Sunday, August 26, 2012

What Your Kindness does for my Heart ~ a prayer



Thursday 5 Elul 5772, 8:10 AM, at a Starbucks in Philadelphia

Dearest Sweet Beloved Divine Parent, Thank you for the opportunity to commune with You. Thank You for the constant kindnesses that I’m aware of and experience. My knowledge and awareness of them nourishes my focus on You. These kindnesses that You bring to my awareness nourish my faith in You. Of course as my Creator, You hide almost everything from for my own good. Just for starters: (A) it would be overwhelming (B) it may cause me to get in my own way (C) it will interfere with free choice. Yet, that little spark of awareness You allow me does so much for my relationship with You. It allows me to be inspired by You. It allows me to teach others Your ways. It reinforces for me that You are here and You care. It reinforces for me that You want a relationship with me.

Much of what a parent does for a child is behind the scenes. The child doesn’t know about it. In many cases, if the child were to overhear the parents’ plans on his/her behalf, the child still wouldn’t understand and trying to understand them would be confusing. Yet, every nurturing parent tries to do some things for a child that the child can relate to, understand and carry in his/her awareness. Why? To nurture a relationship with the child by managing the perception of the parent in the child’s mind and heart.

Similarly, Your kindness and Your ways [that] I can perceive, understand and relate to nurture my side of the relationship with You. Occasionally, there may be a very mature child who doesn’t require such a constant stream of reinforcement. This is compared to very high and big souls who don’t want spiritual pampering and view it as a sign of their growth and maturity that they no longer need such coddling and favors. However, I only relate to such a state as a metaphor. I don’t relate to it in a real way. So, I’m obviously a smaller and lower soul. I need spiritual treats and candies along the way to reinforce and nurture, to feel Your Involvement and Your Love.  Knowing that this is part of my needs, I thank You with a full heart for every drop of these perceptions of kindness You dote upon me. In fact, I beg of You to increase them - so I become more and more aware of You. It’s far more honest [for me] to be in Your Presence who I really am than to pretend a greatness, maturity and independence that’s not in me. In any event who can hide from Your all seeing and all knowing perception?

Thank You kindly for transmitting to me the words of this prayer. Love and Kisses …

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Essential Attribute


______________________________

Recently, I read something interesting in Rabbi Bachya Ibn Pequda’s “Duties of the Heart”, section 1, chapter 9. It was a very elegant argument for the Creator’s Oneness based on ancient Greek philosophical notions, as echoed in the philosophy of Andalusian Jewry.

The argument is based on the notion of “essential and accidental attributes”. An “essential attribute” is a quality which is core to an entity. The entity simply cannot be without it and trying to remove it would remove the entity as well. Examples of essential attributes are wet to water or heat to fire. An “accidental attribute” is a quality which can be added to or removed from an entity without changing its core. It’s a secondary attribute, which an entity can exist with or without. An example is hot water. The heat is an accidental attribute because water is water, whether hot or not.

The argument:

Hot water acquires heat by being placed over a fire (or an energetic equivalent). In other words, fire supplies water with heat. Water does not have heat on its own. It needs to receive heat from an outside source - fire. Why? The answer is because for water, heat is an accidental attribute. Accidental attributes are never “native” to the entities which possess them. They need to be imported from essential attributes of other entities. Therefore, fire transmits heat to water and water transmits dampness to sponges.

Stylistically, accidental attributes are degraded versions of essential attributes. They are weaker than their corresponding essential attribute. Water can never be as hot as the fire that heated it up. Flawed attributes are clearly accidental, not essential. Throughout creation, the notion of oneness is flawed because it’s not real oneness. It’s unified multiplicity. Every oneness within the vast span of creation is composed of parts, multiplicity in space, and is subject to change, multiplicity in time.

These flaws of multiplicity cast all onenesses in creation as accidental attributes. Like “where there’s smoke there’s fire”, where there are accidental attributes there must be a transmitting essential attribute, feeding it with continuity. Therefore, there must exist a perfect Oneness which feeds all these imperfect onenesses with continuity. Since this Oneness is perfect, void of multiplicity, it can only belong to One Entity - namely, the Creator.


