It was 1999 and the drought was several years in. Most of the regional lakes were low or bone dry. I drove out to one of the nearby lakes and saw it was very low. The water was several hundred yards away across the dry lakebed, glimmering in the sun. It looked so inviting.
The lakebed was baked hard and being foolish I decided to drive partway across it towards the water. I say foolish because it is always risky to drive across a dry lake bed. I had driven on dry lakes many times before and had been occasionally bogged in them too. In fact I was frequently getting the car bogged. Whether in a two wheel drive or the four wheel drive I have often managed to get them bogged somewhere. Getting bogged and getting out of the bog has been a sort of hobby of mine in the past. I found it both frustrating and enjoyable, and somehow invigorating. On bush tracks, in creeks, swamps, lakes, river beds, sand dunes, desert. If a car could get bogged there, then I would do it.
On this occasion, about a hundred yards out on the dry lake the car broke through the sunbaked surface and sank up to its floor in the underlying mud.
I set about digging with a spade and walking around the lake gathering sticks, logs and other material for the tyres to get some grip. It was no good, the car just settled further into the mud. It was a stinking hot day. I was exhausted and aching, and coming to realise that I would have to walk a long way to get help. I would need a long rope and a strong vehicle, possibly a tractor.
I walked to the edge of the lake. There was a farmhouse about a mile away. I could walk there and get the farmer to pull my car out. But first I decided to do my prayers.
I sat down and went within. Still, calm, breathing naturally but consciously. Holding myself steady within the head. I cast back to many other bogged occasions. Recalled my mindsets at those times. I studied this occasion; retracing my creating it. From arrival at the lake, through every change and development of attitude and mindset. I recalled at my thoughts and retraced my steps, mentally and physically in sequence between arriving at the lake and getting bogged. I looked at each of these stages of attitude and thought. Compared them to other options that were available but which I had not taken. I looked at the lessons within the experience. I affirmed to instil the lessons into myself so as not to make such a mistake again.
Then I analysed my current mindset; my concerns, my fears of embarrassment before others for doing a foolish thing. If I could not get help at the farmhouse then I would have to walk and hitchhike home and tell my wife the car was in the lake. Then arrange assistance and come out again the next day to pull the car out. I looked at the layers of my concerns, the milder surface ones such as the walking in the heat and the deeper ones that I felt really uncomfortable about.
Then I cast ahead and went over the different possible scenarios between now and retrieving the car. I lived them mentally and emotionally, imagining how they would take place and feel, and most significantly I anticipated the lesson I would learn from them, the assertion of change they would prompt me to instil.
Then in prayer before my God I condensed and consolidated the overall lessons learnt, as if I was in the future and the whole episode was over and past and its lessons learnt.
Then I turned my attention within and upward, to conscience, the skylight at the inner upper pinnacle of my soul, which is the voice of God within the all souls. Father God you have observed my exercise and my degree of sincerity, you know whether I have learnt my lesson or not. If I have learnt my lesson, and if it be possible to do, then take this trial from me, let me not go through the rest of this lesson. From vertically high up through the conscience I heard, “Go start the car.”
I stood up and walked back to the car, started the engine and drove it easily out of the mud, then across the lakebed and onto safe ground. I wondered if my time in prayer and meditation had been long enough for the sun to dry the mud enough to drive out.
I left the car on safe ground and walked back to the same place where I had prayed, and sat down in the same place to do my thanks. Again I withdrew within, turned my attention within and upward. Reached within and up through conscience and beyond, towards God. My hand on heart, I said “Thank you Lord for hearing my prayer, for freeing the car and sparing me from further difficulties. Help me keep the lessons I have learnt. Thank you Father God.”
I felt my spirit rise, my conscience and heart open, my breath flowing as energy down from God, in through conscience and outward through the heart to all life. From within and above conscience I heard, “I did not free the car; they did.”
I turned and looked back at the lake and saw ranks of nature spirits, from the smallest fairies of the vegetation, mud and water, to ranks of larger creatures within and over the water, and in the sky above the water a great glistening spirit which overreached the whole lake. They were in many shades of glistening blue and silver, and all sorts of shapes and forms. The little ones were fluttering about; the bigger ones were slow and powerful. The greatest one in the sky was stationary, its attention focused downward over all the lake.
The voice within and above continued, “In all the centuries they have inhabited this lake they have not observed anyone pray as you just prayed, they were impressed and so they freed your car.”
Then the vision passed away and the lake looked barren again.