after soldiers and Gurkhas failed to find them. We then returned to the Bungalow for lunch without even walking the main street of probably the most touristy of the Cameron hamlets.

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My red letter moments were many. There were no burning bushes of audible voice nor great wonder. But there were those moments when my heart burned with his loving thoughts, and I just knew the Lord was planting faith in my heart. These happened in conversations with my new acquaintances and friends. Certain insights, phrases, testimonies that were shared, were divinely alighted with the Father’s loving touch.

dining areaI was game and went along with pastor James on a low-salt, low-oil menu and surprisingly I cruised along without regret or withdrawal symptoms, largely because of the life-giving and interesting conversations over fresh vegetables and steaming hot coffee and crunchy home-baked cookies, and good company, which included, Rod Lam, a South African OMF missionary based in Hong Kong. Our meals often stretched into two, three hours affairs and we ranged from missions, living by faith, pastoring, spirituality, and theology to African coffee and cookie cornerpolitics, psychology, culture, books, counselling, health, dying well and family. I was also blessed by the visit of a church friend, Chua, who is an oil palm smallholder in Gua Musang, a growing town in the heart of Kelantan, where Nik Aziz the PAS spiritual leader resides. He drove about two hours and stayed two nights in Tanah Rata and we had many hours of faith-inspiring sharing of what God is doing in our lives, families and churches. It was in conversations like what we had that the Lord underlined certain insights and thoughts for further reflection and listening. Like the confirmation of what God had been saying to me through a providential conversation with Therese, the owner of The Lord’s Cafe at Tanah Rata. Its a spirituality of community: the Lord came alongside, like he did with the two on the road to Emmaus, and used something said to burn my heart with holy faith.

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The still and quiet times beside “still waters” when I listened to the Father’s song over me were unforgettable. To have seen how he saw me in His love was very affirming and liberating. He used a huge tree in the large compound to show me how he viewed me. Even more than Jesus, I needed to hear the Father’s song again and again all throughout my life journey,”You are my son, whom I love, and with whom I am well pleased.” It was a song of comfort, freedom, affirmation, passion and grace.

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Am I more rested now? I suppose so.

However my sense is that I probably need a sabbatical, not just a vacation. 🙂