Supporting service, peace, and spiritual awareness

Visiting Thailand After a Tsunami

John Morton visited Thailand in 2005. The following is an excerpt describing his experiences while in Phuket, Bangkok and Chang Mai in the aftermath of a tsunami.


I got an invitation from Reverend Brian Cutchell (to go to Thailand).  Part of the reason was to do some Light work, just to go stand in the country with whatever Light could come along. When we got into the car with our driver, Brian was with me at this point, the driver mentioned that he had lost his 3 year old niece and that kind of brought it home that this (tsunami) was an event that affected I’m sure a lot of people either very directly, personally, or through somebody they know. On the way to our hotel, which is at the opposite end of the island, we were talking about the effects of the event on people. I think most of it was just the sense of the unpreparedness for it, not really knowing how to handle something like that, not really knowing what it was and it was over rather suddenly. Then they were dealing with these big effects.


I was struck by how much construction was everywhere, and it occurred to me that they’d done a tremendous amount of clean up at this point and are well into the process of reconstruction, restoration. That energy of rebuilding is uplifting, it’s creative, it’s restorative, regenerative, positive.


It was obvious to me that they were very much ready and wanting people to come back, and I kept hearing or seeing the message of “Do you want to help? Come visit.”


I told Brian that my agenda was to plug in if there was an opportunity to in some way help. What he arranged through his contacts was to meet with a local government agent who had a responsibility to administer national services, government services. It turned out that there was a place where local people could come and ask for help, financial help. And apparently a lot of that had already been going on where people would come in and present their case.


And, it could be anything. It could be the wage earner in the household was lost. It could be property loss of some kind. Someone gave me a substantial amount of money to give away while I was there and asked me to find someone particular in a personal, more like a direct way, like directly hand over the donation. And what I decided to do was match it. So that was the fun part -- who am I going to give this money to?


The government agent that we met with mentioned that very nearby there was a school that had been severely damaged. There was a large donation from somebody in Czechoslovakia to help rebuild the school, but right next to the school was a temple and he’d heard they needed help with their rebuilding. That just struck me as “let’s go check that out,” so we did.


We walked in and met with a Buddhist monk who was in his orange garb with a shaved head, kind of the classic look. On the walls on one side they had a number of photos of the devastation, so that was quite striking, to say the least, because it was raw. I passed by one of the photos and what I realized when I passed by is that some part of me caught something that I didn’t catch, because it just looked like an eight by ten photo of water and debris, like a whole bunch of debris.


And then I was looking at these other photos and I went back and looked at the photo again and I saw probably 20 bodies in the middle of the debris, just floating with all of the garbage and whatever else had gotten stirred up by the wave. That’s one of those  things when you look at it you realize “Oh, that must have been quite powerful.” Whatever I imagined -- I thought maybe it was an occasional person -- but to see in a relatively small area of devastation that there were 20 bodies one after the other, then I got a sense that whatever it was that happened was quite powerful and intense so that it took, in some cases, a lot of people all at once.


On the other wall were their architectural plans and they were brand new. The monks were quite excited and what I got out of it is that they’d actually had these plans for quite some time, you know as a someday maybe, but because of the effects of the Tsunami, now the someday was on them and it was either rebuild or give it up. So they were in the process of not only rebuilding the temple but they wanted to create what I would call a monastery -- it’s not in the mountains but it’s near the coast -- a place of residence for several monks who would be with that temple.


They were involved with the nearby school as a kind of a Buddhist school. As the monk explained to me, they wanted to teach young people the right kind of values when they were growing up, about being kind and considerate, respectful. It wasn’t clear to me whether there was a government school available to this neighborhood or perhaps this was the school, that the monks in some way were the instructors and the people that managed and administered the school.


So, I realized in a short amount of time that this was the place where I wanted to give the donation, and I told him that. I pulled out a large amount of cash, about an inch worth of cash in an envelope, and handed it to him and obviously he was very appreciative, and started introducing me to his philosophy and his teacher.


He showed me a picture of, I think he had a name for him like “the Big Guy” or something like that, it was some name that didn’t sound too official but I got the point. He was talking to me about their form of meditation, and I told him a little about our form of meditation and that we were just glad that we could in some way contribute at their time of need. And he said, “I would like you to come back.” And I said, “I would like to come back.”


I was, let’s say, prepared to have a tough time psychically or something like that. With whatever protection and blessing came with me, which I of course asked for, I experience I got a free ride, if you will. Not that there wasn’t Light work going on, I’m sure there was as there always is in any place we are. But I wasn’t dealing as I have on some occasions in some locations that I’ve been very aware of the negative forces. I was much more aware of the blessing forces, the uplifting forces. And, you know I think that a large part of that is because people have been praying and there has been an overpowering consciousness of empathy. So the outpouring from the world has made a difference.


I think one of the lessons of the temple situation in particular is this is an opportunity to make it better than it was -- we’re going to have a better temple than we had, we’re going to have a better school, we’re going to have a better house. Because there has been a tremendous outpouring of donations, there really are these opportunities where it’s not just “kind of fix it,” but it’s “make it really good.” Do some things that you’ve wanted to do. Now this is all my speculation, but whatever is going on, that’s what I was seeing.


We also went and visited Brian’s factory and I had an opportunity to do a blessing on his new daughter. And a blessing at their factory. I was doing that kind of quietly, because there are lots of ways to do a blessing.


Then, as we were about to leave in our car in the parking lot, the office staff came out and Brian let me know that they were wanting to know when’s the blessing, “we want to do the blessing.” And so we joined up in a circle there in the parking lot and did another blessing together.


It’s a real nice experience when you take time and you join up with people you’re just meeting, and people you’re just meeting again from whenever we met before, and having the experience of the uniting and goodness that goes into being willing to say a prayer and ask for God’s Light to visit us and be placed into the land, into the earth, and do whatever can be done in grace. It was kind of the culmination of the trip, going to that factory and going to Brian’s home and doing the blessing in the factory and the blessing at home with the new daughter.