When You Feel Like Darkness Has You Bound


I love watching the path my mind takes when I am determining what song to use for the Song Lyric Sunday challenge. I start by thinking about what songs would address the theme for the week, but I often don’t end up there.

This week the theme was protest songs. The song I used for my second week of doing this challenge was We Shall Overcome so I considered some of the 60’s protest songs. But then my mind went a different direction. I thought about two of the Blues songs my son Sreejit wrote some years back. I listened to them both, but as I was considering them, another song came to mind.

My daughter Chaitanya and my son Sreejit live at Amma’s Amritapuri ashram in Kerala, India. People for all religions come to Amma, and all religions are respected. For the last seven or eight years my son and daughter have been very instrumental in creating the Christmas play that is performed on Christmas Eve each year. Chaitanya writes and directs the plays and Sreejit and his friends compose most of the tunes. The plays are in the style of Broadway musicals.

The particular play that came to my mind was performed in 2012 and was titled God is Able. The setting was a Southern style Gospel church. Sreejit was the preacher! The story line covered the stories of Moses leading the Jews to the promised land, Rachael being healed by touching Jesus’ garment, and a fictional account of the heart of an angry store keeper being healed. I never will forget the moment in the play when the stage doors opened and our sparkling “Gospel Choir” became visible. It seemed like everyone in the auditorium did a collective gasp. Part of the reason I remember the gasp and the thunderous applause and shouts that followed our song so well is that I was part of the choir!!!


The song I have chosen is Dear God. The tune was written by Sreejit and the lyrics by Chaitanya.  It is not a protest song but it is a song that is very relevant to times of darkness which is often what proceeds protest.

The mp3 recording and the lyrics are below.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I still do!

When you feel like darkness has you bound
And you can’t see any way to get out
There’s a power which surrounds us all
Through God anything is possible

Never fear
Never let your doubts draw near
With courage face all that comes
Put your trust into God’s arms
He’ll protect you from all harm
His love will carry you on through

Dear God, hold us tight never let us leave thy sight
Dear God, fill our soul with your love make us whole

Sreejit singing above the choir:

God is able to calm the wild storm
God is able to make the weak strong
God is able to bring change within
God is able to do all things

Heed the Warnings

Photo Source: Wikimedia


Many years ago, I heard a minister say that the voice of God is most often the first voice we hear inside. What usually follows is a flood of discounting messages telling us why God’s message will not work, “You can’t do that,” “That’s wrong,” “It will never work,” “Do this instead.”  He said that the quiet voice of God may make another attempt or two, but if we continue to ignore it, the “voice” will eventually fade.

People have many ways of conceptualizing this voice.  For some it is God.  Others call it intuition, inner voice, higher self, Spirit, or The Divine.  In this post I will refer to it as inner voice.

I have experienced that process many times in my life, but never as frequently as during a week in 1995.  It began when I was attending one of Amma’s programs in Calicut, India.  At that time, I was staying with other ashramites, i.e. devotees from Amma’s main ashram in Amritapuri, on the roof of her Calicut temple.

There were places on the roof where mounds of rough concrete rose two to three inches above the surface.  Several times, when I passed a particular mound, my inner voice said, “Be careful, that concrete is dangerous.”  My response was, “I see it. I AM being careful.”  I would then continue blithely on my way.  One day, as I was walking to my sleeping mat, not paying a bit of conscious attention to what I was doing, I tripped over that mound of concrete and tore a big piece of flesh from the top of my toe.

The injury was very painful but that was the least of my concerns.  Having an open foot wound in India seemed very dangerous to me.   In those days, I generally walked barefoot and I had no doubt that the ground was filled with untold numbers and varieties of bacteria.  My nursing background told me that the extreme heat and high humidity created a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria. I cleaned the wound as best I could and went on with my life. I found I needed to stay very conscious of my surroundings because any time I would lose concentration I would hit my toe on something, sending waves of pain coursing through my body.

I apparently hadn’t learned what I was meant to learn though.  Over and over that week, my inner voice “warned” me of potential problems and I repeatedly discounted those warnings.  The second instance occurred when my daughter Chaitanya, a friend and I took a taxi to the Singapore Airlines office in downtown Calicut.  We drove in circles for an hour, unable to find the office.  Once there, we discovered we needed to go to the Indian Air office before we could make the necessary changes with Singapore Airlines.  As we left the Singapore Airlines office my inner voice said, “Make sure you write down the address so you can get back here.”  I responded, “That is not necessary, the next taxi driver will know the way.”  Later, when we left the Indian Air office, we spent another frustrating hour searching for the Singapore Airlines office.

