The Still, Small Voice Within

In the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area where I grew up as a teenager, there was an AM radio station, WIBG, which shouted that it "broadcast at 50,000 watts of POWER!" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its signal projected far beyond the Philadelphia region.

In contrast, there was also a local college radio station broadcasting at a mere 5,000 watts of power. Similarly, it was on all day and every year, yet its signal could scarcely be heard beyond the edge of the campus.

I don't know much about watts and broadcast power, but I see an analogy between the loud voice of the busy physical world with all its pressures for joys, successes, confusions and difficulties and that of radio station WIBG. The world as well as the physical strength we have when we are young constantly grab our attention. Their power is strong. They're in the forefront, and they like it that way.

The voice of the spirit within is like that of the college radio station. Both are constantly ON, yet it's easy for the still, small voice of the spirit to be overpowered. In order to hear it, one must pay attention, quieting the mind, which tends to jump around like a monkey from branch to branch, or radio signal to radio signal.

One of the unexpected gifts, then, of aging or even illness is the lessening of that "50,000 watts of power" which the world has over us. As that signal dwindles, we can increasingly pay attention to the still, small voice within, forever broadcasting at its 5,000 watts of truth about our timeless, authentic, spiritutal nature. This is the message of meditation. In meditation, in quiet prayer we tune out the distractions, letting go of whatever gets in the way of a bigger reality of which we are part. We are a part OF it, not apart FROM it, in the same way that the drop is in the ocean and the ocean is in the drop. The illusion of separation falls away.

It is the way of the world sometimes to cling to what we are losing as we grow older or weaker. A poet urged us "not to go gentle into that good night, but to rage, rage at the dying of the light," and many people do. It is well to apply strength and courage to living fully. But is also well to recognize that a recompense for the encroaching limits of mortality is the capacity to LISTEN to that within which was never born and which never dies, which transforms endlessly, neither created nor destroyed -- the 5,000 watts of power of Spirit within each of us.