Whale song

There are times when life circumstances make us feel there is simply no available solution and a good way forward is just not visible. But a recent experience offered an encouraging analogy.

I was walking along the beach and decided to have a quick swim. As I dove under the waves into deeper water, I realized I was hearing something loud—a whale song! I was immersed in the songs of countless whales. While I’d been walking along the shore, the migrating whales had still been there singing, but I’d had no notion of that at all until I’d dived down beneath the surface and listened.

It made me think. I realized that prayer has a similar effect. When things are challenging in one’s family, at work, with getting the bills paid, with what’s on the news, or whatever the difficulty may be, prayer is a way to go deeper and see and hear spiritual solutions that are simply not recognizable by staying on the material surface.

How is it possible to see solutions not previously visible, or to feel calm when the storm is raging?

Christ Jesus demonstrated for all of us a prayer-based approach to looking and listening beyond the waves. When Jesus and his disciples were on a ship being rocked by a storm, he commanded, “Peace, be still,” and the tumult ceased (Mark 4:39). He understood that God, divine Love, was there with them, even in the midst of that storm, and Jesus’ prayer made visible to all the calm that was actually present.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Elisha glimpsed something of this too when his servant discovered that the city was surrounded by those who were there to take him captive. Elisha assured him, with the clarity of spiritual understanding, “They that be with us are more than they that be with them” (II Kings 6:16). Then the servant, too, discerned the legions of protecting angels surrounding them.

How do we do that—how is it possible to see solutions not previously visible, or to feel calm when the storm is raging? The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 129). A starting point is prayer in which we wait on God—quiet our thinking, affirm the presence and power of the Divine, invite God into the conversation, and then listen. And from there, we’re open to hearing the “song” of divine Science that empowers us to think from an entirely different basis than what the material surface shows.

This basis is the truth of God’s care for each one of us as His children, entirely spiritual, reflecting God’s infinite goodness. As we begin to grasp and reason out from this spiritual reality, it has healing effect.

At one point in a relationship I was feeling very discouraged by the amount of effort I was putting in and my perceived lack of what I was getting back in return. Not getting anywhere constructive from that place in thought, I recognized the need to look more deeply and to pray. My prayer was simple: “Show me, God, what I need to understand.”

The answer was immediate: “Is there not enough good in your life?” I realized that I’d been focusing on what I felt was missing. But spiritually, we have all we need already, because our true nature is inseparable from God. It felt as though God was saying, “The whales are singing—get under the waves and listen.”

Being willing to reason out from what God, divine Mind, is revealing enables us to see the potential solutions at hand.

With that reminder I was able to move forward and give more freely, which benefited my interactions with others.

Being willing to prayerfully challenge our own assumptions and to reason out from what God, divine Mind, is revealing to us about ourselves and the situation enables us to see the potential solutions at hand. Mrs. Eddy spoke to this kind of discernment in thought when she wrote, “The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind” (Science and Health, p. 162).

Whether it’s a personal situation or a world situation, even if there is no immediately recognizable way forward, we have the God-given ability to look deeply, to listen below the surface noise, and to hear the spiritual answers singing out to us.

Originally published in The Christian Science Monitor’s Christian Science Perspective column, May 26, 2022.

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