Last week, on the holiday of Shavuot, I led a workshop at the Berkeley JCC. After talking a bit about awakening as the transcending of mind and the opening to Oneness/God that is Reality, someone raised his hand with a question. He said, “I’ve heard about the state you’re talking about, but it seems you have to be a spiritual superman to achieve it. What about the rest of us?” This is a common misconception that our minds tend to come up with: the mind imagines that it must be super human to overcome itself. But the truth is actually just the opposite!
In the Talmud (Tractate Megilla 31a), there is a powerful expression of this principle: “Rabbi Yokhanan said: Wherever you find the greatness of the Holy Blessed One, there you will also find Its humility… as it is written, ‘For so says the Exalted and Uplifted One, Who abides eternally, “I abide in exaltedness and holiness but I am with the contrite and lowly of spirit, to revive the hearts of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).
The mind tends to make a duality: exalted spirituality one hand, and our own ordinary imperfection on the other. But this remarkable quote by Rabbi Yokhanan reminds us otherwise! As long as we imagine God, enlightenment, Oneness or whatever to be something separate and other, we will remain far from it. But there is another possibility: drop the duality and open to the ordinariness. Admit your flaws, but don’t remain in judgment about them. Let the Light shine through reality as it meets you, now. As the quote says- “…to revive the hearts of the contrite”- this is not just metaphor. This reviving, healing Light is available when you let it into the ordinariness of this moment, when you open to the symphony of Being that is this moment. Enjoy!
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