I am in Dharamsala the current home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama visiting friends.
When here, I visit the Dalai Lama’s Temple to light a candle and pray. I find a visit there restores my soul.
On this visit the 23rd Psalm which includes the words “restores my soul” was rattling around in my head.
If you don’t know it, here it is:-
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
As you can see, this Psalm concludes with the words “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.
I was contemplating those very words when I actually witnessed them come to life.
Behind a large temple pillar, I noticed an elderly man on a piece of foam matting praying. He looked like he had been there for a long time. I asked who he was and was told he was a retired former high Tibetan official who now spends his days in the temple praying.
So, I began to walk over to him.
“You can’t do that” the official said.
However, there was no stopping me as I was so overcome by those very words happening right before my very eyes.
I’m Rev Bill Crews” I said, extending my hand. “I’m a Christian Minister from Australia and it is very important to me that I come over and say hello”.
He very gravely took my hand and replied in the plummy English accent he could have only gotten from a posh public-school education.
“Hello, I’m pleased to meet you, my name is Tenzin (not real name)”.
“I had to come over because you pray here, like this every day” I told him.
“Yes” he replied. “Would you like to join me?”
He gestured to a temple official to drag over another foam mattress for me to sit on yoga like.
“I’d be honoured” I said.
It took me a bit of time to get down on my knees and move my legs into the required position.
Together, for what seemed to be an eternity we sat and each in our own way and from our own tradition prayed together.
“I have to leave now”, eventually I reluctantly had to say.
He nodded goodbye and continued praying.
A dark haired much younger woman appeared out of nowhere and clasped my hand and looked deeply into my eyes.
“It’s so nice you are here” she said.
I later discovered she was his wife and looks over him as he prays.
“He’s a very special man” I said.
“Yes” she replied.
I left with my soul restored.