Soon thereafter, I needed to relay an important message to a person at Amma’s Amritapuri ashram. I arranged to send it with a friend who was returning to the ashram sooner than the rest of us. The night before my friend’s departure, my inner voice said, “Write the note and give it to her NOW.”  I answered, “No, that is not necessary.  She will not be leaving until tomorrow afternoon.”  When I awakened the next morning, I discovered my friend had abruptly changed her plans, taking off for the ashram at daybreak.

As we cleaned our living area, the morning after the program’s end, I noticed a piece of paper on the floor beside my sleeping mat.  My inner voice said, “That looks like a train ticket.”  I answered, “MY ticket is in my wallet.”  When we arrived at the train station a few hours later, I discovered that our tickets were missing.

My series of misfortunes did not end there.  Chaitanya was scheduled to leave India two days after our return from Calicut.  A friend cautioned me to pack her most important items in her carry-on luggage.  I inwardly responded, “Everything is already packed and I do not want to start over.  That is unnecessary.”  After driving the three hours from the ashram to the airport, we discovered we had left my daughter’s suitcase sitting in our room at the ashram.  That suitcase contained everything she needed for the school report that was due upon her return to the United States.  There was no way to retrieve the suitcase before her plane departed.  When I reflected on that event, I remembered that God’s messages may also be relayed through another person, such as in this incident with the suitcase.

As I began to ponder my behavior, I realized that after years of being so intensely focused on my spiritual path,  I had developed a rather cocky attitude about my ability to hear and respond to that inner voice.  I was shocked to see the reality of the situation.  Over and over again, I had been warned of an impending problem and had discounted, ignored, and contradicted the warnings.  I was awed by how much pain I could have saved myself if I had listened to each instruction.   I was thankful for the powerful display of this particular spiritual pitfall and vowed to be much more conscious and conscientious in the future.

I believe that I am much more likely to pay attention to that quiet voice now than I did back then, but I still find myself discounting or ignoring warnings.  This will probably be one of those lessons that will last a lifetime.


What experiences have you had in ignoring your inner voice?



Dungeon Prompts: What is Your Concept of God?

Sreejit started his third season of Dungeon Prompts with quite a challenge! He wrote:

There are so many different concepts of what God is that we are forced to philosophically dissect and explain our own notion of the word before we can even talk about it.  Often the westerner is not conceptualizing the easterner’s view and vice versa and though one may be devout and faithful in their own religion they would be considered crazy by another’s standards.  So what is your concept of God and what is His/Her/Its impact on or necessity in your life.

My beliefs about God have changed numerous times in my life. During childhood and into my college years, I was involved in the Christian church in various forms. My mother’s church was very liberal, but during the 10th grade I went to a Billy Graham crusade in Hawaii and became “born again.” During those years when I considered God, I probably thought of his love and also of the need for me to be free from sin. Continue reading “Dungeon Prompts: What is Your Concept of God?”

Quote of the Week: Hafiz

Manic Screaming

We should make all spiritual talk
Simple today:

God is trying to sell you something,
But you don’t want to buy.

That is what your suffering is:
Your fantastic haggling,
Your manic screaming over the price!


Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muhammad Hāfez-e Shīrāzī (also known as Hafiz, was a fourteenth century Persian poet.


Poem from I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky


Tears of the Prophets

I read this poem for the first time today. It really spoke to me. In these days of war and unrest I think God cries for all of his/her children, regardless of nationality, religion, race or any of the other ways we subdivide ourselves and create a sense of otherness. Thank you for writing and posting the poem Paul.

Poesy plus Polemics

(Originally posted here April 2013)

Illustration from bongoisme.com Illustration from bongoisme.com

Jerusalem shudders
Her ancient stones bleed
From perpetual combat
Among three great creeds
Whose branches give forth
Each a different hued fruit
Yet all stem precisely
From one selfsame root

Abraham cries against hatred
Christ cries for wars still begun
Mohammed cries at injustice
My God cries for all three His sons

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