Sometime ago, I received what I count as the most 'interesting' blessing I've ever received. Spoken in Hindi, it roughly translates to "may you have all the [remaining] years of my life", in English.
It says a lot about my well-wisher's feelings for me, his generosity and mindset. In fact, it got me thinking about blessings, and about their perception—both eastern [specifically Indian] and western.
Story behind blessings
We usually don't go into the nitty-gritty of the language. So when we use the word bless or blessing in everyday parlance, we don't think seriously about any ceremonial act we're performing. For instance, when a friend sneezes and you say, "bless you", you're just hoping that the friend gets well soon. And there's nothing beyond that when actually there is. And it all goes back to ancient times.
Let me explain: the ancient English blessings and consequently, the process of bequeathing blessings were about sanctifying or making a person or thing holy. Usually, this was done through a religious rite or prayer. It was intended to invoke God's favour upon the person and ward off evil. In early heathen blessing ceremonies, sacrificial blood was used for sanctification. So the word bless, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon bletsian or bledsian, derived from blod or blood.
As the number of converts to Christianity slowly increased, the act of blessing largely meant making the sign of a Cross. However, this action was [and still is] performed by an ordained minister or representative of the Church. Blessings came to be commonly equated with religious benediction.
Touching the feet
In India, touching someone's feet is a way of invoking his or her blessings. In fact, it is customary in some homes to touch the feet of the elderly family members every morning. We bow to family elders, teachers and guides deemed worthy of respect, for their tutorship and guidance.
Interestingly, the Hebrew word barak for blessing means 'to kneel,'or 'bow with bended knee' to acknowledge the value of the one being bowed to. So, when seniors bless us, they're effectively saying that they value us and add further value to our lives.
How exactly is this value expressed? You probably receive a blessing as a spoken word or a hand placed lovingly on your head—these are profound good wishes we relate with seniors or those we hold to be wiser than us.
But what about our juniors—is it not possible to receive their blessings? Considering that we're hardly likely to kneel before them, how, if at all, can they shower us with good wishes?
The more you give
There's a song that goes like this: 'There shall be showers of blessing. This is the promise of love.' Apparently, love precedes blessings. And you're only likely to bless someone you love. This also suggests that simply expressing love for a person may invoke his or her blessings. If you consider the process of blessings as being reciprocal—meaning the more you give, the more you get—earning blessings becomes so much easier.
'Why would I want to earn blessings?' you may ask. It's because we can't live life in isolation and it's easier to get by in life with a little help from your friends. You'll have more peace of mind, thanks to the blessings you earn from both friends and foes. A blessing can work a miracle—of positive transformation, or of boosting a sagging morale. Or it can simply offer relief, if the blessing suggests forgiveness.
Blessings need not always come from a supernatural power like God or from elders. They can also originate from goodwill of fellow beings.
The power of blessings
Fortunately, today we have access to scientific proof of the physical effects or power of our blessings to restore nature to its natural harmonic state. Japanese scientist and author Dr Masaru Emoto [Messages of Water, Prelude to the Hado Era and Studies of the Human Through Hado] has done extensive research on the power of blessings. He uses a device called Magnetic Resonance Analyser [MRA]. The device is based on the Japanese word for blessings, Hado, which literally translates to 'I love you' or simply an expression of love and "Thank you" in English.
When he measured the state-of-mind of a person feeling these emotions [love and gratitude] by means of its vibrating waveform, Dr Emoto found that it equates the energy that holds together the basic building block of matter—the atom. In other words, feeling Hado generates a magnetic field that is akin to the vibrating wave generated by electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom.
The implications of this research are far-reaching. When Dr Emoto concluded, "all things lie within your own consciousness", he actually made it easy for us to realise and believe in the power of our blessings. In fact, he brought in the aspect of blessing ourselves as the first step in ensuring our wellbeing.
Dr Emoto believes that we should make a conscious effort to increase what he calls 'our Hado level'. This may be achieved by blessing our food and water, by speaking [orally or in our mind] of our intention on the food before we partake of it. We can even bless our surroundings and those we interact with. Our thoughts, words and actions can actually impact the world of matter and people around us in the form of our blessings, and no, this does not amount to superstition.
Blessing the world
Dr Emoto actually proved how Hado works. He used the MRA device—which is also used to inspect the quality of water—to observe ice crystals. He discovered that their shape mirrors the properties of the substance they're formed of—water. Because of this reason, no two types of water yield exactly the same crystalline structure.
Thus, water from pristine mountain streams was found to yield ice having beautifully formed geometrical crystalline patterns. In contrast, ice formed of polluted or toxic water exhibited distorted and randomly formed crystalline structures.
Dr Emoto's team then began experimenting with the effect of Hado on the quality of water. Measuring results was easy, thanks to their discovery of the properties of ice crystals.
The results [described in Messages of Water] based on individual and group experimentations with a glass of water and entire water bodies, are staggering to say the least. Dr Emoto has conclusively proven that water is 'alive,' in that it has memory, absorbs the vibrations or energy of its environment and is hence, affected by exposure to pollution, or kind words, soothing music, photos, or even prayer. So if we bless the water, it will get blessed and so is the case with all living things around us.
Dr Emoto's published works also describe how disease originates at very minute sub-particular level, perhaps when Hado is absent or insufficient.
Fortunately, when it comes to our wellbeing and blessings, a lot lies in our hands. So today, instead of finding contentment in just counting your blessings, why don't you go a step further and work on increasing your score?
Practical tips to increase your blessings
- Next time you're stuck in traffic and approached by a beggar or eunuch—bless him/her—even if [and especially if] you don't want to give out a coin.
- Bless the food you eat and water you drink—by acknowledging that the food will allow you to perform more good deeds. Then go out and actually perform good deeds.
- If you'd like to appeal to a higher authority [or God] for blessings, don't just ask, but also share the blessings that you have given others with Him.
- Daily prayers are a great way to unlock a vast storehouse of blessings for your family.
The Gentle and forgotten art of blessings
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