James is currently seeking a literary agent...
Twelve Little Boats to God
With nowhere left to turn, Benjamin reaches out to a God he is unsure of and asks for help through a series of letters. As he questions God and ponders the meaning of his existence, his Spirit Guide Andreas and his Guardian Angel Elyce look on and help us to understand the inner processes that inspire and carry a person forward. We are invited to discover for ourselves the avenues of prayer, mysticism, and the inner light and sound that reside in all of us.
Both touching and inspiring, Twelve Little Boats to God is a prayerful exploration of how great adversity may open a Soul to the light that sustains it and aid in the search for meaning, hope, and ultimate joy.
Whatever our beliefs, it is a simple fact that when we are overwhelmed by immense heartache, we naturally and sincerely turn to God for help. In times of great distress, the earnest hope that God will hear our voice is all we have left, hope that in our deepest yearning our pain will be taken away and our hearts healed. In that moment, we may recognize the possibility of being connected to a deep, unconditional kindness.
It is also true that without suffering we grow very slowly, since, most often, we learn when we are presented with problems. As we experience life’s tears, we ask questions, and so, step-by-step, we search out the many reasons for living and loving, slowly cultivating an understanding that life is eternal and that we may reclaim the love we thought was lost.
Life is a journey of love: my life, your life—all life, and most people know that when the time comes to take a significant step on that journey, life can be very hard. But when we look back across the years we have traveled, we often recognize that a deep wisdom was born from the challenges we had to face and that many of life’s problems existed for positive reasons.
Such is the story before you. It is an example of how a person may uncover the truth of things and grow as a spiritual being, even when life has laid him very low. A great fall into darkness may empty a person of all that made him feel safe, but it may also prepare the way for a brighter, purer light to shine within: a light of love, comfort, hope, and healing. With perseverance, guided as we all are, may we all find the answers we are looking for and so step from sorrow into joy.
This is my prayer to You, that You help me to see, to know, and to remove all doubt from my mind that death is but a short journey home. I wait for a sign, a word, an awareness, for a simple glimpse of Truth to take hold. I am waiting for You to talk to me, to unchain me from my ignorance. Each day that passes reveals how little I know. If the answers are within me, they are buried very deep.
It seems like an indulgence to talk to You when in this moment You are imaginary, yet I feel a safety gather around me as I do. And though it seems that I cling onto an idea of You, writing this letter is more than just a product of wishful thinking. You are to me the answer to a question, toward an understanding that there is a vastness to discover. The alternative is to turn my face toward nothingness and be satisfied with memories that time will soon fade. But the hopeful voice within speaks clearly to me. It tells me that I can know and that I must search.
As I let these thoughts settle, I recognize that I am either a disposable creature or a permanent, eternal life. It is one or the other. I can believe in nothing extraordinary, a condition in which my survival is fleeting and my mortality falls upon the shoulders of chance, or I can find a seed of purpose that promises to outlast this life and explain the reasons behind the sorrow and joy that clothe the lives of all men and women.
Above all else, I wish to understand love, from which flow the undercurrents of fear, desire, and even this high aspiration. I want my love to have meaning. I want the light of purpose to shine, however dim it may be. Otherwise, all is for naught; I gained nothing from caring for another person. What a tragedy it would be to resign myself to a random, heartless space when I have discovered the ability to love so deeply, for it is in love that I am able to give my life its profoundest expression. Through the possibility of You, I hope to reach into the peace of that ultimate Truth, where there will be no more questioning and no more philosophy, only a final, pure knowing.
Though the heaviness remains, my burden is softened by talking to You. I begin to carry the assurance that I am carefully held within a pure design. I feel a little stronger, for some small part of this sadness is being healed, even though I miss Sam so very much. I am glad that I have allowed my heart to expand, if only a little. I feel within it the beginnings of peace. Despite the tempest that pulls and sways, I think that You, too, must see the weight of sadness lifted in me. I am not sure that I understand why this is so, for are You not still an idea in my mind? Perhaps it is enough to know that by talking to You, I feel myself slowly brought out into the light, and for that I will try to hold on to an understanding that You are with me. My idea of You is so very uncertain and the knowledge I seek is vast, yet love has brought me this far, and perhaps it will take me a little further.
My mind is so full of questions, but I see that I must restrain myself and tread slowly and with humility. Every step forward has revealed how much I have assumed about life and what vast knowledge I have yet to absorb. Everything has unfolded directly before me in its time, and I will trust that this will continue. Perhaps it is enough to live simply and expect little, to live with kindness, and not to stray far from the inner point of calm.
Maybe in heaven there is no conflict, no adversity, only a life of perfect peace and certainty, but then I would stagnate, for what would compel me to grow? Down here on Earth—this place of duality, of right and wrong, of darkness and light—here is where I may decide. In duality, I am given choices. Here on Earth is the place to change the essence of who I am, not in the light, for surely I will carry my earthly choices into the permanence of eternity. I wonder if it is even possible to contemplate a change in one’s Self while living in the eternal.
