Every one of us has lived through tough times, unsettled, unfinished, uncomfortable, unwanted. We share a universal kind of pain when our beloved is ill, our loved one dies, our belongings are stolen, or our friend is injured in an accident. We all can relate to a host of feelings when we fail the qualifying test, hear that our friend has early stage Alzheimer’s Disease, drain our savings for a high-priced emergency purchase, learn that someone we care about has been mugged. We all know the angst of worry for our families’ wellbeing and the struggle to hold on when times are tough. When physical and mental efforts fail, when we feel most weak, we feel in greatest need of our innate spiritual strength. Strength is our capacity for stability, courage, and tenacity.
Engraved on a stone in a prayer garden at Unity Village, Lowell Fillmore’s poem The Answer describes the dawning of spiritual strength:
When for a purpose
I had prayed and prayed and prayed
Until my words seemed worn and bare
With arduous use ,
And I had knocked and asked and
knocked and asked again ,
And all my fervor and persistence
brought no hope ,
I paused to give my weary brain a rest
And ceased my anxious human cry .
in that still moment ,
After self had tried and failed ,
There came a glorious vision of
God's power ,
And , lo , my prayer was answered in
that hour .
~ Lowell Fillmore
An excerpt from The Serenity Prayer, recited at Twelve Steps meetings worldwide, is a call to spiritual strength.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Turning to GOD, the power greater and wider than personal power, has been the way of humans through the ages. Turning within— “to the within of us” said the late Unity leader Eric Butterworth— we discover we are more able than we knew to hold steady during times of turmoil; or to stand up and face our fears; or to endure longstanding strain. We absolutely can insist on stabilizing our mental faculties in the present moment, proceeding moment by moment to do what we must while taming the hysterical “little lizard” (the most ancient part of the brain, the brain stem) scared for survival and safety. We have all the courage we could possibly need, inherent in our divine human nature. We can cultivate our capacity to be stable, courageous, and tenacious as we remember that the Source of Strength lies within.