Excerpt from Chapter 9 – page 190-192 Finding Heaven In The Dark – (An Invitation To Openness)Published December 31, 2018
Roy Masters “Be Still and Know” Meditation taught the author the lessons of patience and forgiveness. [Finding Heaven In The Dark – A Memoir]
As far as anyone could tell, I was a young black man who had answered a call to serve Christ, by feeding and ministering to the lost sheep of LA’s skid row. I was content with this image for the time being. I was eager to change. I was learning to evolve and become
better. It began with change. There was a deep mystery within the universe of my mind that I wanted to understand.
Old Bill perceived that there was a change in my attitude toward him. I forgave him by letting go of my resentment. I stopped playing the game, because I could see that we were both acting out of compulsions
that fed our darker natures. Through my growing patience and insight (attributed to my meditation exercises), I grasped how helpless I was before my most powerful emotions. I couldn’t hate Old Bill, because I understood that he was a prisoner of the same weakness!
I had little to do with the changes that occurred in me, except in my attempts to “be still and know.” I had faith that God was at work in my life, because I was letting things go that I used to justify for my private little angers.
I was sharing the patience of God. As He had waited for me to seek His purpose, I was humbled. This humility allowed God’s patience to flow through me and touch the lives of others. The power of patience was incredible. Patience blessed me with insight that was far beyond my nineteen years of age. Patience impacted my life in such a positive way that I knew I would never be the same again—and that was a good thing.
Old Bill was confounded by my modified behavior. I acceded my resentment of his stares, my desire to put him in his place, and the storm clouds of anger forming in my mind. Let it go! I refused to indulge myself with judging him, right there, in the heat of battle.
I sought to center myself in the present moment. “Dear God, help me to be still and realize his hatred, without hating him back.” If I hate the hater, I become an extension of that hate and diminished by it.
I wasn’t always successful, but each confrontation throughout the day, when he tried to get my goat, there was less of a goat to get. I watched him play friend or foe in an attempt to lock me into playing the judgment game. I was learning to love Old Bill when I didn’t respond to his anger with anger. This act was the forgiveness factor of the divine mathematics of God. One from two, leaves one—alone. Who he was spoke louder than what he said. Therefore, Old Bill’s weak attempts to pretend to respect me were exposed by my unemotional responses.
I was learning to deal with each day’s problems. I was still frustrated at my frustration and angry at my anger. I covered my feeling with Christian behavior. However, there was a difference now, because I discerned what was happening inside me. Then, I repented. Repentance is a willing step in the process of eliminating our self-conceit and self-will. It is voluntary suffering; we feel our selfish ego die. I was discovering how to surrender my will to God.
I discerned the conflict between my conscience and my former self. During meditation, I recited the Lord’s Prayer. I grasped that I must “be still and know” the lessons, before my lies and excuses were unpeeled like layers of an onion. As we encounter the riddle of ourselves, we are brought to repentance repeatedly. Baptized with tears of repentance, I prayed for the real Jesus, not just the idea of him, to come into my life as my Savior.
I stopped judging myself. Whenever thoughts of judgment about my weight entered my mind, I had to be still and watch. Sometimes I failed miserably, as I watched the demon of self-loathing torment me. Directly, I broke down and consoled myself with food. With my youthful passions and imagination, the task of staying aware and patient during times of stress was a challenge. My faith kept me committed to the process.
When Old Bill left the mission, he may have seen this action as his final strike against me. Before I began to understand our conflicted personalities, I avoided direct contact with him. I released my part in our destructive relationship, and this freedom mirrored being released from bondage. This man was in pain, and my emotions were the “drug” he came to depend on to ease his pain. I refused to play any more by not hating him back. I tried to reach out to him, explain our compulsions, and apologize for my part. Old Bill sidestepped my forgiving attitude. One morning he was gone. He had moved on, as
Emil had, under cover of darkness.