Chaos in the World and the Jewish New Year Begins a New Life Cycle.
The holiday season is upon us in Israel. There is a light headedness that appears in the air as if everyone I see is walking just a few inches off the ground. There is an openness of spirit that I sense in the looks, and attitude of the passing humanity on the streets of Tel Aviv. It’s in the unusual receptivity of the service workers in our restaurants and offices that is most pleasantly surprising. But then this is a time of personal reflection and transformation as this part of the world turns away from the sun and we slowly move into the chilly time of year. We are returning to the cycle of life that pushes us however reluctantly closer to ourselves.
I’ve been having disturbing dreams of late that involves intrigue and discomfort to my soul. The settings change from dream to dream but the feeling appears to be the same. There is uneasiness about some reconciled situations in my life that appear to need attention. Not quite sure of the fine print but I have a hunch. Certainly my awareness of how I relate to my family members and the other people I meet along the way comes into play in a very serious manner. I see that some adjustments in my behavior and my need to ask for forgiveness plays out in my daily interactions.
The New Year is a time of inner gathering and forgiveness between each other and an expansiveness of the self that encompasses empathy and humility with sense of unity of spirit. What transpires here in the world of complex diversity is more often then not lost in the passions of ideas and feelings that we humans value so highly. But in this human endeavor for fairness and truth we dance on the head of a pin trying to keep our ego from getting the best of our clarity and blinding us to the greater truth that the witness in us provides. We have nothing and everything at stake in this world. We have no choice but to be ourselves in this place where we wander through the hills and dales of our lives on this earth doing the things that we do in order to survive but knowing full well of the paradox that is embedded in our understanding of how the world turns.
My meditation practice is just that. It is a work in progress. Just sitting, praying, dancing, crying, and singing in the silence of my breath. Yet the world is quiet, as if the volume has been turned down, as we move in slow motion out of time or rather in time as the paradox of life presents itself. This is the moment that one of my former teachers Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass) of Harvard LSD fame described in his book “Be Here Now” written during the 1960’s when I was a lonely college student searching for paradise lost. The need to go beyond ourselves in order to find ourselves seems to often be a prerequisite to come home. I witness this in my own journey and to some extent in my children’s need to experience their personal drama with all the force of their lives behind it.
As the years pass by, when I care to take notice of time, life appears endless with out end so to speak. It is a place of comfort and love in the chaotic world of space. The feeling if I can describe it that way is of calmness in the eye of the storm that one witnesses with compassion and clarity.
At this time of year we Jews and sympathizers have walked through the gates or portals of the New Year full of hope for our selves and our fellow beings. We have with some trepidation stood with the best of the angels passing our day of atonement or rather “at-one-ment” in the light of great expectations for even greater possibilities. In this place (makom) we stand side by side with Moses as we experience the holy ground under our feet. As the day wanes we are uplifted and drift into the holiday spirit of Succot (the Tabernacles). We now choose to live in flimsy temporary housing in order to remind us of the uncertainty of life. In this place we breathe in our life force and sit inside the Succah looking up at the stars that peer through the precariously put together roof. We are free to eat, drink, and to sing our story together with family and friends. In this place we hover together for the support and blessings of each other as we enter into the darkest time of the year. And as the world turns we are present in silence to witness the miracles of being alive.