Dispatch One Hundred Eighty

Posted: October 29, 2015 in Thirty-Ninth Bundle
Tags: , , , , , , ,

MARK 4:35-41

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Reading this story symbolically we might see the sleeping Jesus in the tossed-about boat of disciples as the “sleeping” or unconscious or dormant “deeper self” that indwells each of us. While we strain at our oars and try desperately to stay afloat, pumped with adrenaline and nearly overwhelmed emotionally, this deeper self is at the rear of our boat, detached and at peace.

We don’t realize that this source of inner peace is always available to us, and instantly accessible. Our trouble is that our focus is so exclusively directed to the threat “out there” and our thinking so riveted on problem-solving, we can easily accuse the deeper self of being aloof and uncaring. So we pass it off as so much impractical mysticism.

This peace within, however, is far from impractical. Indeed our greatest resource for meeting the external challenges of life is this core of serenity and strength, accessed through contemplative, or “centering,” prayer. You know what it feels like when you’re off-center and out of balance. Your focus is fractured, your energy drains away, and the pressures of life seem impossible to handle. Arousing the deeper self – not as a last resort but as your first priority – provides you with sustaining strength, a wider and longer vision, as well as with a miraculous power to “still the storm” that is wrecking the sails and swamping the boats of so many around you. The hardship may not instantly vanish, but you can now bring to it the insight and faith it needs.

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