Posted on February 9, 2010


Experiencing faith and spirituality is something that we attempt to wrap our minds around, but something that we cannot really understand. So we learn to “contain” it, define it, systematize it, so that we can understand it.

We are afraid of experiencing things we cannot understand, like death. We fear death because it is the unknown. Because we fear it, we fight against it. But once a person on their death bed embraces death, a peace comes over them and they are able to let go of life and enter death quietly . . . with openness.

Often we don’t see that we do the same with faith and spirituality. Because it is beyond our understanding, we contain it, label it, programize it, and make it safe.


It is like coming to the edge of the ocean. We stand there engulfed in the roar of waves, feeling like we are at the edge of space. We know that the ground we are standing on is not all there is. We know there is more; much, much more . . . there must be. Intuitively we know that we must dive in to experience the ocean. But because of our fear of the unknown, our fear of mystery, we dip our toe in. Then we get inventive and decide we want to own our piece of it, “I’ll make it mine.” So we get our buckets and dip them in the ocean. We turn around with our piece of the ocean in our buckets and walk away, back to our lives of safety and comfort, consumption and greed.

Don’t get me wrong, we have built a very “nice” life and our buckets are beautiful, state of the art, fashionable, and sturdy.

As we walk away, we wonder what it is like to really experience the ocean. Then we disappear, scurrying back to the rat race . . . fists still clenching our buckets.

We may label them our “Christian” or “Baptist” or “Christian Reformed” or “Orthodox” or “Catholic” or “Buddhist” buckets. But, no matter how nice our buckets, they are not the ocean. They are human constructs designed to “contain” the ocean . . . that which cannot be “contained”.

Still knowing down deep that there must be more, we muster up courage and throw ourselves into the ocean for a swim. But our fists are so tightly clenched to our buckets that we subconsciously carry our buckets into the ocean with us. Somehow, we almost drown. So we restrain ourselves from diving again. We don’t even realize why . . .

We don’t realize that swimming in the ocean is impossible

without total abandon . . . TOTAL.

We must leave everything on the shore . . . EVERYTHING.

We must dive in with our hands open and empty.

We must become one with the ocean,

with its will, its power, and its shifting currents.

We must surrender to the ocean and

let its power and mystery carry us where it will.