Wait for the Current
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Principle: When I’m sure I know “the right way,” stop paddling the boat and wait for the current to carry me.
Practice: Use this prayer: “God, help me to set aside what I’m sure I know for an open mind and heart and a new experience in You.”
I only posted once in November, for a variety of reasons. Each week but the one I posted, I made a conscious decision that other things took priority. And I’m not sure quite what to make of that. Does it mean my time writing this blog is coming to an end if I’m choosing to make other things more important? Are my priorities shifting? Or is this some form of resistance to the rigor and discipline of writing every week? That’s my inquiry right now, and I don’t yet have clarity.
And for today, I’m going to write on a recent entry in one of my daily readers. The author talked about feeling in emotional turmoil, totally uncomfortable, like she was in a boat in the middle of a river without any rudder, oars, sail, paddles or other means of directing the boat. All she wanted to do was paddle desperately with her hands so she’d have some sense of momentum, some sense of direction. She was reporting this to a friend, who’s response was to say, “Well, you could do that, but you might end up where you’re not meant to be. Maybe you could just wait for the current to pick up the boat and carry it where the Divine would have you go.”
As is often the case with these daily readings, this one was exactly what I needed on the day I read it, and I have remembered it in moments when it was useful since. Recently, I have started to notice how much self-will and self-righteousness are driving my life. For example, out of my 40-year career in adult learning, I’m quite sure that my way of leading a workshop for adults is the right way, and the two abbots who do most of the teaching in my Order are not following my prescription! So I get annoyed and frustrated with their teaching, and want to show them how it should be done.
In short, I had taken off paddling my boat madly with both hands, deciding that I know where not only I but the abbots and the whole group need to be headed. As a result, I end up in a judgmental, agitated place where I don’t want to be, and likely make others miserable as well. I certainly cannot be helpful to anyone in that state. But if I waited for the current to catch me, or even found the humility to ask for Divine guidance, I would likely end up in a place where I am truly of service to myself, the abbots, the group and the Mother.
It’s become something of a mantra: Stop paddling, Nance, and let the current take you where you’re meant to be. Blessed be!