                 O------------------------------<>---------------------------------O

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Change


How come I see so many people trying to change the "systems" they live in?

Why not try to raise the energy level of "blessings" in our lives by doing more kindness and the "systems" will probably fall into place on their own.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Love Drunk - a prayer


B”H
A Written Prayer: 29 Menachem Av 5772, 8:05 AM, in a Starbucks in Philly

Dearest Sweet Beloved Divine Parent, Thank You for Your kindness of allowing me time to emote to You this morning. I’m truly thankful.

Last night I posted our session from the other morning, the one that points out that it’s the level of blessing and not the system’s style that determines success. However, I’m having some second thoughts about whether it was such a good idea to post a prayer where my heart truly went drunk. Will people understand that a prayer isn’t an essay?  One’s a spontaneous outburst of emotions. The other is logically crafted and woven. In any event, it’s up. This morning I need to drink from the waters of intimacy with You once again. If I get drunk in the light of Your Love, let it happen! It’s nourishing. It’s not an optional substance. It’s a nutrient of the soul. Actually, it’s a “nutrient infusion” the soul yearns for the heart to ingest. You are my life itself and I’ve been yearning for this moment in spontaneous heartfelt prayer since the conclusion of yesterday’s session.

In You and with You I feel comfortable crying, in every shade of emotion, in You alone! ...


(the central content of this prayer is too private to share) ...

Please in the sanctuary of this cafe’ hold me like a coffee cup and drink from my emotions. Do You feel my love for You, my voluntary love for You? Do You take in my fear of upsetting You? Do You feel how I yearn for You to be happy and pleased with me? Do You feel how I yearn to truly know what I can personally do to make You happier and please You further and how I wish for messages and communications from You, on the matter, [in a way] that makes sense to me?

It’s time for me to attend work. Please Lover come and accompany me. Thank You for Your Love. Thank You for this time with You.

Love and Kisses …

Friday, August 17, 2012

Higher and Sweeter - a prayer

A Written Prayer: 27th of Menachem Av 5772, 8:04AM in a Starbucks Cafe’ in Philly.


Dearest Sweet Beloved Divine Parent, Thank You for this beautiful and happy day. Thank You that I’m here communing with You. It’s really special to allow the spirit in my heart to emote to You in prayer. My heart is hollow for the blood that carries my spirit. With her beat, her walls vibrate a prayer to You, which pen or tongue place into words or better yet, "craft into words".

I am feeling a wish for the world to operate ... I mean for humanity to operate with greater kindness. I wish for war and conflict to disappear and for humanity’s whole focus to revolve around how can we share and do kindness for another. I know that the changes we are all hoping for has much more to do with receiving Your blessing than changing jobs, people in our lives, political systems, religions, economic systems, whose in control, how medical services are dispensed, etc.

Every situation has a higher and sweeter version. With Your blessing, situations can be transcended into that higher and sweeter version - simply as natural extensions of what they already are. There’s no real falsehood, only limited perspectives. So the real remedy is to expand the perspective. Once blessing flows in, the light on its own dispels rigidity, stubbornness and blockages.

The Alter Rebbe again and again reiterates that our emotional states are not in our own hands. They are transmitted to us by You. That’s why he enjoins us to elicit Your blessings  via the distribution of alms. As counter-intuitive as it may seem to the western mindset, the Alter Rebbe teaches that by this kindness a person will be able to receive a very kind gift from You - the ability to feel true love and reverence for You while in prayer.

It occurs to me that if doing kindness can elicit serious changes in the way the heart feels - couldn’t doing kindness elicit Your kindness to shine on other areas of our lives as well and lift up every situation to enter the space of its “better and sweeter self”?

