As I write my article this month, I do so dockside at our cottage while on two weeks’ vacation. It is unusually quiet, for it is Sunday evening and most of the cottagers on the lake have left to travel home. There are no motor boats cruising the water ways or with those on water-skis, tubes or wakeboards loudly making their presence known to all. And thankfully the jet skis and wave runners have been parked in the boathouses or by the docks. There isn’t a breeze so the leaves cannot rustle in the wind. The loons seem to be asleep or at least bedding down for the night. The sun is gently setting, casting a somber shadow over certain parts of the lake. A beaver or otter is swimming towards me with stealth-like secrecy, making his approach noticeable only because of a subtle wave in the water. There is a lone fisherman, who every evening at this time, makes his journey to the centre of the lake, patiently but with high expectation, waiting for that elusive trout to take a hold of his baited fishing line. The water seamlessly blankets my sight with a soft covering of tranquility. There is this stillness that beckons me to sit quietly on the dock and appreciate nature’s definition or example of peace.
And so as I take my place dockside, and yield to nature’s invitation, I cannot help realize that in other parts of the province, in Canada, US and around the world, so many people’s lives this past week have been destroyed, disrupted or changed from acts of evil and savagery. I wonder how so much of God’s creation lives in such quiet harmony while other parts cry helplessly in desperation, afflicted with such unbearable pain.
It seems at times though that creation groans and travails in pain together from the witness of humanity’s sometimes destructive behaviour. Sometimes I believe creation wants to let out a loud cry and tell us to stop!
And so how do we even begin to stop the constant barbarism, the murder, the destruction. Is it even possible? What use is it to characterize an uncivilized world that now seems to challenge and even upset evolution’s intelligence.
This conflicting imbalance between what is good and that which is evil seems to permeate all that we do. When we read in disbelief that a young man, a highly intelligent graduate in neuroscience, can rob so many of their innocence, it makes us wonder how some can succumb to such terrible thoughts and act upon them.
And so I think about how I must guard myself from so many negative influences. We must be careful - the mind is like a machine: garbage in can sometimes mean garbage out. So I must protect my mind from all which wants to shamelessly feed it, shape it, control it, and use it, from all that which could lead ultimately to the destruction of my life.
I realize that what I read, what I view, who I associate with, the places I visit, my activities, my thoughts, all that tempts my curiosity and offers to satisfy my intellectual hunger, as much I must examine with utmost consciousness all that feeds the body, likewise I must also be as stringent with what I feed my mind.
So consider these thoughts from Patanjali, one of the ancient authors of the Yoga Sutras……..
When you are inspired by some great purpose,
Some extraordinary project,
All of your thoughts break their bonds:
Your mind transcends limitations,
Your consciousness expands in every direction
And you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.
Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive
And you discover yourself to be
A greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be.
So as darkness settles in and the night visits, I know the morning sun will waken not only nature, but will also speak to me. For a new day will dawn, and therein lies a hope for something greater, something that surpasses the unthinkable. There is an opportunity for me to discover a greater person than I thought I could ever be!
I hope you and your family have an enjoyable and safe summer!