Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

Imagine You Are on a Life Boat - Practice Challenge

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

This one is short, but holds the potential for profound and enduring change in your outlook and your daily experience. Yes, it's that good. Give it a try.




1) Welcome stillness. Settle into it as you might settle into a favorite rocking chair. Relax. Rock. Be.


2) Imagine you are on a life boat. You have only just escaped from the ship you were on. It sank minutes ago.


3) Ask yourself this question: Who do you want to be with you on this life boat - as you face great uncertainty with few resources?


4) Discern on this question. Let arise within you the behavior and values that you would want to encounter on the life boat.


5) Return to your daily rhythm and activity. But whenever your encounter any difficulty, instead of reacting in annoyance or bitterness or fear.... channel the person you just imagined... be the person you want to be with on that life boat.


This practice is inspired by the wisdom teacher and Zen priest Genjo Marinello Roshi. It comes from a story he told in a heart-opening SDI digital gathering called "Sun-faced Buddha, Moon-faced Buddha: A Zen Response to the Pandemic." You can watch the recording here. https://youtu.be/qBvmcSfRGqs I highly recommend it.


I offer a bow of gratitude to Genjo and Rev. Seifu Anil Singh-Molares who co-hosted the Town Hall. I am very grateful to teachers like them who invite others to learn in such deep ways.


Blessings to all those who read these words and to all those who never will - may we honor the connection that unites all beings and care for each other as we would like to be cared for. Especially in a time of illness, loss and uncertainty such as right now.


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Steven  Crandell is the director of content and communities for SDI. He guides SDI's storytelling and local community-building -- on our website, our blog, social media, in our webinars and through our SDI Communities program. He sees spiritual companions as the catalyst in an ongoing "contemplative revolution." His unofficial job title is "Director of Encouragement."

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