Lessons in Presence:
teachings, chants and meditations
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Hi friends! This week's chant is based on a Shlomo Carlbach melody for the Havdallah prayer chanted traditionally on Saturday nights to come out of Shabbat. This version focuses on the first line of this prayer, followed by meditation. Enjoy!
Hinei El Yeshuati, Eftakh V'lo Efkhad
Ki Azi V'Zimrat Yah, Hashem Vay'hi Li Lishua-
Behold, the Divine is my salvation, I will trust and not fear!
For my strength and my song is Yah- The Divine is a salvation for me!
Video Teaching Transcription:
You probably know that you can’t trust just anyone. Trust in a person is a very special thing that usually has to be earned. And when you’re with someone you trust, you know that you can relax that part of your mind and heart that’s often on guard in day-to-day life. You can drop that inner tension that accumulates from concern, from worry, from weighing options and navigating life, at least in relation to your companion, because you trust them.
What you may not know, or may have forgotten, is that the openness and connectedness you get from being with someone you trust is already there on the deepest level of your own being. That’s because behind your thoughts and your feelings, your awareness is always already open, always radiant and alive. So the trustworthy person doesn’t create something new within you, but simply helps you connect with what’s already there.
But if you don’t know that, it will seem like your well-being is totally dependent on your external environment. If your situation produces trust, then you feel trust. If your situation is threatening or hostile, then you feel closed and stressed and so on.
But if you learn to live from the deepest level of your being as awareness rather than as your mind and emotions, then you can live more and more in a state of continuous openness and trust. That doesn’t mean that you trust things on the external level that are untrustworthy or that you start making stupid decisions, it just means that you have no resistance to whatever arises in the moment. There’s a basic trust that Reality is unfolding as it should. Again, you still may feel anger or fear or whatever when life triggers those emotions, and believe me it will, but from the point of view of Presence, those emotions are simply arising in the moment along with everything else, and so they come and then they go. You may care deeply about something and take action, but then you let go of outcome, and behind it all is this simple trust and openness for how everything is unfolding.
And that’s what it means to trust in God. It means that regardless of what happens, you trust the unfolding of this moment, because on the level of Presence, you’re not something separate from this moment. Things aren’t happening to you, they’re simply the unfolding of Reality, the unfolding of God, and you’re not separate from that.
When you can really feel that you’re not separate from anything, then you also get free from fear. Again, fear arises from trying to protect or preserve something, which are valid and necessary functions of your mind, and your emotions give you the feeling of fear as a signal to alert you to some danger. But on the level of Presence, Reality is all there is, God is all there is, so there’s nothing to protect or preserve. Meaning, you still may feel fear as an alert to some physical danger, but psychologically, your not carrying fear around with you, because there’s not that sense of separate “me” that has to be protected.
This truth is expressed in a verse from Isaiah chapter 12 verse 2- Hinei El Yeshuati eftakh v’lo efkhad- Behold the Divine is my salvation, I shall trust and not fear. Meaning, you’re saved from by your own mind and emotions, from being dependent on external situations, because your deepest identity is Divine- which means that you’re not separate from anything that arises in the moment.
Then it says, Ki ozi v’zimrat Yah- For my strength and my song is the Divine. In other words, if you want to connect with your Divine nature, if you want to open to your inherent trust and be free from fear, then remember to sing, because being with these prayers as they vibrate within your body connects you to this deepest level of your own being. So let’s chant these words together and then we’ll go into meditation.