In 2020, Thailand has a population of 66.19 million. 94 percent of the population is Buddhist, 4 percent Muslim, 0.8 percent Christian (all denominations). Groups that together constitute 1.2 percent of the population include animists, Confucians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, and Taoists. Ursuline sisters first introduced God to me, and I was baptized when I was a primary school student. At Vasudhevi School, I was a leader of Y.C.S. (Young Christian Students) group. Later, I read and studied some courses on the Bible with some priests and sisters. While working with the World Vision Organisation, I served as one of the leaders of Catholic Charismatic Prayer Group in Bangkok. Since 2004, the Ursuline sisters have invited me to join the WCCM Prayer Group at Mater Dei School.
We had weekly meeting and meditation every Wednesday evening. I used to attend WCCM seminar in Singapore with Sr. Theodore and Emilie Ketduthat. Sr. Theodore accompanied me and some other members to meet and talk with Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (one of the very famous Thai Buddhist meditation monks at Surajthani province, in the South of Thailand).
I had opportunities to practice and gain more experience of meditation and prayer with Franciscan, Jesuit and Redemptorist priests, and Ursuline sisters. I take at least two opportunities a year for spiritual group retreats and personal retreats. These retreats give new depth to my appreciation of scripture and the liturgy and have transformed my relationship with God. It is a journey of faith, hope, and love.
Working in human resources, finance, fund raising, and office administration in large non-profit organizations to serve many needy people, refugees, asylum seekers, etc. has caused some stress to me. Meditation and spiritual retreats can help me enjoy my life, be happier and be more peaceful. At present during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the time I stay and work at home. I Read the Bible daily, attend daily mass, and meditate twice a day. I keep praying during my morning walk exercise, working in my little garden and even cooking, etc. God is the center of what I do. I have also gained a lot of useful insights to help me in my work for the WCCM by reading books of Fr. Laurence Freeman and Fr. John Main, watching their YouTube videos and listening to some music.
At Holy Redeemer Church, Fr. Prasert Lohaviriyasiri has been the chairperson of the WCCM of Thailand. Dr. Suntree Komin and Wachara Navawongse are coordinators. In August 2021, I was appointed as a National Coordinator for Thailand, to communicate with the WCCM Centre and attend the monthly Asia Region Leaders Meditation Group Meeting. Four of us work as a good team to lead our community. Our community have a weekly meditation meeting every Saturday at 10.00 am – 11.30 am. God has His plan for us. We just have to be faithful and committed to the simplicity and humility of daily life. Our simple and attentive prayer of the heart, the invaluable mantra, now accompanies me wherever I go and in whatever I do.
Meditation has changed my life. Maranatha!
Aungkie Sopinpornraksa’s sharing is part of the January 2022 issue of the WCCM Quarterly Newsletter.
Read and download the full issue here.