I am helped to move forward, that much is clear, for my world is not random. There is a rhythm, a pulse, and a repetition in what I encounter within the circumference of life. The choices I am offered are mostly of the lesser, everyday variety: whether to be troublesome or helpful, inconsiderate or kind, social or withdrawn. Yet, even if the choices are small, I have the ability to use great care, for I possess the gift of discernment and the capacity for compassion. In this journey of decision and discovery, I find that, by loving, I connect to the inner life, for the sweetest, purest love swells deep from within. To act only in self-interest attaches me to the outer life, but to be kind in the world brings me into an understanding of the immovable Goodness inside me. When I recreate myself in the image of deep love, in an image of You, I am sure that some precious part of my Soul glows brighter.
Of course, I could try to avoid the conflict of the world. Perhaps I could seek You in a monastery or in the solitude of this mountain. But then I would lack mastery in other aspects of myself, and so many facets need to be polished! Instead of removing myself from temptation, I must master it. Only then will I truly be free, for I will be able to step into any level of life and express Truth: at work, in the marketplace, or in silence.
Life has asked me to look into the deeper meaning of things and to understand the creative power of desire through the many waves of experience. I see that, to work, the lessons of life and their shadows must have that desire, for without them there is apathy and sterility in our human affairs. I must ask: Where or to whom do I point my natural desire? What do I choose to love on this particular day? Is it food, sleep, a person, work, my dog, or Truth? Herein lies the very heart of the matter: Will I direct myself toward the colorful noises of the world or toward the immeasurable Truth and the clear, white light I have seen? Will I choose to live with a mind full of regret or a heart full of love? Perhaps these are the only questions I need ever ask.
I have held up the memory of that brilliant light so many times. I am not sure how, but somehow, I stumbled upon an overwhelming brilliance that exists upon a plane just above me. It is a place in which I am sure I belong; it is where I have come from, a place my Soul knows is home. It is an extraordinary place, built of light; it is stronger, more substantial, and more beautiful that any worldly plane. The inner light is not just a concept or a metaphor. It exists in a place far more real than this life of earth and air. It is so close. If only I could find the capacity in myself to return to it without being startled! If only I could focus and maintain the purest part of myself within it and learn, yet I seem unable to return, and even now, the memory is fading.
I understand why the reasoning mind might deem what I have experienced improbable, so strong is their need to measure rather than accept my experience, but to be flooded with the piercing flash of that immense reality has lifted me into a certainty of the profound. I have glimpsed some true part of my Soul, the essence of who I am, a beauty within that transcends the confines and conflicts of the world. Now I understand that another life is just within reach and that it is possible for its light to flow through me.
Why have I not grasped until this moment that the unseen moves through everything? The leaf flutters on its branch and the ocean laps upon the shore because the unseen compels it to do so. There is life within life, even if it is transparent to me. Now it makes sense: an immense Light holds this whole, marvelous life together.
There is a definite process to the imagination. To imagine, I must first let go of the outer world, refocus within, and become aware. Then, once settled, I may throw light upon the canvas of my mind. For example, before making myself a hot drink, I easily play out the steps involved. I must get up, heat the water, and take out a cup. I can imagine the whole scene before twitching even a muscle. All the necessary details come into view rapidly in the form of little pictures, like so many stepping-stones of thought leading to the result I desire. All of this happens in my head. Then, I simply get up and perform what I have imagined.
Many things in the world are created in this way: paintings, bridges, and symphonies. The teacup in front of me was surely held privately in someone’s mind before it was molded from clay, glazed, and fired in a kiln. Everything in my home was planned in a similar manner, beginning with an idea of form and function and carefully adjusted in the mind before becoming solid in the world. I imagine a word, and then I say the word; I imagine a house, and then I build that house.
But what of the natural world? Does it follow the same process? The words on this paper have come directly from my imagining mind, but what of a flower, a sparrow, or the sun? Were these things held in Your Mind before they came into being? Surely, a tree cannot exist without a designer any more than can a building: both are built with precision, one with cells and the other with bricks. Why should I assume that my process is special and separate from the workings of the rest of creation? If I see this process working in me and I am an intelligent part of the universe, then why should I not assume that everything else in the universe has been brought into being in a similar way, by the will of a mind?
Was I created in Your imagination, and did You create a creator? Is it too bold to suggest that the power in me to create is in some small way similar to the power You use to create? If so, I wonder if I am what and who You intended me to be. How far have I distanced myself from Your original idea of me, the ideal that You still hold in Your Mind? Perhaps this question is at the root of what I am trying to understand: Who am I and who should I become?
I am the Angel Elyce, Benjamin’s guardian angel. I am pledged to him for all time. I was with him on his first day on Earth, and I shall be with him on his last, for I remain at his side in every moment of life, sharing in his light and in the very breath of his Soul, ever loving and strong in my longing for his wise innocence. I have witnessed his every fault and every dream, his every fall and every kindness. Through all the struggles and temptations of his life, I have held his hand, for it is my calling to watch over him and offer the way forward… The beacon of Love is calling out to this man and waits to accept that which yearns for the breath of silent, holy light.