[The words of this sonnet are printed below.]
Several years ago a New Yorker article explored how the brain comes up with new insights that seem miraculous—epiphanies that solve problems instantly that all our study and anxious thinking have never figured out.
We need such miracles right now. We need them to find a way to work together as one people to solve one of the biggest threats to survival humanity has ever faced and one of the biggest threats to democracy our nation has ever faced.
It would feel like a miracle if we could address the climate crisis or pandemic or surge in global refugees or increasingly violent racial, economic and environmental injustices. It would feel like a miracle if we could overcome our polarization.
Our generation needs to work miracles, and fast, so we need to be smart about it. We need to understand how people have worked miracles in the past.
The New Yorker article talked about a contemplative master who had spent years practicing mindfulness and meditation. He was part of a large scientific study where people were given a set of word problems to solve. At first he was terrible at it as he strained to think. Then he used his well-developed contemplative skill to let go of his thoughts and quiet his brain and open to his spiritual dimension, and suddenly he started solving problem after problem, better than anyone else in the study had been able to do.
The article reveals this as a pattern. People hit an impasse and realize their way of thinking is not working. They stop, let go and open, and whether immediately or at a random moment, insight comes in a flash. It happens to Nobel Prize wining scientists in the shower or sitting on a bus, it happened to the wildfire-fighter Wag Dodge when a howling fifty foot wall of flame was seconds away from overtaking him.
Science confirms what spiritual masters of all traditions and cultures have known for thousands of years. We have a source of knowing within us that is beyond our ordinary way of thinking, and we open to it and access it by changing our mode of being. Meditation and mindfulness, contemplative prayer and heartfulness—these are practices designed to transform our mode of being and open us to higher wisdom and power.
We need miracles, so we need miracle workers. We need people who will lead humanity to work collective miracles, so we need people who are skilled in the practices that transform consciousness and bring new insights. We need you to do this, if you will, please.
We need to learn:
How to Walk on Water
After he sent the crowds he fed away,
and after his disciples left by boat,
he went up on the mountainside to pray.
He went to rest in God. He went to float
calm inner seas and let the Spirit’s breath
and current turn his prow and guide his craft,
knowing the fore would always point to death,
knowing his fear would always point to aft.
His prayer was just a silent letting go,
trusting that what he emptied, God would fill.
Whether or not God did, he did not know
until he felt the Spirit’s forceful will
drive him back down from contemplation’s rock
with courage matching waves, and faith to walk.
Based on Matthew 14:22-33
copyright 2020 Thomas Cary Kinder