“BESIDE STILL WATERS: A Metaphysical Interpretation of Psalm 23”
Nancy B. Detweiler, M.Ed., M.Div.
We are living in a very intense period in our human evolution, during which vast changes are taking place within ourselves and on our planet. We may feel agitated or disoriented and not know why. We may experience the constant pressure of time, as we have heretofore known it, steadily increasing. Surely, a week is now only three days in length!
On the other hand, while we may be confused, we are also noticing the growing frequency of synchronistic events taking place in our lives. We wish for something and it appears on our doorstep. Traumatic upheavals occur only to dissipate with little or no effort on our part. We are left feeling as if something threw us into the air and then, caught us with no harm done. Life seems inexplicable. Even though it is not yet obvious to the average individual, the whole of humanity is moving into a greater awareness of Truth. Meanwhile, how can we best cope with the intensity of daily living and the feeling that we are riding a roller coaster through life?
For thousands of years, people have sought comfort in Psalm 23. Within the six verses of this familiar Psalm, universal Truth is revealed. Meditating upon this Psalm can propel us forward in our efforts to leave behind error thoughts and claim Truth as the foundation of our lives. Truth is Universal Law. They are one and the same. Let’s look at the universal laws revealed in Psalm 23.
“The Lord is my shepherd.” The Hebrew word translated Lord also means Law—the universal Laws by which all of creation operates. Universal law requires the Sun to make an appearance each morning. Clouds may block our view of the Sun, but its ever-present warmth still protects our planet. Likewise, throughout the events in our lives, universal law requires that all things work together for our good. Like a shepherd gathering his lost sheep, universal law directs us home to the realization of our oneness with Mother/Father God. We are never left alone to find our way home the best way we can.
Sheep are utterly dependent upon the shepherd: if one gets lost, it is unable to find its way back home. However, the shepherd knows when even one sheep is lost and will search until he finds it. A shepherd must constantly seek food for the sheep and often, a cave for shelter at night. Sheep recognize the sound of the shepherd’s voice and willingly follow him. We, humans, are just as dependent upon universal law unfolding in our lives. The problem is: we have gotten lost. That’s what the planetary changes now taking place are all about—humanity is once more becoming aware of its Shepherd or universal law.
So what are the characteristics of life when "the Law (Lord) is our Shepherd?"
First, “I shall not want.” According to universal law, there is no lack. The only reason we experience lack is that we have based our lives on non-truth. We have not recognized the voice of our Shepherd calling to us. Instead, we buy into the world’s proclamations of a collapsed economy and depressed stock market. We, however, always have the option of making the conscious choice to listen to and follow universal law. As we do so, the Law “makes me lie down in green pastures.” The law does not require that we till the ground, plant the grass seed, and water it until the pasture is green. We have the privilege of lying down in green pastures because they already exist. Toiling for our food and clothes has never been in compliance with universal law. We do so because we are blinded to the fact that all we need is already present in our lives. A green pasture in Palestine is a beautiful oasis in the midst of barren, rocky soil.
“He leads me beside still waters.” Universal law would have us walk leisurely along the shores of a tranquil lake, allowing the stillness to “restore our soul.” Jesus, our Way Shower, taught us: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.... Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:25, 33) Does this mean that universal law states we can live a life of leisure?
Yes and no. Yes, universal law states that we are one with all that is ... meaning we are one with all the food, drink, and clothing we need ... it is already ours. No, living in the true knowledge of who we are as children of God, we each have a role to play within the divine plan. But, that role is not labor; it is, rather, a joyous expression of the unique manner in which God wishes to manifest through each of us. We walk beside still waters and restore our soul as we live in attunement with our soul and its desires, worrying not over what we will eat, drink, or wear.
