Thoughts on the 23rd Psalm (A Psalm of David)

By: Opal O. Murray, MPA, Life Coach

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”

I understand that there are indigenous cultures where ‘want’ is not a word in the language. Yet for those of us living in Western cultures or cultures influenced by Western values ‘want’ rolls from our tongues perhaps more often than ‘Thank you.’ So, why do we ‘want’? When was the last time we begged for our supply of oxygen – a critical commodity that separates life and death? Just as we breathe effortlessly, knowing fully well, that oxygen is available to sustain our lives, so too, must we know that our Shepherd knows what is ours and makes the provision before we even consider asking for or seeking that gift.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters”

Close your eyes and envision the peace and beauty of this environment. Picture the green pastures, a piece of grassy land, see some of your favorite flowering plants in full bloom on the property. Feel the gentle breeze as it kisses your cheeks. Now listen to the melodious sound from the nearby stream. Notice that inner calm has replaced the outer turmoil you had experienced. Linger in this moment and affirm that peace and beauty are yours at all times.

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

In the busy-ness we call living; it may be more commonplace to restore/repair our cars, homes, furniture, etc. than it is to restore our souls. However, it is not too late for the soul-restoration process. Try this exercise: take a deep cleansing breath. Hold to the count of four, exhale slowly. As you exhale, remind yourself that all is well with your soul. Repeat as many times as you wish and experience, once again, your Oneness with your Shepherd. It is true; it is well with your soul.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and staff they comfort me.”

Yes, there are times when we become entangled in falsehood and we find it difficult to turn the other cheek (look the other side) and see the goodness of the situation. In those times we cry out and hear the echoes of those cries bouncing off the walls of the valley. Be reminded that the valley is not the place for us to remain. Our valleys are quite useful to teach us invaluable life lessons but at some point we must rise up and walk through, being mindful of the lessons we have learned. As we walk through, even though it appears to the contrary, we must believe that we are not alone.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows”

Such a powerful illustration! Our abundance and our enemies are seated at the same table at the same time! So, we must decide to which group we will give our intentions and attention. Sure, when asked, we will respond: “To our abundance” but the reality is abundance eludes us because our intentions and attention are placed on our enemies – our true enemies, the ones we harbor within our selves. The enemies called pride, hatred, envy, self-righteousness, guilt, shame, blame, revenge, fear, cravings/wants, anger, regret and hopelessness. We must accept the fact that we are free to choose the guests at our table. Today let us turn away from our enemies and choose abundance. Not until we perform this life-transformative task will we experience our overflow of joy, peace and love.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

Living in joy, peace and love allows us to lead others to this state of nirvana/heaven. We return to our future. There are no wants – just eternal Oneness., with our Shepherd and with our Universe.

Related Articles

Back to top button