This is why I am praying to You  to open people’s hearts to kindness. Please open us up to the “master key” to all that’s blocked and locked; namely, kindness. We need Your help to attain that “flexible heart of flesh” which emotes and vibrates us to pray and help. Please …

I specifically look back to my childhood religious upbringing which wasn’t too Zionistic, but, very much focused on Moshiach. What was the underlying inherent thought behind how the people I grew up around were expecting that a Moshiach which can arrive in a “flash”, at any second, was going to rebuild our Holy Temple on the site of what is essentially regarded as a central Moslem shrine and of Christian significance?

The answer is very simple. The Kotzker once said that Moshiach will show the idolaters that they basically had the right idea, they merely focused too low on their own self admitted heavenly hierarchy. The meaning is that if all religions ascend high enough in their perspective, they all become monotheistic - they all find greater truth. However, we need to be blessed with a higher more inclusive perspective. The human mind only arrives at that mental space via Your blessing. We need You to help us with the kindness that will elicit the blessings of opening our minds and hearts.

This will lead to the unity of all perspectives into a single highly flexible and compatible perspective, where everyone can meet each other.

Thank You for this prayer. Love and Kisses …

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Presence / Revelation

This week’s Torah portion Re'ah begins with the Creator commanding the Jewish People to limit their devotional sacrifices to the place of His choosing; ultimately meaning the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The common question is,”If the Creator is equally present all over, why doesn't He accept offerings from anywhere?”

The author of the work Tanya, Rabbi Shnuer Zalman of Liadi, offers a unique approach to this question by using the human being as his/her own parable. He explains that a human soul is equally present throughout the body. Yet, the soul’s main revelation is in the brain. Similarly, while the Creator is present everywhere, His main revelation is in the Holy Temple. The Creator’s presence and revelation aren’t necessarily the same. He could be present and yet, not revealed. That’s why sacrifices and certain other devotional services require that site.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Earth !

----------------
Heaven's agenda is on earth!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Lightest Yoke

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that everyone carries a yoke. While no one is exempt, a slight freedom of selection is granted. The wise select the lightest yoke of all - the yoke of reverence for the Creator's will.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lunar Illumination


On the fourth day of creation, the two great luminaries (sun and moon) were created. The moon complained to the Creator that it's inappropriate for two rulers to share a single crown, i.e. for the two main luminaries to be equally large and bright. The Creator then asked the moon to remedy the situation by shrinking her size and luminosity. The moon balked, feeling that it’s unfair for her to suffer just for having raised a valid issue.  To pacify her, the Creator offered a few concessions: allowing her to inhabit the daytime sky, referencing her orbit to guide the Jewish calendar and having saintly people named for her. She rejected these offers. The first two, she claimed lacked exclusivity. During the day the sun will render her light irrelevant and the Jewish calendar also references the sun’s orbit. To the third offer, she silently expressed her displeasure. The Creator felt for her pain and instituted that on every new moon, a goat sacrifice be brought on His behalf in the Holy Temple as atonement for having diminished her. Once diminished, the moon's light has been reduced to mere reflection of the sun's radiance. However, in the future messianic age the moon with regain her original stature and once again function as a full luminary in her own right. ~ Adapted from Babylonian Talmud, Chullin 60b and commentaries.

The sun and moon are the sky’s romantic couple. The sun is the male and the moon is the female. In a sense, this is a story about all couples on all levels.  All of creation works on the principle of “couples” - male/female polarity. This is true both for the earthly realm and for all the spiritual realms as well. In Jewish mysticism the traditional definition of male and female is giver and receiver. The entire vast span of creation works on a system of magnetism between male giving and female receiving forces. From this perspective, gender is a role and not a fixed identity - a verb and not a noun. Any entity can be female in one setting and male in another. It all depends on whether the entity at that moment is primarily receiving or giving.

However, it seems that Jewish mysticism only identifies gender by giver and receiver roles only as long as the moon remains shackled in her diminished state. Once liberated, the giving and receiving roles are exposed as mere masks cleverly layered over a higher more underlying definition of male and female. Underneath these masks, the male role is to reflect the Creator’s Infinity, while the female role is to reflect His Oneness. These higher roles were lurking beneath the surface all along - throughout history. They just operated behind the scenes.
 
