Be a Passenger on the Boat
by Vernon Howard
As long as you picture yourself as a pilot instead of as a passenger, you must by the nature of things, run into storms. The solution is astonishingly simple: all you have to do is be willing to give up your place at the helm.
You are not the captain of your life. That’s the problem, you want to be. You must lose your identity as captain of the boat. Drop what you call your own strength.
Make a spiritual experiment. Try to do without trying to hold your life in place. Only when you’re seated at a distance from the wheel do you really know something from your spirit: that there is some force, power, besides you. You thought that you were all alone in that vast ocean called the universe. You would have vowed that you had to be in charge of that boat. This is the stage of very low inward development in which you actually believe that you are all there is.
When you’re seated over on the nice resting place where something else is in charge, only then will you know that there is a God. When you’re a passenger watching that mysterious invisible force take the wheel and guide it past the rocks and thru the storms easily, you know from yourself that there is a power. You can call it God if you want; you can call it Higher Force; you know absolutely that it cares for you. No one can care for you except God.
But we have lapses. You fall asleep, and desperation overtakes you and you go right back to where you were before – you grab the wheel and you trust yourself more than you trust God.
Give up! I assure you that the creator of this universe knows what he is doing with your life. If you still take care of yourself, then God can’t do it! You must not try to take care of your own life. When the spirit of truth is guiding your life, you’ll see the steering wheel – the helm – go back and forth of itself. When you don’t do anything about guiding the boat – no rocks, no storms. Hear the voice that tells you just one thing: go over there and sit down.
If you stay there and stay away from the wheel, what will come to you is a heavenly spiritual enlightenment. You’ll see that you’re in the right place because the boat ceases to crack up. You’ll see how you looked forward to the next crash on the rocks; how in love you were with blasting hot fiery feelings.
Most human beings, when they get in trouble, cling even more tightly to the wheel, which guarantees a heavier crash. You have to do the exact opposite of what you have been doing. Instead of clutching the wheel, just open your hands. This is called full terror. It’s marvelous, and the beginning. Now with empty hands you walk towards the resting place. And from there forevermore, the voyage will be smooth.