The Narrow Gate

We live in a society that places a high value on “keeping our options open.” The risk of missing something just seems too great. Yet, eventually, we do have to narrow our choices. This is one lesson of the pandemic when all of us experienced limited choices. In Matthew 7:13 we are told that Jesus said, “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.”  I love this passage, but I also struggle with it. I believe in God’s world there is room for all and that we will all find the way.  Yet, I also realize we must be willing to be guided, and our notion that we can do what we want with no consequence is not a reliable compass. 

This morning I came across this passage that helps me understand the narrow gate a little more:  

“In meditation practice, we neither hold the mind very tightly nor let it go completely. If we try to control the mind, then its energy will rebound back on us. If we let the mind go completely, then it will become very wild and chaotic. So we let the mind go, but at the same time there is some discipline involved. The techniques used in the Buddhist tradition are extremely simple. Awareness of bodily movement, breath and one’s physical situation are techniques common to all traditions. The basic practice is to be present, right here. The goal is also the technique. Precisely being in this moment, neither suppressing nor wildly letting go, but being precisely aware of what you are.  Breath, like bodily existence, is a neutral process which has no “spiritual” connotations. We simply become mindful of its natural functioning. This is called shamatha practice. With this practice we begin to tread the hinayana or narrow path. This is not to say that the hinayana approach is simplistic or narrow minded. Rather, because the mind is so complicated, so exotic, craving all sorts of entertainment constantly, the only way to deal with it is to channel it into a disciplined path without sidetracks.” *

In Christian meditation, our intent is to sit with the Christ within.  Therefore, we can trust the destination and the narrow gate that we must continually move through.  Truly they are one and they are beautiful.  This morning I meditated with a mockingbird who is still reciting his whole repertoire.  I cannot control him, but I can practice letting him be.  If I can let him be, then I can let myself simply be as well. If I can simply be, I can be peace in this world. We must not fear discipline, but allow ourselves to be embraced by it. Discipline is not punishment, it is our gateway to God.    

 *Chogyam Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, pages 2-3.  

If you would like to join us for worship, Sundays at 1:30, or Christian Meditation on Wedneday evenings at 7:30, please call the office or send an email to sayarbrough@gmail. com.

Blessings on your journey,

Pastor Sue Ann

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