“He leads me in right paths for His name’s sake.” Integrating universal law into our lifestyles will lead us along the path that is right for us. Names carry the vibrations of individual identity, the vocation assigned, and the recognition of our presence within the universal whole. As we allow knowledge of universal law to lead us, we come to know that the right path is the path that allows God to express uniquely through us. We are lead by universal law along the right path for His name’s sake: in other words, in recognition of the unique identity, vocation, and quality of presence God is seeking to express through us. As we learn to live our lives in ways that are authentic to who we are, as opposed to what the world expects of us, we are increasingly led along right paths for His name’s sake.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil: for you are with me.” Universal law states that God is everywhere present, even during our darkest moments. As long as we keep our attention on God’s presence with us, we need not fear evil, or error thoughts. It is when we are fearful that error thoughts assault us, screaming: “you are sick” ... “you will never find another job” ... or “you will be alone for the rest of your life.” Knowing that God’s loving presence permeates every fiber of our being, we can walk through our dark valleys and behold them for what they truly are-- avenues leading us more completely into the light. Universal law states: perfect health is yours ... the perfect job is yours ... the perfect mate is yours. We must, however, remember that perfect means perfect in the eyes of the soul. What is perfect for us is whatever it takes to move our soul forward on our spiritual journey back home.
“Your rod and your staff—they comfort me.” The rod and staff are ancient symbols of authority or kingship. Metaphysically, they signify the power of focusing on the God within us while knowing that with God all things are possible. Universal law would comfort us with the knowledge that we possess the inner power and authority to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, a Way Shower. We can do all the things that he did and more. We, as children of God, possess the inner power and authority to transform valleys that appear dark and frightening into passageways that lead us beside the still waters. When the waves threatened to sink the boat in which Jesus and his disciples were riding, Jesus knew he had the inner power and authority to calm the water and wind. We can do the same by concentrating on our indwelling God and allowing that same power and authority to manifest in our lives. We speak of our own divinity when we affirm: “your rod and staff—they comfort me.”
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” While we live our lives in a world of turmoil and change, universal law prepares a feast for us ... a feast of love, abundance, and joy. Who are our enemies? Those error thoughts that convince us we are not worthy to be given a feast ... that persuade us we can never win the victory over the world and its illusions. Error thoughts encourage us to keep plugging along, doing the best we can. On the other hand, universal law would have us know that we can be victorious ... we can sit down and enjoy a feast while all of the world’s error thoughts lie impotent at our feet.
How does God respond when we consent to partake of the abundant feast available to each of us? By anointing our head with oil! In the ancient Near East, to anoint the head with oil meant to invest that person with power. It was a sign of divine sanctification and approval. Anointing the head signified consecration for a holy mission. As we feast on the abundance universal law has already set before us, God will anoint our heads with oil. With our needs abundantly met and our enemies lying impotent at our feet, God invests us with the power to carry out our holy mission—that of allowing God to manifest through us as the unique human beings we are. As we do so, our cups overflow with joy, peace, and love. We walk beside the still waters, knowing we are fulfilling our role within God’s divine plan for humanity. That our cup overflows is a sure sign that we walk in right paths for His name’s sake.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The words of Genesis 1:31 reveal universal law: “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” Only Good exists permanently; all else is illusion. As we consciously attune to and allow universal law to guide us, Good unfolds in our lives. We begin to behold life through the eyes of God. Mercy follows us as we concentrate on the Good; thereby, attracting it into our lives. Making the conscious intention to walk away from our error thoughts, our lives are mercifully filled with Good. We, by our own choice, allow goodness and mercy to follow us all the days of our lives.
“And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” It is only as we allow goodness and mercy to follow us that we live in the house of the Lord. As we abide by universal law, we achieve a level of conscious awareness that reveals to us our true home—within the loving arms of our Mother/Father God.
Even as we walk through the darkest valley on our earth plane journey, we can do so in full awareness of dwelling—at the same time—in the house of the Lord. With our focus on God, we can use our Earth plane challenges and lessons to overcome all fear. We can achieve a level of conscious attunement to universal law that allows us to walk beside the still waters, even though the world around us appears to be filled with turmoil. For, we know better. We are feasting at God’s bountiful table; we are anointed with the power and inner authority to accomplish our soul’s mission. The Lord is our Shepherd and we shall not want.
Nancy B. Detweiler is the author of three books: "A New Age Christian: My Spiritual Journey," "Where Are You, God? A Metaphysical Interpretation of the Biblical Book of Job," and "The Caudles of Anson County, N.C." All are available on her website; Where Are You, God? can be downloaded free. Her Bridging the Gap Ministries sponsors her website: www.pathwaytoascension.com and her blog: The Way of Love at: http://pathwaytoascension.wordpress.com/