Turn off the turmoil, turn on the music

Screeching, clacking trains, auto horns blaring in a discordant symphony of rush-hour traffic: an urban environment in the late twentieth century. If you taped the sound and put it into a time capsule, would it bring back similar feelings a century from now on a hot, summer afternoon in 2091? You wonder as you wait with some other wilted-looking commuters, wishing for a modicum of peace that seems impossible here. Then, close by, you hear children laughing. Others hear it too, and within moments, the deadened atmosphere changes. Something disarming, innocent, and pure has penetrated that wall of noise, the dehumanizing and dullness. The same people who seemed burdened are suddenly smiling and chatting.

Just a small event. Yet in it, one feels, is a hint of what is possible to have more consistently. In our better moments, aren't we aware of spiritual intuition telling us we need more of that "something" we occasionally glimpse—a greater measure of transcendent harmony and goodness which is more native to us than the turmoil we too often feel? What is this "something"? And how does it break through what appears as the spiritless grind of a material universe?

The Bible tells of Elijah, the prophet, who fled into the wilderness. His life had been threatened. Feeling discouraged and outnumbered, he was hiding in a cave to escape a harsh world where the spiritual values he loved seemed overwhelmed. Apparently, this particular wilderness wasn't much quieter than some of our urban atmospheres! Earthquake, wind, and fire greeted him there. But then, we're told, Elijah heard something that brought a new perspective. The words he found to describe it: "a still small voice." He recognized this as God's voice speaking to him clearly and perceptibly—despite all the cacophony, and it changed not only his own life but ultimately the course of thousands of other lives.

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Toward more than a good performance
August 26, 1991

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