Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Depth Perspective

I have to admit that I was very anxious and agitated today as I was on my third trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles trying to get all the documentation and procedures in order so that I could finally complete my first registration of one of our cars and a camper trailer in the State of California. I knew that we would be paying heavy late fee penalties because it hadn’t been clear (to me, at least) what the rules and procedures were when we came to the Golden State. Well, things went fairly smoothly this time and I got it finished up. Whew!

On the drive back home I came upon a beautiful vista of the San Francisco Bay’s north part, San Pablo Bay. The wind had picked up lately and there were white-capping waves on the bay, and the scene was gorgeous. The view reminded me of an analogy I have of spiritual life/soul being multi-layered, with the possibility of being consciously aware of those different levels all operating at the same time.

The analogy is that of our soul being like the ocean. On the ocean there is a surface level where the sky meets the water. The sky might be clear or cloudy, the weather can vary, and the water might be calm or churning with violent waves. I too can see my own surface level and notice my anxiety today. I’d been all stirred up and felt out of control about getting that car and trailer through the DMV. It’s been pretty wavy, windy, and turbulent on my soul’s surface and I’ve felt vulnerable and a bit angry.

Going deeper in the ocean there are various creatures that live there. Some are quite beautiful, some seem ugly perhaps. Some are gentle, or shy, or skittish, or attractive, or powerful. Others might be aggressive and predatory. You get the idea. What creature in my inner world might be coming into view today? I suspect that with the way I was getting all twitchy with having to go to the DMV I was projecting my fear of some sea monster onto the agent I would meet! But likely the monster was more my own inner defensiveness than whomever was “out there.”

There are currents and tidal forces that run through the ocean’s waters. And so too in our soul. Less seen than gently or strongly felt, the currents and tidal forces of our lives pull at us and move us in our moods, emotions, feelings, and instincts. Attractions and repulsions inhabit these realms. We can try to move against those currents or with them but they are best recognized as real forces that have an impact upon us; and that we need to respect them, and discern as best we are able the wisest way to respond to them.

There is a place of great mystery and darkness in our inner spiritual world, just as in the depths of the ocean. This, too, is the place where the divine Mystery, the Holy Presence, dwells… and meets, and is, that which is beyond our normal consciousness of the self we think of as “me” or “you.” It is still and silent there, for the most part. Ancient…timeless. We cannot so much know with our rational knowledge about that place in ourselves as sense it through a graced-wisdom, a heart-knowing. But not everywhere is still and silent in that deep inner place. There are also vents in that dark floor bottom where springs of the Spirit gush powerfully, birthing new creativity, new possibilities, and renewed life.

In my better moments I am aware that something like this is going on inside me right now. I can send my awareness like a deep-sea diver to visit those various depths. And in visiting those parts of my soul, I will gain some wisdom. I may become aware that although a part of me is still trying to work through my feelings about the DMV and change my attitude, another part of me can – at the same time – be at peace in that dark, quiet place where the One abides and discover the new creativity that is gushing out right now and enjoy the new life that I’m being given.

Did you think this was only going to be about wine making?

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