“For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!” MOBY DICK, Herman Melville
Melville likened the depths of a man’s soul to Tahiti, a dot of island in the Pacific Ocean. He used the adjective “insular” to describe Tahiti. Uncivilized, provincial, backwards, remote. But the island was “full of peace and joy” even though it was surrounded by an ocean of horrors. It was primitive, untouched by modern complexities.
How is your “Tahiti” today? Feeling encompassed and threatened? Relax! Many centuries ago a psalmist wrote, “Be still and know.” Be still! Relax and then know God. But first, be still. Stop striving with the world and be still. Find that quiet space and be still for it is there in stillness that the guiding light of truth will create an island of peace and joy illuminating the dark, ominous corners of life.
Even so, the worldly oceans, as in Melville’s day, remain deep and ominous filled with treacheries that cannot be fully understood by mankind. Contemporary life is frightening for those who do not have an island of tranquility offering safety and comfort. It is equally frightening for the ones who have discovered their Tahiti and yet observe from afar the continuing pummeling of winds and waves upon its shores.
“God keep thee!” Therein lies our truth, does it not? God will keep thee and me. The greater power to which we turn during our earthly struggles confessing our worldly fears will be the victorious captain in the storms of our lives. That power provides shelter from the assaults of society’s insanity while instilling a peace and understanding which transcends our physical world. The violence surrounding the soul’s island cannot penetrate when we vigilantly live this life honoring our truth. Creatures of the deep darkness are powerless when bound in chains by the dominating brilliance of our Tahiti.
We dare not abandon our island when threatening skies loom on the horizon. Instead, we take refuge within the learned words and verses of sacred writings, we turn our eyes toward the clear blue skies where hope lies, and we acknowledge with reverence that power which has always kept us and always will keep us from spiritual harm. Our ultimate truth is that we are spirits dwelling in physical forms. Physical bodies shall die but spirit is eternal. Protect and cherish the indwelling Tahiti. Never leave it!