Navigating Through Difficult Times by Rev. Christine Emmerling DD 11/12/2023
“Navigating Through Difficult Times” by Christine Emmerling 11/12/2023
Today I’m talking about “Navigating Through Difficult Times.” The word navigate means “to plan and direct the route or course of a ship, or to guide over a specified route.”
I so enjoy sailing the calm bay waters and the gentle rocking while sleeping under deck. Although sometimes the waves would get very active in the San Francisco Bay. That would take some navigating to get safely back to port. At times the boat would be so tilted that I could actually touch the water with my hand, and the spray would leave us all wet.
We can think of our own life as a ship that we are in charge of the direction it takes. We are its captain so to speak. Our deck hands tending to the sails and rudder, or steering wheel represent ideas and what we think about. We want to keep our eye on the destination.
All sailing requires capturing the wind in the sails to keep moving in a desired direction in life. The wind can represent our energy and will power. A gentle breeze keeps us steadily moving forward, while a fierce wind can be destructive, and no wind keeps us sitting in place.
The waves represent our emotions and feelings. Still water is a deep state of peace. Gentle waves are being content. Turbulent waves stir up the subconscious beliefs and fears. When circumstances in our life quickly change and become challenging what do we do? We take charge and give orders to calm our inner self so that we can navigate successfully through the rough waters of life.
Mid October of this year, my daughter and I were on vacation at Cabo San Lucas Mexico. As our vacation neared I checked the weather to make sure there was no hurricane in the forecast. It forecasted clear skies. Well that changed, we got to experience our third hurricane in Cabo San Lucas.
It was 2014 when the first passed by as a tropical storm, then a week later the big one hit land head on as a category 3. Luckily this year the hurricane reduced from a category 4 to a 1 as it made landfall. Each storm brought very different experiences.
During the category 3 hurricane I had a lot of fear. It was all very loud, and sounded like a freight train coming towards us. I took charge of my emotions and thoughts through breathing, affirmations and silent prayer and meditation. What was this “I” taking charge, but my own inner guide, or Christ Mind.
When the storm ended, we found our room with a little water but no damage. While upper rooms lost windows and most rooms were flooded, and the outdoor restaurant lost its roof and pools filled with debris and sand. The town was in shambles and the airport destroyed. Then it was keeping calm, being there for others and lots of gratitude.
This last hurricane we watched its progress on the hotel’s TV station. This time I felt no fear, even when it was a category 4 there was an inner sense of calmness. Friday afternoon the weather was still beautiful and people enjoying the outdoors. I thought, “Was this the calm before the storm.”
When watching the news we affirmed the hurricane’s category going down. It was bouncing back and forth between 4, 3 and then suddenly it made landfall at a category 1. It was Friday evening when heavy wind and rain came all night long. I lay there watching the bushes and trees thrashing about. It was my job to keep my thoughts and emotions calm as they can impact the outer conditions.
Then I remembered Jesus’ words “Peace be still” as he spoke to the storm in Mark 4:35-39. This story begins after Jesus having been teaching from a boat on the sea. Being evening Jesus tells the disciples “Let us cross over to the landing place.” And they left the people, and took him away while he was in the boat. And there were other boats of people out with them. And there arose a heavy storm and wind, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that the boat was nearly filled.
But Jesus was sleeping on a blanket in the stern of the boat; and they came and roused him and said to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? So he got up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind quieted down, and there was a great calm. And he said to them, “Why are you so fearful? And why do you have no faith?” And they were exceedingly afraid, and said to each other, “Oh, who is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Symbolically the boat represents our consciousness which includes our body. Crossing a body of water means a change in consciousness. Jesus being asleep means we are no longer consciously connected to our Christ Mind. Our disciples, our faculties of mind, our thoughts and emotions, when challenged, quickly forgot all they had learned, and became fearful and felt helpless.
