A ship in the middle of the ocean was caught in a violent storm. As the storm raged, the captain realized his ship was in danger of sinking. He called out, “Does anyone here have the faith to pray?” One man stepped forward. “Aye, Sir, I have the faith.” “Good,” said the captain. “The rest of us will put on life jackets – we’re one short.”
There are times that seem to call for extraordinary faith, and the Bible story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den is an example of faith. Though sometimes used as a children’s story, it can be interpreted on different levels of spiritual understanding.
When it was written around 160 BC, the Jewish people had been conquered and dispersed. Daniel was one of the Jews deported to Babylon and trained to serve in the royal Court, where he gained a reputation as an interpreter of dreams and signs.
One night, the royalty of Babylon was having a wild party – after all, this was Babylon - when suddenly a hand appeared and started writing words on the wall. They were terrified and sent for Daniel to interpret them. He had the courage to tell him the bad news: the Persians were about to conquer Babylon. This account is the origin of the “writing on the wall” as a premonition of some danger. Indeed, that very night the king of Babylon was slain, and the Persians took over the country.
The Persian King Darius was so impressed with Daniel’s insight and integrity that he appointed him as a governor and eventually gave him authority over the kingdom and all administrators. Some of those officials were jealous and tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel, but they could find nothing to discredit him.
They knew he was diligent in praying, so they devised a trap for him. They went to Darius and said, “You are so great, so wise! There should be a law that your subjects should worship only you for 30 days. Anyone who worships anyone else would be thrown into a den of hungry lions.” Darius agreed this was a very wise idea.
When Daniel heard this, he went home to the upstairs room with windows facing Jerusalem, and on his knees gave thanks. The men spied him praying and ran to tell Darius who tried to save Daniel, but the law was set.
Daniel was calm as he was brought to the lion’s den, which was really a pit in the ground. As he was lowered into it, Darius said, “Your God whom you serve continually will deliver you.” Then the pit was sealed with a stone.
At dawn, Darius hurried to the den and called out to Daniel. Daniel answered: “My God sent his angel and He shut the lions’ mouths.” Darius was overjoyed and had him lifted out of the den and issued a proclamation that in every part of his kingdom people would revere the God of Daniel.
When we look at the story metaphysically, it offers very specific ways to know and use the power of consciousness to increase faith. This story vividly demonstrates that our spiritual understanding does create the circumstances of our lives.
There are three main sections and points of the story.
The first is about trusting intuition. Daniel represents a high level of attunement with Spirit, but we all have access to this inner intuition. Infinite wisdom is contained within us, and is always available to us, to the extent that we call upon it.
Have you ever seen “the writing on the wall?” Perhaps a situation where intuition tells us is not positive or healthy to stay in. Perhaps it’s time to leave a job, a relationship, or a way of being. Perhaps it’s counsel to turn away from negative or fearful thoughts – If we tune in, we can feel when there’s a sense of Don’t go there!
And it’s not only being alert to an inner guidance, it’s having the courage to follow through on it, or speak up. This first part is about remembering to turn to our inner wisdom when we need guidance. And when we turn to our intuition, even our ruling ego, represented by Darius, gives it a place of authority.
The next point is the scheming by the administrators. They represent lower consciousness thoughts of lack and jealousy that inflate the ego over the higher Self. Daniel could have said: “Oh, right, pick on the exile.” No. He went to his upstairs room, meaning to a higher place in consciousness, to a place of oneness with higher power. He got on his knees and gave thanks.
Daniel’s faith didn’t come in a box; he shows us how he created the consciousness of faith, by turning his mind resolutely to the Divine, to be receptive to clarity, peace, and harmony. He gave thanks knowing that this was already done. Gratitude activates the state of mind of completion and so attracts to us what is like our thought. In this way we our faith and gratitude make us co-creators with God.
Have you ever felt betrayed or treated unfairly? Or just me? Some time ago in a work situation I was singled out for using my computer too much for personal use – something that everyone else never stopped doing! But was I bitter? YES! Unlike Daniel, I jumped on the victim train with a ticket stamped “poor me.” However, I learned the hard way the view is terrible and that train is going nowhere.
Ernest Holmes says, “In order to keep faith, we must allow nothing to enter our thought which will weaken this conviction. We go to the upper room of consciousness and give thanks that the experience we desire is already done.
In the third part, Daniel is taken to the lion pit. He didn’t fall apart or pretend they’re not there, like “What lion?” For he has done his work in consciousness to prepare for this time, so that even Darius, his ruling ego, reminds him: “Your God whom you serve continually will deliver you.” This shows the benefit of spiritual practice. By continuing to daily meditate, pray, and affirm, we build up our spiritual muscles. So that in a challenging time, we can remember that the Infinite Power and Presence is right where we are.
We don’t have a record of what happened in the den, but we can be sure Daniel wasn’t just napping, but staying steadfast in his consciousness. And he was protected, as an angel comes to shut their mouths. But this isn’t like some spiritual hit man sent to “take care of it.” For it is not faith in God that we’re calling on, we are responding with the faith of God. The angel comes from our own high consciousness, a recognition that we have the power to create the effect we want in our lives.
Have you ever been in the pits? Facing some very convincing and frightening images of despair, destruction or ruin? Whatever the “lion” is we’re facing, it’s mirroring our own state of mind - either fear or courage. When we call upon the angel of our higher consciousness, “shutting their mouths” is closing off danger from either teeth or any negating or disempowering words.
Some years ago, I happened to close a garage door on my finger. I went to the emergency room, and when I finally saw a doctor, he looked at it and said: “Hmm. I’m rather underwhelmed.” I was a bit taken aback, and it’s ironic just which of my fingers he was looking at. But thinking about it – we’ve all seen the ER programs to know the kinds of intense traumas that come up, so that my swollen finger was not that big a deal. In the pit of despair, we might be saying, “My problems are so big, I’m so overwhelmed, so stressed!” And our higher self says: “I’m underwhelmed. It’s not that big a deal. Have you forgotten that you are creating it all?”
Again, quoting from Ernest Holmes: When we use our creative imagination in strong faith, it will create for us, out of the One Substance, whatever we have formed in thought. Strong statements of faith should be used to erase thoughts of doubt and worry.”
We need to speak our word, with conviction. Not just mouthing generic affirmations, but something in our own words that has meaning and gives a feeling of absolute confidence and power. We might say to some “lion” we’re facing, “Oh sweetie, you’re trying to scare me, but you are sadly mistaken. Because all the Power of the Divine is right here in me!
So you can just shut your mouth!
Find the words of faith that are powerful and expressive of you as a unique representation of the Infinite Power on this earth. Call upon the powerful angel of your consciousness and know that it is literally creating what is in front of you. And when you say it, say it like you mean it, as though life depended on it! Because it does.
I have a passion for stories and inspirational literature.