As demonstrated logically in my earlier writings, the Creator’s Oneness and Infinity are really the same exact concept - just expressed differently. A logical description of one notion automatically ends up describing the other notion. Perfect Oneness ends up describing Perfect Infinity and Perfect Infinity ends up describing Perfect Oneness.

In short, Judaism understands Perfect Infinity as “no boundaries” and Perfect Oneness as  “no parts”, i.e. total seamlessness. Since boundaries have parts and parts have boundaries, every finite entity has parts and every composite entity is finite.  Conversely, a Being devoid of boundaries will be devoid of parts and a Being devoid of parts will be devoid of boundaries. Hence, the Being with no parts and the Being with no boundaries is the same Being. There can be only One such Being because the condition of having no parts and no boundaries means that the Being takes up all of reality and does not leave room for any other entity.

Admittedly, these descriptions of Perfect Infinity and Oneness go very far to explain why we can’t understand Him - as the human mind is only designed to grasp fragmentation. While pointing the way towards understanding Him, these explanations create an encounter with the limits on the human ability to mentally process what’s beyond the finite and segmented. They leave us with no true understanding about Whom the Creator actually is. At best, we end up with an understanding of Whom He isn’t.

Though Perfect Infinity and Oneness in their pristine state describe the same Being, when these states enter the relatively imperfect realms of creation they diverge, even on the highest of spiritual realms. The reason for the divergence is because the creation, marked by fragmentation and finiteness, can’t hold onto these pristine states as a seamless whole. The creation is like a broken mirror. Even while reflecting a whole image, at best, a broken mirror can only provide a piecemeal reflection. As a result of this condition, inside the created realms everything bears imperfection. All single entities exhibit parts and all vast expansive entities exhibit boundaries.

In this setting, maleness turns into a tendency towards outward expansion and femaleness into a tendency towards inward contraction. The outward male tendency is a reaching towards vastness and is the creation’s imperfect reflection of Infinity. In contrast, the female tendency is a contraction that reaches further inward and is the creation’s imperfect reflection of Oneness. Another way to spot reflections of Infinity and Oneness in the creation is via the concepts of quantity and quality. Quantity tends to be a focus on outward expansion - spreading out by adding more and more. Quality tends to be a focus on inward contraction - discovering higher value in less.  

Of course nothing is totally male or female. This is already guaranteed just by the fact that in their Source, Oneness and Infinity are the same reality. Therefore, their lower reflections retain a reminder of the original Male/Female seamlessness by ensuring that every male contains some female and every female contains some male.  Consequently, every male expansion will be marked by some female contraction. Without the introduction of quality that comes with a female inner contraction, the outer expansion falls apart.

Imagine a company making great expansive strides into many new markets without a commensurate strengthening of internal operations. Obviously, such a situation can’t indefinitely produce success. To avoid getting stretched too thin, the company needs to enhance the quality of its internal operations.

The flip side is also true; every female contraction contains some male expansion.  For example, picture a woman seeking to enhance her inner self by expanding her family and/or her circle of close friends. Sometimes such personal life expansions lead to expansions in physical property as well to accommodate the new scale.

With a clearer understanding of male and female, we can now return to the story of the the sun and moon. Essentially, the story is about the male and female descent into giver/receiver roles, a saga which continues until the moon’s dramatic liberation allows male and female to emerge as twin reflections of Infinity/Oneness. Understanding their story properly, requires clarifying the distinction between each of their lights. The sun and moon’s light must be distinct; otherwise, this leads to several issues: (1) each would render the other redundant (2) doing the exact same job is purposeless and (3) there would be no gender differentiation, identifying one as male and the other as female?

I groped for the distinction between the lights while I wrote my landmark essay called, “Future Couple”. In that essay, I had offered several possibilities which mainly focused on identifying the unique feature of the moon’s light during the messianic era.  Yet, none of my own suggestions truly satisfied my heart. So I left them on the page, as a collection of mere passing considerations. With the tides of time, arrived greater clarity and “as a cork ready to pop”, I felt an inward urge to essay my newly pent up understanding of lunar illumination and by extension all that’s feminine.