The sea or lake is the subconscious mind that is filled with all kinds of beliefs. The windy storm represents energy that has stirred up negative thoughts and emotions from the sea, or depths of the subconscious mind. Negative thoughts release fearful emotions that overwhelm us, and we forget all that we have learned about spiritual law.
Where is this storm but within us, within our consciousness and the collective consciousness - all the other boats of people in this world with us. But our experience depends upon how we respond to it. When we seek inwardly to calm our inner self then collectively our faculties of mind come together and the Christ within us awakens. Our inner Christ becomes the power to transform the difficulties in our life.
We can go around like Chicken Little crying “The sky is falling” at every little thing that happens. And, then when the “big one” happens just emotionally fall apart and become useless. It is so important to have our daily dose of God. Meaning to take time everyday to go within, inspirational reading and put to practice what we do know. Divine Science has wonderful tools to prepare ourselves for those difficult times when they do come, or should I say opportunities for exercising our spiritual muscles.
We’re now back to Cabo San Lucas in 2023. It is Saturday morning after a night of blasting wind and rain. All is now calm. There was a strange stillness that lasted several hours. Late afternoon more heavy wind and rain returned for another round which lasted through the night. The next morning again there was no damage to our hotel. Although roads were flooded and some buildings had damage, but nothing like the 2014 hurricane. Sunday afternoon people were already back at the pool.
A couple of days later we attended a social gathering and we talked to a women who joined our table. Her experience was very different from ours. She was staying at a sister resort nearby and was upset about everything.
To begin with her trip was delayed due to the hurricane, and was upset because her trip had been cut short. The pool was shut down due to glass from broken windows. Her room had no view and was on the 7th floor with the elevator not working, and the list goes on.
I believe our attitude plays an important role in how we are going to experience this journey of life. “Like attracts like,” or as we say “As within so without.” Gratitude is so very important in smoothing the way.
Maybe because we experienced the storm we felt so much gratitude and patience for all the people that cared for us. Friday was a day of preparing the facilities. They brought our balcony furniture in for us, and the next day checked in on us and while the restaurants were closed we each received free boxed meals to our room.
Most of the time we had electricity, and WiFi for our streaming device and cell phone. They quickly got everything back to normal. Only the elevator was down longer as they waited for an inspection. Thank goodness we only had one flight of stairs to climb.
Another story comes to mind, that of the “Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy is upset with a neighbor threatening to take away her dog Toto. When suddenly a tornado picks up the house with Dorothy and Toto in it. Dorothy is taken on an adventure faraway to another land.
All that Dorothy wants is to go home, but is told that in order to return home she must find the great Wizard of Oz. Along the way she gathers friends, and has many experiences with some very scary ones too, but always comes out better.
Then she found that the wizard was a fake, and it was up to her to get back home. The answer was always within her. But, she had to come to that point in consciousness of accepting the power that was always within her. And so do we.
I invite you to take a little journey with me. Get comfortable and relax. Now pay attention and listen to what is going on in your thoughts. Sense your state of mind. How does your body feel? Is it calm, busy, anxious, stressed, fearful. You may want to assign a number to it from 1-5. A “one” feeling peaceful and on up to fear.
Now imagine there is a place within you that is very quiet and calm. A place where no fleeting thoughts can touch. Much like the eye of a storm where all is calm. While all the destructive activity surrounds this eye.
Now go deeper within to your own inner “eye” or center of calmness and peace. From this place take a deep breath, and say “Peace be still” and breathe it in. Feel this inner peace expanding within you as your troubling thoughts are distancing.
A 2nd time we take a deep breath and say “Peace be still” and breathe it in. Our inner “eye” now encroaches upon the destructive thoughts disbanding their power.
A 3rd time take a deep breath and say “Peace be still” and breathe it in. The turbulent thoughts are dissipated into the nothingness from which they came.
Again sense your state of being. What number do you assign to it. A “one” is having a deep sense of peace and calmness within. A higher number is less peace. Now let us open our eyes seeing the world brighter than before. So it is!