These and Those

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

[Alumni Guest Post] Aryeh Ben David – What is Spiritual Education?

Posted on December 3, 2012 by The Director of Digital Media

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Posted by Aryeh Ben David (Year '80)
On the Ayeka Blog:

(These thoughts were influenced by Parker Palmer’s A Life Unidvided)

Holding the space for souls to reveal. Soul evoking soul. If I had to summarize Judaism in a sentence it might be: souls evoking souls. Sympathetic vibrations of our souls. First – I pluck the soul string of my life – and that evokes the sympathetic vibration of another’s soul string. I don’t have to pluck his string. I don’t have to do anything to him. If I do it authentically to myself – it will have the result of his being moved, being moved without him even moving himself. His soul string will be plucked, and then he will realize what happened. He will become conscious and aware of what is going on within himself.

We need to create the space for our soul strings to be plucked. A place of quiet, of sincerity, of authenticity, of caring and love. A place of “kol d’m’ma daka.” A place of whispering. Not a place of clamoring.

Spiritual space of whispering. לוחש תפילה. Why “lochesh?” whispering because it is precious and noise will break it. softly.

Creating a space for reflection and personal integrity. Time for reflection allows personal integrity. Life happens very fast. Often we don’t know how to react. We don’t know the perfect thing to say or do. Then what happens? What happens after the student insults another student in class and I don’t react? What happens next? When will I ever regain that moment? When will I learn from that moment?

Only through stopping, reflecting in a safe space on what I did right and wrong, what I could have done, why I feel this pain. Let the pain become part of the process, let the pain become the learning experience – when I reflect and learn from it. When the brokenness brings me to a greater inner unity. Only through reflection and safe space – will I become whole.

Education in which the soul is allowed to emerge. Education in which the inner life of a person can become known. Education in which the person can begin to know himself better, to become more united, to become more authentically himself.

Education in which one soul touches another soul. Education in which one soul evokes another soul. Education in which the strings of one’s inner life are strummed.

I am in hiding. I am in exile. You see me, but only the outer me. My inner self is hiding. I cannot reveal myself to you. You are not safe for me. How can you become safe for me? How can you invite my inner self to emerge?

Only if you promise not to do damage. Not to invade, to judge, to ignore. If I sense anything fearful, by commission or mission, I will retreat. I will return to hiding.

Don’t be impatient. Don’t repeat the sin of Gan Eden. Don’t rush me. Don’t invalidate my revealing, my pace. Don’t hurry me, I am moving according to the voice of my soul which may be different than yours. Stay with me, hold the space.

Ribono Shel Olam allows me to emerge – through promising to forgive.

But do you? Can you resist from asserting your own inner life upon mine. Thrusting yourself onto me. I am different. I am unknown – but seek to be known. Or gnuz. I yearn to be revealed.

Make it safe for me. I am crying with fear. Are we friends? Can you live with my inner life? My secrets?

Can you stand near, at my border, and salute me? Can you protect the voice of my soul?