Why is it so difficult to realize that body, mind and spirit are one and the same? That self and other, individual and collective, person and world, are the same? That the falling of the Temple, that which is most sacred and valued, is the same as the falling of that which is most sacred and valued within the self?
The Enemy destroyed the precious sanctuary of prayer and community. Inside the psyche, the forces of the darkness, perhaps unconscious habits and reactions, perhaps ignorance, perhaps weaknesses and lack of appropriate resources or appropriate timing, led to the destruction of one’s most praised qualities - maybe intelligence, or physical beauty, or youth, or strength, or loss of home, of land, of culture. Loss of parnasa, or work, or business.
My own personal temple has fallen in the hands of an enemy that I have regarded as being external, a harmful and and cruel other whose upper hand in home, society and money has led his violence to be abuse. But the raise of such enemy was only possible through that inside myself which led me to choose him as consort. This was by far not an act of God, but the doing of another in relationship with self, another that I was attracted to, and wish to live with.
The falling of the Temple led to loss, grief and suffering - in the Jewish people, and in my own personal story. A story of being wronged and victimized - and yet, here we are, and here I am, on this day which commemorates the falling of the sacred, not just offering our forgiveness, but primarily asking for forgiveness for our own wrongdoings. I do not see the confessions of wrongdoings as punishments but as means to awareness, to bringing the inner enemies to the light, and expose them, and by exposing them from their dark hiding, to use our conscious, intentional choice of performing TIKKUN - making amends. This is not a process unique to Judaism - you have the Tibetan practice of ‘feeding the demons’ and turning the inner dark forces into enlightened allies, thus growing strong. This is the essence of Western psychology and the integration of Shadow elements. There is nothing punitive about this process, but everything is integrative, restorative and healing. It’s not about returning to a goodness lost, but growing into goodness. We had what it took to build a Temple (twice!) but we lacked what it would have taken to defend it. And now we’re learning to grow strong, and as the country of Israel is demonstrating, we have developed enough strength to defend borders and that which we value.
On my personal level, I have endured great losses and pain, which have revealed to me my own areas of growth. I am exiled and ailing, but I am kinder, wiser, stronger and more skilled for living, loving and being of service than ever before, and certainly than before stepping into that difficult marriage.
Why is there such a widely spread assumption than others are more knowledgeable than we are? On my way home from the synagogue, I stopped at the park. When I left, I drove to explore a path, curious to see if there was another exit from the park, closer to home. The young woman who pulled out of the parking spot next to me followed, and when I turned around as we both realized there was no exit after all, our cars crossed and we looked at each other and laughed. She may have assumed that I knew what I was doing - there was no way for her to know that I was exploring, and not knowing.
It makes me wonder about how many instances we give up our inquisitive aspects of our minds and our openness to explore and trade it for the false reassurance that another can show us the way better than we can find it ourselves. I am not talking about competence-based expertise, but about big and small life dilemmas at literal and metaphorical cross-roads where we ask the counsellor, the doctor, the rabbi, or the angel communicator to tell us where to turn. We could explore, or check in with our embodied intuition, but we trust our gut less than we trust another who appears to be poised, confident, and knowledgeable. We’d rather run to experts in telling us what to do rather than coaches who instruct us how to uncover and access insights.
I’m thinking particularly about the Angel communicators - and channellers of sorts.
Are Angels beings of light who are separate entities from us, humans, who have a mysterious reason to want to help us with guidance, protection and healing?
Or are Angels potential archetypal qualities awaiting to be embodied? What is peace, love, harmony, curiosity, generosity, humour? Are these traits that humans develop through some kind of bio-chemical and physical reactions? Or are they pre-existing energies waiting and wanting to inhabit conscious beings - and we call them “Angels”? Do Angel communicators connect with someone outside of and separate from the self? Or do they draw wisdom from their own inner qualities, in their own language?
Where do any qualities come from, anyway? Not just human qualities, but traits of all and any conscious and sentient beings? I sat on a bench to eat an egg and some almonds (this year I’m not fasting, as I have been feeling weak and unwell). A seagull approached me vociferating his interest in my food. I gave him almonds and watched him fly low and abruptly towards other gulls, to shoo them away. He was clearly the strongest and had the highest status. How does that happen? How do little gull chicks break their egg and emerge out, one powerful and fierce, and another shy and submissive? This little guy had no fear. He walked so close to me, he almost touched my feet.
Where does this courage and strength come from?
I doubt he read the books, participated in the seminars and trained with black belt masters. What makes him courageous and strong, and earning of respect?
And what does this say to us, humans about our traits?
(C) Tana Saler September 2017