I met Steve, a 65-year-old Vietnam War veteran in San Diego, Calif., a few years ago. We met while waiting for a bus to travel from Pacific Beach to Claremont. Realizing there was plenty of time before the bus arrived, Steve promptly initiated a conversation. He was eager to share some of his military experiences in Vietnam. He began the story by saying, "You’ve really got to be grateful to God for some of the crazy things you did when you were young." With an introduction like that, I knew I was in for a real treat, because I love stories.
Steve said that he was about 24 years old when he was stationed in Vietnam. He befriended a Vietnamese family that invited him for dinner one night. After a most festive dinner, they brought him some after-dinner drinks.
Interrupting himself momentarily, he cleared his throat and inquired if I had ever tried "moonshine." I indicated that I never even heard of it, let alone tried it. He shook his head remorsefully and cautioned, "Don’t even mess with it. It’s a homemade whiskey!"
Apparently, he grossly underestimated the potency of the beverage when the Vietnamese family offered it. Without knowing he was already quite "toasted," he collected an additional bottle of moonshine from his host to share with his Army buddies at the base. But instead of going back to the base, he decided to go bar hopping.
"The last thing I remembered," he said, "was finishing the bottle of moonshine at the last bar. The next thing I remembered was waking up in the morning on top of a telephone pole."
"Good God!" I exclaimed, trying to hold back laughter. "That’s absolutely insane!"
"No," he said. "What’s even more insane was trying to figure out how I got on top of the telephone pole in the first place."
"God is really amazing," he said, shaking his head. "Spirit watched after me as I slept all night on top of a telephone pole. When you think about some of the crazy things you did when you were young, you really have to be grateful to God!"
Reasons to be grateful
Take a moment and reminisce about your youth. I’m quite certain that you, too, can find ample reasons to be grateful to God for certain activities that were inspired by sheer youthful exuberance. It may not be about moonshine, but everyone has a crazy story. It’s just a part of growing up.
You can incorporate the "HU" mantra in your prayers of gratitude:
HU, pronounced "hue," is an ancient word for God. It has been called a love song to God because of its capacity to open the heart to unconditional love. It is a purifying interfaith mantra. By singing or chanting the word, you are basically saying to Spirit: "Not my will, but May Thy Will Be Done."
The HU is to be sung once or twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes, preferably upon arising in the morning and before retiring to bed at night. The way to do this is to find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or disturb anyone. You can lie down or sit with your back straight, your feet planted on the floor, and your hands resting comfortably on your lap. (Sitting is recommended because lying down can lead to falling asleep during the exercise.) Then, recall an incident that brought love or happiness to your heart, or think about someone, a pet, or something you love. (This is done simply to open your heart to love. Once your heart is open, you don’t need to continue thinking about the event or person throughout your exercise.)
With your heart filled with love or happiness, gently put your attention at the point between your eyebrows, often referred to as the spiritual eye or third eye. Then, in a long, drawn-out breath, simply sing the word HU-U-U-U-U-U. Lovingly sing this song either silently or softly in prayer or during your meditation sessions.
The HU can also be used when you find yourself in a situation where you need more insight, rejuvenation or protection. Your aim is to open yourself to the flow of unconditional love, and to allow divine spirit to refine your spiritual vibration. When this flow of refined spiritual current becomes a part of you, you become a clear channel for healing and inspiration to anyone who crosses your path. May the Blessings Be!