… continued from last post
The third image that came to me in connection with living in trust was Odysseus, who knew that on his voyage home after the Trojan War, his ship would have to pass the deadly coast where the Sirens called so enchantingly to passing ships. Their song was so irresistible that sailors would go mad with desire and turn their ships toward the shore only to be dashed against the rocks and die. Odysseus wanted to hear the Sirens and devised a plan to keep his ship intact. He had his crew plug their ears with wax and lash him tightly to the mast, with instructions to ignore anything he said or did until they were safely past the danger.
Predictably, when he heard the Sirens singing, Odysseus was overcome with desire. He screamed and threatened and fought his bonds, but the ropes held fast and his crew carried on with their duties, oblivious to the temptation and the ranting of their captain.
The connection between this third image and living in trust was less obvious to me than the first two. I sat with this one a while, waiting for the message to reveal itself. This is what emerged:
I studied taiji and Daoist healing arts with a wonderful teacher for many years. He frequently reminded us to “trust the practice,” especially when we were discouraged. And indeed, over time, I began to see how the practice became integrated into my life, woven into the fabric of my being. When I was aligned in trust, life seemed to flow more easily.
But what surprised me was that even when I was hooked by desire or distress, when life was not flowing easily but rather tossing me on stormy seas, my practice protected me. In ways difficult to describe but clear to me, especially in hindsight, I realized that my occasional harkening to temptation’s song of attachment or aversion would be thwarted by circumstances that, if not preventing error, at least hindered me long enough to regain my inner balance.
When we practice living in trust long enough, we find that our practice carries us through the tough times. Like Odysseus, we are held fast, not by ropes but by love’s sacred embrace, protected and cherished, until we remember once again that it has always been so.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. ~Isaiah 43:2