Though my meditation calms and at times even delights me, in the end it meets resistance. Lesson 131 calls on me to let go of my thoughts about self and world and “sink below them to the holy place where they can enter not” (W-pI.131.11:7). And I love those words and the sure promise and I begin my prayer in earnestness and love and then . . .
To sink is to fall. Being given to water, I perceive this lesson in terms of swimming. The langorous crawl to the pond’s center when the summer moon is full and lolls in the sky, or out across the lake riven by loon’s cries in early September, each firm stroke driven by chill. Who remains on the surface works to do so, and takes their pleasure accordingly.
To sink is to fall. To sink is to fail. It is to become passive in the very place where vigilance and effort are all that sustain you. I like the idea of that secret place where the Holy One dwells eternally – and I like the idea that it is here and now available to me – but I do not like sinking. I do not like the passivity it implies.
I am not ready to surrender.
So this is my morning: study and prayer, deep quiet, and yes, peace. It flows like the sun’s light slowly filling the room around me. I am happy, wordy, generous, forgiving.
It is so necessary – however sad, however frustrating – to see our resistance. To see how we insist on retaining even the faintest hint of faint control. I will take the prayer this far but no further. And it feels right to say that! It feels good. On some level it does, else why would we do it? Jesus urges me to find the door and I fuss a little and then turn back. I kick back to the surface and make for the shore, the assurance of solid ground. Not this time, Jesus. I’m not falling this time.
So it goes. Jesus does not turn his back, but merely waits for us to enter the water again, swim to the center, and try – again, for the ten thousandth time again – to let go, to sink, to find the loving thoughts that we think with God, and the world beyond this world of change and anguish.
I will never forsake you any more than God will, but I must wait as long as you choose to forsake yourself. Because I wait in love and not in impatience, you will surely ask me truly. I will come in response to a single unequivocal call (T-4.III.7:8-10).
We are taught to “[S]ee what it is you are really asking for” (T-4.III.8:1). Don’t be casual about this. Don’t indulge denial. I am asking for peace, but I am unwilling to surrender. Who won’t surrender insists on holding onto conflict. Can I see the truth of it? That I am asking for the very thing I am simultaneously insisting I will not take?
There is no answer to this problem. It is a paradox that cannot be solved. That is why Lesson 131 urges us to “not choose a paradox in place of truth” (W-pI.131.9:1). The only thing you can do with a paradox is let it go. The mind that invented it is clever indeed, but it is not at peace. It has not yet known fully the Love that is God.
I stand with you in the shallows, then. Breath of wind, light of a thousand stars, plash of lake trout rising to feed. And hand in hand we enter again the water – for together is how we go – and swim to its center and . . .