The purpose of the sun’s light is more obvious to us than the purpose of the moon’s light. The sun light’s primarily illuminates our outside world, allowing us to clearly see as we need to. However, other than offering a pale drop of light into a looming nocturnal sea of darkness, what’s the moon’s real purpose?  

Unlike the sun’s light, the moon’s light primarily illuminates our inner world, our inner space. When compared to the sun, the moon barely has a presence in outer space, not so much because she’s been diminished, but, rather because her main work is within inner space by illuminating our personalities and emotions.  While the sun emits physical light, the moon projects emotional light.  These celestial roles simply extend from the notion that maleness reflects Infinity and femaleness reflects Oneness. As an inevitable outcome of this paradigm, the role of the sky’s male, the sun, is to illuminate the vastness of outer life, while the role of the sky’s female, the moon, is to illuminate the compacted zone of inner life.

This matches up very well with the main influence western astrology ascribes to the moon. Wherever the moon appears on a western astrological chart, she’s usually channeling a flow of emotional abundance into a certain area of life. Not surprisingly, people born during the zodiac sign of the lunar dominated crab are considered very sentimental.

The presence of a strong emotional side to the celestial crab also compatible with Jewish astrology, which ascribes the power of sight to the Hebrew month of Tammuz; the month associated with this zodiac sign. In Jewish astrology, the twelve powers associated with the zodiac signs are primarily soul powers. Given this context, it’s likely that the power of sight isn’t primarily referring to earthly sight, but, rather to “soul sight” - viewing with one’s inner self.

With both inner and outer sight being of equal importance, both lights should have an equal presence in our lives. If so, why did the moon beg for inequality?  Quite possibly she was concerned that if both lights were on equal footing, they’d compete for humanity’s attention. By her reaction, it is evident that she wanted to give primacy to the richness and spirituality of inner life over the largely mundane involvements with the outer world. On the surface, her concern seems valid. Spiritual growth touches on the whole purpose of creation. Worldly endeavors should not outpace devotional activities.

It seems like the Creator agreed with her general concern. However, not with the solution she had hoped for. The Creator might of had a concern of His own that a humanity wrapped up in a rich inner life would, at best, pay only cursory attention to outer life.  He wanted His world developed and such efforts require focus on outer life. Besides, humanity’s very first test took outer focus - as the snake and the tree were both entities outside of Adam and Eve. If passed, the sun and moon would have immediately reverted to equal stature. In theory, the diminishment was going to be immediately remedied.

However, this didn’t happen. The test wasn’t passed and the moon remained in her diminished state.  In her reduced state her spiritual vibes radiated too softly to reach people with as much impact as the more obvious radiation of her solar counterpart. As a result, among humans inner life became passively secondary to the overriding demands of the outer world, such as earning a livelihood and raising children.  

With our inner emotional signals overtaken by a sea of outer stimuli, it is often difficult to truly hear the voice of one’s heart.  At times, a person has to tune into very refined inner subtlety in order to truly hear. This helps explain why settings designed to draw out deeper and more intimate emotions, often rely on a combination of decreasing unwanted outer stimuli and managing wanted outer stimuli, compatible with the emotions trying to be reached. For example, think of a delicately crafted Japanese garden or a well planned art museum. With such techniques, humans allow for a taste of the moon’s future role in the present.

In the future era, the moon will regain her full stature. Her signals will be strengthened.  Consequently, focusing on inner life will be considered at least as valuable as focusing on outer life. It will be an era marked by people deeply caring for each other and placing special emphasis on the art of prayer. For many it will be their very first taste of what it means to truly care for another and to really pray. During this upcoming era, the Creator will demonstrate His Love for humanity as never before. He’ll show them special favor by sharing with them fresh divine mysteries and bringing them into the sacred emotional space of a uniquely special relationship with Him.

            --------------------------------------------O-------------------------------------------