Sunday, December 1, 2013

Yearnings (recommended book): Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life

www.clal.org
Has there ever been a time when you felt like you were cracking up, when your life seemed to be falling apart and you didn’t know how to pick up the pieces, let alone put them back in place?
 

Here’s a revolutionary thought:
“Maybe [Humpty Dumpty] didn’t want to be put back together again; to be an egg full of the promise of life but giving birth to nothing… What if what really happened is that he hatched?”
According to Rabbi Irwin Kula, those times when we feel most overwhelmed and confused by “the too-muchness of life” can be our greatest opportunities for wisdom and innovation. 

Yearnings is intended for Jews and non-Jews alike. There are clear explanations of the purpose behind such traditions as Yom Kippur, Passover, and the Sabbath. There are also fascinating new takes on well-known Bible stories, and how they might help us come to terms with our own feelings and dilemmas:
I always think of the Biblical stories as a kind of Rorschach test; when a character’s actions spark within us an emotional reaction of some kind… it’s time to look further… [The] rage of Cain, the despair of Noah… the lust of King David; they’re all in me. I may not have known these selves, or have denied, dismissed, or ignored them, but there they are, and they await my investigation.
Above all, this is a book about the paradox of yearning for what is always out of reach while at the same time experiencing gratitude for all that we have.

Yearning to feel satisfied and to let ourselves rest, despite living in a society where we’re pushed to overconsume and where “being busy and overwhelmed is a badge of honor."

Yearning for certainty but trusting that “that our best guess is good enough, that it will somehow lead us to a place of discovery, of new perspective, of a wider self."

The Biblical sages understood that the anxiety of not-knowing is the beginning of wisdom. There isn’t a single character in the Bible who understood beforehand the outcome of any journey he or she underwent. What makes these characters special is not that they are somehow superhuman, wiser, or more evolved. It’s that they don’t scale down their dreams to the size of their fears
In other words, they’re good role models for those times when we’re pushed off the wall. If we can peck our way out of our shells, we just might be able to fly.

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related posts:

Buddha Standard Time (recommended book)

True Refuge (recommended book)



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