The Rock Island Prayer Group heard about a teacher who mystified his students with his insight. The ladies and gentlemen were all curious and and invited him to come to their January prayer meeting.
After introductions the humble teacher told those in attendance that they must strive to be free from their own negative reactions to the events of daily life. They must adopt an attitude of reverence and make it a habit. And they must do more than they are doing now in their regular practice of reflection and prayer.
The object, he explained is to accept that God is omnipresent, all knowing, and the entire sense of being.
“In the end you must come to this realization not only in your prayer sessions, but in daily life. The whole process is like filling a sieve with water.”
He thanked them and left.
The group members saw him off and Les James was the first to react…negatively as it turns out.
“What a sham! That guy flat out told us it’s impossible – like filling a sieve with water. What a phony.”
Marg Nelson spoke up. “I get the reference, that’s what happens now. I go hear a sermon, or I pray, or I read the Bible, and I feel uplifted, proud of myself, grateful. But like filling a sieve with water, I’m soon empty.”
Jennifer Liu agreed with Marg. “After prayer group I am inspired to do more good. To be a little kinder, to help someone. I’m actually a better person after prayer, but it doesn’t last. Like bathing, I get dirty and I have to do it every day. Maybe that’s the connection, showering and all the water goes down the drain.”
There was more discussion about the unusual teaching and they could find no satisfying explanation. The group went ahead as before and soon forgot about the January prayer meeting guest speaker.
Except for Kevin Glass. He couldn’t get the teaching out of his mind. Kevin called the teacher and asked for a private lesson on filling a sieve with water. The good teacher agreed and asked Kevin to meet him on Tuesday at the beach on the corner of Greenleaf and Sheridan road.
It was late March by now and still quite cold, but Kevin agreed. Strange he thought. Mysterious.
Everyone else from the prayer group tried to solve the teaching like a puzzle. When that didn’t work they quickly gave up. Kevin tried praying through it, looking at it theologically, he tried feeling it to his soul. Still, he had no clue as to the teacher’s parting comment about the water and the sieve.
He walked on the beach that cold March day, waiting for the teacher to arrive.
Right on time. Kevin thought as he saw the wise man approaching. In the teacher’s right hand was a sieve. A medium sized metal kitchen colander actually. The type you would use to drain your spaghetti. His left hand was clutching an over-sized coffee mug by its handle.
Standing on the shoreline the teacher turned over his props to Kevin and said, “Fill the sieve with water.”
Kevin bent down, held the colander in his left hand, dipped the coffee mug into the water and hesitantly poured from the mug to the colander – half expecting a magic trick. But no. The water swiftly drained from the many holes and was gone.
“All that’s left is a slick spot where the water once covered the holes and just as quickly the water left the colander…I mean sieve.”
His teacher smiled.”It’s like that with your spiritual practice. When you measure out a set amount of prayer to pour and you receive it with holes instead of holiness – your soul remains empty.”
And next, the teacher did something startling. He took the colander sieve, wound up like a major league ball player and pitched the “hole-y vessel” into the lake where it briefly floated for a minute. Then it sank. It became a “holy vessel” filled with holy water.
“To be filled with God requires total immersion.” The teacher explained. “It’s a quick fix to take a little bit of prayer, or a minute or two of reflection. But when you live with the Oneness of God sloshing around in your spiritual fluids – it is eternally divine.”
Kevin took a deep breath and thought about it. Brilliant. Next step: Jump in to prayer with both feet. And that’s exactly what he did. He no longer worried about getting to church on time or remembering a specific prayer request. Instead he trained himself to always bring his focus back to God. To pray without ceasing. To let an exemplary life be his prayer.
The next time the Rock Island prayer group met, it was Kevin who was the speaker. He spoke of his personal spiritual awakening and even brought in his own props to demonstrate the concept of filling the sieve. He gained a few disciples and together they continue to grow in holiness.
What about you? Is there a hole-y part of your heart that yearns to be holy? Live as if you are divine and you will be filled with divinity.
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