Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Succot Reflection on Happiness

Happiness seems to come in two flavors: "just because" and "because of". The "just because" variety is beyond reason. It's simply inherent. If you are spiritually alight, you are happy, The "because of" variety requires a life situation prop. The prop could be a new friend, a raise, an accomplishment, a new idea, a date, a marriage, etc. 

The festival of Succot offers both flavors of happiness. It is referred to in the Torah as the "harvest festival". It's the time of the year when we sit amid a vast amount of bounty and thank the One Who gave it to us. We begin the Holiday happy "because of". 

As we continue the festival into the second night, we arrive at the "Celebration of the water drawing". Our sages remark that anyone who has not seen this celebration has never ever seen happiness at all. This celebration is sheer happiness with abandon! It's a happiness "just because".

(Though this water drawing celebration took place in Jerusalem's Temple while it still stood, countless Jewish communities do have Succot celebrations named after this celebration. I am sure that if one is properly tuned in, one can experience a  sheer happiness with abandon during one of these Succoth celebrations.)

To me the lesson is, that sometimes happiness works like a ladder. It's possible that one may first need to experience a happiness  "because of" before experiencing a happiness of "just because". Therefore, it's good to latch onto any reason to be happy, even if it feels like an excuse, because it may an opening leading further to purer levels of happiness.



Monday, September 21, 2015

Taste the Now

Your heart has a delicate tongue,
 Which can taste the subtle divine.

With a plentiful variety of tastes,
  They make for a very, very long list.

High on the list is a potent drop,
 A spark of the Messiah's own light.

Rebbe Nachman leads the way,
 Teaching us, "Live in the moment."

Be absorbed in God's gift of “now”.
 It’s the highest faith, a light so sweet.


Why Pride?

Why pride in writing a poem?
 I wrote an already written poem.

Why pride in financial gain?
 I earned already earned money.

Why pride in being someone's love?
 I wooed she who was already wooed.

Why pride in conceptual growth?
 I absorbed already absorbed ideas.

Why pride in my depth of prayers?
 I prayed already prayed prayers.

Why pride in helping the needy?
 I merely helped the already helped.

So why do I think I'm "doing"?
 It's the illusion of fragmentation.

So what's a human's accomplishment?
 To be a "willing" vessel for the King's use.


Stratified Fishing

We're immersed in a spiritual sea,
An ocean of varied stratified depth.
We inhabit a tiny earth realm,
An air bubble in midst of the sea;
A bubble of bare significance,
A mere drop in a vast watery enclave.
Can we reach outside the bubble?
Yes, not with hands, with our souls.
Shorter souls reach nearby strata,
While longer souls reach further out.
Each strata has unique species of fish,
Packets of light awaiting soulful grasp.
Those closer in are plentifully caught,
While those further out, rarely reached.
They're on reserve for longer souls,
Whose soul length extends out there.
They have special fishing methods,
But don't try them, unless you're them;
For any absence in soul length,
Will render their methods useless.
Best to befriend the longer souls.
Then they'll share their unique catch.
The taste may be second hand,
But still better than your own cuisine.
Yet don't abandon your own gatherings,
For they help you digest the higher fish.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Don't buy the line that spiritually speaking there's no hierarchy. That's only true in the Ultimate sense. It's not true in the relative reality where humans and even angels roam. For where there's no hierarchy there's no variety either. Wherever you see variety, know that hierarchy has paid a visit and planted his seeds.

Fishing for Light

If you find that few, if any, fish nibble, please consider the possibility that maybe your problem isn't a case of your line just skimming along on the surface of the water.

If your effort is real then you're trying. You are clearly beyond fishing superficially.

Perhaps, what's really happening is that you dropped your line far too deep, deeply past where your favorite schools of fish roam. Your line has simply traveled past them on its way down. It now dangles beyond their range.

Reel your line in a bit, closer to the surface. By adjusting its length, you'll meet up with your fish and bring them home.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Wheels of Love

The wheels of love keep spinning,
 A universe with life keeps teeming.

Love, its core nutritive element,
 Courses through each artery n' vein.

With it flowers keep on blossoming,
 And birds keep chirping sweet songs.

Generations of creatures come,
 And yes, ultimately they also go.

Love fills time with both Ebb and Flow,
 As both actors dance on the same stage.

King David pleaded for length of life,
 Until he was shown Solomon's reign.

Its glorious vision dazzled his eyes.
 And in love, his request was retracted.

Love's the only true Divine emanation.
 All else is mere clothing layered over.

Ensure love's your core expression too.
 So you will succeed in imitating His ways.