So to keep it positive, I would like to share a couple of topics that have been really moving so far. Having guides from my Rabbi has been super helpful. I am very easily distracted when trying to meditate, so having a specific Focus is key.
BACK TO THE BASICS It is important to go back to the basics before venturing on any kind of journey that involves returning. What are we returning to? Where have we been? Where am I now? When we make Teshuvah, we are, in essence, returning to Gd. I was pleased to find meditations on a higher source in the early steps of Cheshbon Hanafesh. Makes total sense! Once the subject of G-D is brought up, it can cause so much discomfort in people, conversations, or settings. People have different beliefs and opinions and it can be a difficult subject. I wanted to share some of my Rabbi’s words which I found to be meaningful.
On Day 1 – “…God is the broadest sense of energy/source of all that is greater than ourselves. Don’t get stuck on names or labels: open to the bigger essence in our world.”
This is so on point!! Because we ALL get stuck on labels. Orthodox? Modern Orthodox? Reform? Lubavitch? I, myself, have always had a difficult time labeling myself. Observant Conservative??? I don’t know!! I could never tell you my favorite kind of music is or nail down what my “style” was or is. The essence is so much more important than the LABEL. What I came to realize a long time ago is that I have always had Faith in a higher being. I have always found myself speaking to something. When I first came to Los Angeles, I found a lot of people using the term “Universe”, as in “The Universe provides” and “Put it out there to the Universe”. One day I realized that FOR ME, this is what I call GOD. There are Astrologers that spend their life charting stars and examining how the universe is connected to all living things on the planet. Yogis build alters and chant for answers. Some of us simply believe that there is something out there greater than us; that there is more than just this body and this earth. There are plenty of believers in the concept of a higher source and also a higher purpose. Some of us just feel a spiritual connection. Period. It is a refreshing idea for ALL of us to forget names and labels long enough to quiet the mind and open our hearts to a bigger essence.
On Shabbat – “In this time of year, we focus on the values of Torah, the way of God, the direction of holiness.” … “focus on higher purpose. Try and find holy meaning in all your actions” … “watch how you talk to and treat strangers. When we are connected to a higher purpose, a divine light, all moments of life become opportunity for enlightenment and holiness.”
What could our higher purpose be? Could our purpose be to be better people? Or my favorite – to turn the Darkness into Light. To add light and love to the darkness in this world. I think it could. Then could it be so bad for all of us to accept that there is MUCH room in our hearts and in our soul to let Love and Light (G-d) inside? There is so much room in all of us, all we have to do is open up.
On Saturday, I let my meditation follow me into most of the day. I didn’t focus on the fact that I was driving on Shabbat but instead, on what I had meditated on. I didn’t cover my arms but I DID keep my head covering on all day. This helped me remember it was Shabbat and to “keep it holy” but it also served as a reminder of what I was trying to focus on. It definitely served its purpose. It was a truly meaningful day, interacting with and watching people at the mall. Although I wasn’t keeping Shabbat in the most Traditional of ways, I kept to finding meaning and it was a spiritual day for me nonetheless. These topics can be so deep but also so basic at the same time. As emotional and sensitive as I have been feeling these past 6 days, I also feel incredibly grounded. A sense that my feet are in the ground and everything is fine even though it can be overwhelming.
In regards to acknowledging our wrong doings, bettering ourselves, and asking for forgiveness – I am not quite ready to share or fully finish digesting! That will stay with me for a little while longer, maybe towards the END of Elul?