Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reflections on Elul

Our Jewish tradition tells us that Elul is the month of returning to our Creator. Some of our Sages call this process "repentance", a term that implies a return to the way things were before we made the choice of separating from Him. Some of our contemporaries compare it to rebooting a personal computer, and it may be so. After all, life as with computers, work with a "program" designed to function according to the information that it contains or that is provided. But we know that life is more complex than that, otherwise we would live as androids; though many people live like preprogrammed, preconditioned machines. The issue here is what kind of program or conditioning are those that make irrelevant free will and freedom, due to the fact that they turn people into responding and reacting entities based on how they were told to think, feel, behave and act.

This preamble is an invitation to reflect in who we really are, in our true identity as reasoning, thinking individuals endowed with emotions, feelings, passions and instincts. Where have we gone that we need to return to the Creator? How far are we from who we truly are? These are the questions that we ponder in Elul prior to stand before the One who created all there is. What "reality" is that which takes us away from Him, that makes us doubt and be uncertain about who we are? What is the original "program" set in the Essence of who we are? In the book "God as Love" we say countless times that God's Love is our Essence because we, as well as all His Creation, are an emanation of His Love; and Love is the ways and means to relate to Him and His Creation. Love is the program, the input and the outcome, the cause and the effect. Anything different from Love is what separates us from Love itself; and therefore from our Creator and all there is, because all comes from Him. Only with our full awareness of Love as our cause and effect in our lives are we able to stand up before God.
At this point in our reflections we realize that what is different from Love are the fantasies and illusions of ego's materialistic desires, the wrong "data" and the "viruses" that harm and damage the original program of human life, and life in general as well. In this sense, "repentance" implies a thorough, thoughtful and mindful process of detailed inventory of the things that harms and damages our life, the lives of others, and our environment. These things encompass thoughts, ideas, beliefs, social-cultural values, behavioral patterns, emotions, feelings and psychic/physical addictions. After we are done with the inventory of discerning the negative things that we do not want in our life and our surroundings, we must have the courage and determination to separate from them; simply because they were the choices made out of ego's illusions and feelings of lack. On one hand, we realize that lack is the belief and feeling of incompleteness; and on the other, that Love is what keeps our cup always full. This is the awareness (the anointment) that we need to bear constantly in our mind and heart, so our life (the cup) will be constantly full of Love: "You have anointed my head with oil, my cup overflows" (Psalms 23:5) after all, if God's Love is our sustenance and guidance, what shall we lack? "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack" (23:1)
It is not an easy process after an entire lifetime of conditioning based on the wrong education we have received throughout thousands of years. Neither easy to wipe out within a month. However, if we have the courage not only to face our ego's fantasies and illusions but also to endure their outcome, there is indeed a blessing in our pain and suffering because through them we realize that negativity is what we don't need in our individual and collective lives. How much pain and suffering, sadness and depression have we created and still create in the world as if it is not already enough? In "God as Love" we say that we believe that life and the world are to be lived and enjoyed as the original Garden of Eden that was meant to be and it is meant to be, and Love is the way to return there.
Let's then return together as the Psalmist reminds us how in the six verses of one of his praises to the Creator:
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack. In lush meadows He lays me down [in the abundance of His Love as our Essence and identity]; beside tranquil waters He leads me [Love's thoughts directing our actions]. He restores my soul [Love sustains and nurtures our consciousness of God's Love even when we separate from Him]. He leads me on paths of righteousness for His Name's sake [Love's ways are all righteous because they are inherent to Him]. Though I walk in the valley overshadow by death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me [even if we walk in the darkness of negative desires and illusions, Love as our true Essence does not forsake us because Love is who we are]. Your rod and your staff [Love's ways and attributes], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in full view of my tormentors [we are able to recognize that Love is greater than any material illusion, because Love transcends the material world. Love is the table full of His attributes in contrast to the lack derived from negativity, our tormentor]. You anointed my head with oil, my cup overflows [when we become aware of God's Love as our own Love we are totally fulfilled]. [And in this sublime knowledge may we always live in the awareness of Love in every dimension of our consciousness:] May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for long years" (Psalm 23)
May our reflections on returning to God's Love, to Love as our true identity lead us to remove all negativity from our lives and our surroundings, and from that which is unnecessary in the world we live in. And may only Love and His attributes fill the world with His Glory, as it is and as it always has been. Amén.

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From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.