The Pulse of Spirit last week was entitled Crossing the Abyss. I addressed those times in our life when what was is no more and what will be has not yet appeared.
A scene in a Raiders of the Lost Ark movie portrays such a moment cinematically. This is the Leap of Faith scene when Indiana Jones steps out into an abyss, seemingly with nothing under him but the huge chasm below. Only after he takes his first step does a stone bridge appear to hold him up and take him to the other side.
Life can feel like that.
Sometimes, when I face a challenge in life, I think back to stories that inspire me, often stories of my ancestors. They might be blood ancestors, national ancestors like the American Founding Fathers, or spiritual ancestors.
Like most Americans, I learned about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in elementary school. I heard the story of George Washington and the cherry tree and how Abraham Lincoln freed the enslaved Africans of the Confederacy.
As an adult, I’ve studied their lives and how they led this country. I’ve read how George Washington walked among the troops in the dead of winter at Valley Forge and how Abraham Lincoln carried the country, at times dreadfully alone. Despite their faults and limitations, their example has inspired me to no end.
Here is another story I look to when crossing an abyss. It is the story of Moses crossing the Red Sea.
If you have watched The Ten Commandments, you have seen Charlton Heston on the shore, with the waters parting to let the Hebrews pass to the other side. Moses is leading people who had been enslaved in Egypt to the land of Canaan, present-day Israel. On the way, there is an immense sea. Pharaoh and his army, with 600 chariots, is hot on their trail. So there they are, an enslaved people breaking free, on the edge of the sea, with an army breathing down their necks.
The story of Moses is filled with his conversations with the Divine. I love a story that includes a spiritual dimension. He is not facing the abyss on just a human basis. His inner dialogue is a crucial feature of this episode. So his conversation with Deity is part of the practical outworking of events.
This is from that dialogue:
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord….
Stand still. That is quite a thing to tell people with an army breathing down their neck. Stand still. See the salvation that is there for you. What good instruction when faced with an abyss! Be fully present. In fact, there is an opportunity here like none other when you face an abyss. It is a good time to connect vertically.
Stand still. Stop being so busy. Let your heart settle. Let your mind be tranquil. Let the power within you catch up with you and enter you. Let the wisdom you need for the next steps in your life come into you.
But wisdom cannot come into you if you are running around in consciousness, not present in the moment to receive that wisdom. Be there to receive it. Stand still, and see.
Part of the salvation is the heavenly download that is available to us.
Oh, you are in a predicament? You are facing an abyss? Stand still and receive this heavenly download; receive the power of love within you. Get loved. Receive it.
Love is a power. Your world needs that power but cannot get it from you unless you receive it yourself. And you cannot receive it unless you stand still. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
A little while later, there is another verse that I do not remember having read before.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.
Do not come crying to me for the solution here. That’s my paraphrase of what is being said, put into contemporary English.
Speak unto the children of Israel.
Go talk to them. There is something for your world to do and something for you to bring to your world.
Yes, there is something to receive from the Divine. We are here to be a vessel for that. And we have to stand still to be that vessel, know our vertical connection, and receive the download. Then there is something for us to do. And if we are waiting around for heavenly forces to do something, or for God, by whatever name, to do something, when the action that is needed is through us, we are missing the point. That is not a good way to go through an abyss.
The way to go through the abyss is to stand still in it and then take the step that is ours to take. Do what needs to be done.
We do not control all the factors in the world in which we live. I am working on it! But that is not really what is happening here. None of us control all the factors in the world in which we live, even the closest world we have, in our immediate sphere of function. I might like to, but it is very clear that I am not controlling even that.
And still, there is something for me to receive, and something for you to receive, and something for us to do. And it all works out when we do that because now we are acting out of a higher wisdom that is connected to the wisdom of all things—all people and all of Creation. We have received the download of that wisdom, and so we are in harmony with it.
This is what is portrayed in the story of the crossing of the Red Sea. Moses stood still, he did what he needed to do, and then Providence came and parted the Red Sea.
We could argue about how real that event was historically. Yet, even though it seems fantastic, it might have been more real than we might think. But leaving that aside, just taking the meaning and value of the story to heart, what is being portrayed here? Stand still, receive the heavenly download, and do what is yours to do. Then, and only then, do you realize that everything else is unfolding in concert with that. And you are acting in concert with what is manifesting through it all.
It does not work to sleepwalk through such experiences. Standing at the abyss of nothingness is a time for being supremely conscious. It is through consciousness that the download comes, and that requires our full presence.
Standing still is not going to sleep. It is an opportunity to attune to the forces of Creation and to the presence of the Divine. Tuning in to that and allowing it to come into us, we become a living embodiment of that presence in our world.
Is any of this familiar to you from your own life experience? Do you ever reach those times when you face a great abyss in front of you, and there is nowhere to go but to walk into it?
When that happens, the last thing we should do is run from the situation. Instead, try taking the attitude I am here for this. Whatever is troublesome, distressing, challenging, or seemingly insolvable, I came here for this—to be present in it, to stand still in it.
For all of us, there are immediate factors in our life, very personal factors, that we do not have to go looking for. They came to us. What is happening in our life has found us, and there we are—all those factors are with us.
Those factors are connected to the larger world in which we live. Sometimes people make an effort to pray for that larger world. They pray for world peace, desiring to influence the larger world spiritually. That might be a wonderful thing to do. And yet, where is our point of greatest leverage? Relative to the culture we are part of and the larger world in which we live, at whatever level you want to look at it—nationally or even globally—where is our point of greatest leverage? Is it not our own immediate life and the factors present in it?
Gotcha! You came to me, and now, I am here for this. I am here for you.
I came into my life to receive the factors that are most immediate for me and to welcome them.
You came to me, and I gotcha. I am standing still in this and allowing a higher love and wisdom to come into me and through me in this.
In Moses’ case, the Red Sea episode has a happy ending, at least for Moses and the Hebrews. The Red Sea parts and they pass to the other side. Then the sea that had been parted floods Pharaoh’s army. It is a sad ending for them. Pharaoh thought he was in a superior position to Moses. But the story reveals that Moses was moving with the forces of Creation and Pharaoh was not.
Who knows exactly what the relevance of that might be for our life? It is not ours to predict how circumstances will unfold. We are simply called to face the abyss and cross it; to stand still and attune to the presence, power, and wisdom of the Divine. And see the salvation opening up before us.