These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Zen Judaism

Posted on January 24, 2011 by Michael

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The root of the Hebrew word for love—AHAVA—is Hav; to give. To give one’s mind to Gd in a gesture of mutual love is to receive Gd in every moment; to live a life of contemplation, to silence the ego thoughts and desires in order to receive Gd waving to us at all times eternally.

And the only thing we can “give” to Gd is receive Gd’s love in every moment by experiencing all as Gd.

This is what it says in the Shema: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our GD, the LORD is One.”

Gd is giving you everything, and Gd only asks that you listen. And Gd has given a Torah, and other sublime texts, to help you to rule yourself with your good heart, in order to receive the gift of hearing Gd speak to you through all your senses, emotions, thoughts, and intuitions. One.

We have been conditioned to see ourselves as separate, our fragile egos as real and in need of protection. Once we see everything in our experienced consciousness as our Self, then we are unified, we feel interconnected, and our illusion is dissolved. We are not separate beings.

Entertain the idea that you are not separate. Try to realize that who you think you are is only a symbol, a social tool that you use in order to react to others and understand yourself in social situations. This symbol is built on memories from the past, which do not exist except for in your mind. Your mind is constantly creating images and sounds from past experiences, automatically and on its own, in response to your ego-perspective. You can take control of your mind by letting go of the idea of yourself as separate, which is an illusion planted in you by people who want to reap profit from you. When you let go of that idea, your body/mind will respond by opening up a whole new world of truth, of knowledge of unity and interconnectedness, which is the way that human beings were meant to experience Gd.

It is simply a matter of switching perspectives. Such a subtle but infinitely important switch! Learn to see every aspect of your conscious experience as your Self, which is Gd speaking to you. Stop focusing on the symbol of yourself that society has created for you; instead, learn to see every movement, every glimmer of light, every taste, every sound, every face that crops up before your eyes, as YOU doing your thing. Shift your sense of Self from ‘in here’ to ‘out there,’ and then you will see the obvious, which is that they are one and the same. The only thing that is really ‘in here,’ which is fundamentally ‘yours’ and no one else’s, is your vantage point.

The tricky part is that your vantage point comes with a mind>body that is caught between an upward and downward tendency, which are the good and evil inclinations. The most potent way to fight this battle is actually extremely pleasurable, which is to live in contemplation. To contemplate Gd in every moment by seeing Gd in every interaction; to see your Self waving to yourself through every passing moment; waves of pleasure and pain which are but two sides of the same coin; the yin and the yang, and to give up any desire to feel pleasure and avoid pain because that desire has been washed away by correct knowledge of interconnectedness.

Can you see it? Will you hear it, and know it?