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  • Writer's pictureCeleste Boudreaux

Cast Out into the Deep

Updated: May 2

Listen to the quiet voice:

Cast out into the deep...

deep...

DEEP...


Leave your striving on the surface

hurry and stress

worry and drivenness

flurry and noise

circular trying and trying

pushing to exhaustion


Let go, give up

abandon that mad hope

Sink into the deep

like one almost drowned

surrendering to a slow and silent descent

entering a world apart

alone with your truest self

and the One who calls you thither


Ah.

Now in the stillness

emptiness begins to stir with life

the deepest treasure

the truest, purest, most precious fruits

that have been growing slowly, deeply, silently

all these years

through this troubled life


Now.

Now spread out your net

rise slowly to the surface to share your riches

with a gaunt world that seldom tastes

a deeper nourishment


by Celeste Boudreaux, September 2015



 

When I was a kid, we spent our summers at a lake house, and every day we would go to the roped-off swimming area to swim. There was a little beach there and a floating raft from which we could do cannonballs into the water. It got scorchingly hot there in southeast Texas -- so hot that the sand could literally burn the bottoms of our bare feet -- so swimming was a welcome relief.


One of the things I liked to do was to sit in a cross-legged position in the water, take a deep breath, then let myself sink in the water. I would let out my breath slowly, watching the bubbles rise up to the surface as my body lost its buoyancy and descended more and more. The deeper you went towards the muddy lake bottom, the cooler and darker and quieter everything became. All the drama and hubbub of children dunking and pushing each other, shouting for Mom to watch them, the splashes and car horns, receded until I was in a world all by myself.


When I started practicing centering prayer, an ancient Christian practice of silent prayer, this was the image that came back to me. I would just let myself sink away from the commotion of the surface world. When I would have the inevitable distracting thought, I would just release it to rise like a bubble away from me.


The poem, "Cast Out into the Deep,"



was inspired by the story from Luke 5:4-11 when Jesus said to Simon Peter: "Cast out into the deep and let down your nets." Even though they had been fishing all night without catching a thing, when they were invited to try do so again by Jesus, they brought up such an abundance that it was more than they could even handle. This has been my experience with the practice of centering prayer. It may not have happened all at once or the first time I tried, but it has a cumulative effect when practiced regularly. It's an effect of deeper peace and equanimity, perspective, connection to purpose, and creativity. It truly yields a bountiful catch.

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