Posts Tagged Chesed
Lovingkindness within Indwelling Presence
Today we enter the final week of Counting the Omer for this year. This seventh week is like Shabbat, a pause, an opportunity to reflect, refresh. We envision the world we desire and pray for, a world at peace. Lovingkindness flows into this final week, blending transcendent and immanent energies. We join our individual compassion with that of others, multiplying its power and bring that combined force into the Presence that dwells within us. What a force for the Good, for the Holy, for the Possible. Let us begin this final week of the Omer with enthusiasm and hope. We CAN change the world.
Lovingkindness within Foundation
Jewish tradition maintains that at all times there are 36 especially righteous people in the world, and that were it not for them, the world would come to an end. Of course, since we don’t know who these people are, it is a good practice to consider each person you meet as one of them. Perhaps the grumpy check-out person at the supermarket is really holding up the world. It may be that your child’s baseball coach, or the librarian, or the teenager hanging out on the corner is one of those special thirty six. It might be your rabbi, your grandchild, or even you. If we treated each person we encountered that way, we could transform the world.
Endless lovingkindness is holding up the foundation of the world today. Celebrate that fact by adding your own unique dose of demonstrating compassion and caring today.
Lovingkindness within Splendor
Compssion sometimes is manifest in small, surprising ways. I’m reminded of the song with the line “Hello, in there”, referring to the humanity we can see in strangers we encounter, when we remember to really SEE them. I suppose I’m particularly aware of that tonight, since I’m in Manhattan, which I sometimes forget is so full of people! Going for a long walk on city streets, passing a huge variety of people hurrying about their business in their busy-ness, I remember the unspoken prohibition against making eye contact with them. A smile on the street from a stranger can have powerful impact here – is it an invitation? a come-on? should I be afraid? What if I am the person initiating that smile? A little bit of caring, even if it’s just to move aside to allow a person in a hurry to pass me on the crowded sidewalk, can mean a lot. The many miniature impacts of such caring multiply, a manifestation of splendor!
Lovingkindness within Endurance
Every life requires endurance, the ability to keep going even when the going is rough, when we can’t find our way, when we wake up confused and go to bed befuddled. Sometimes just getting out of bed and finding the toothbrush seems difficult. Sometimes remembering that there are things we really enjoy and want to do seems difficult. When we are in those kind of states, for whatever reason (or for no apparent reason) what often helps us keep going is remembering love. That remembering could be of a person who cared for us many years ago, or a friend with whom we’ve lost contact, or a parent who died. It could be thinking of someone we’ve just met and found interesting, or of someone we’ve been meaning to call for a cup of coffee. Sometimes it’s remembering that we were all created in love, and that it’s kindness that keeps the evils of the world at bay. A familiar prayer says: “We are loved by an unending love”. That IS Chesed she b’Netzach…the everflowing love of the Holy Oneness that supports our endurance daily.
Lovingkindness within Harmony
This third week of Counting the Omer focuses on Tiferet, the energy of harmony, balance and beauty. Tiferet is like a lens that magnifies the beauty inherent in everything, the dynamic balance that sustains everything.
Today Chesed, Lovingkindness serves as fuel for Tiferet. Imagine the flow of love as the source of balance and harmony in the world. We sense contact with God when we are in awe, encountering unexpected beauty, sweet harmony, and sudden tenderness. Just as Miriam the Prophetess gave the water of life to all who came near her, feeding their deepest needs, the flow of Chesed enters our hearts and feeds our needs, perpetuating our own fundamental and unique harmonies.
Malchut/Shechina she b’Chesed
One week! In Jewish tradition, seven is the number of completion. Shabbat is the seventh day, when we rest, recuperate, integrate, praise, love and prepare to grow. The marriage ceremony incorporates seven circles. We stop seven times on the final journey from funeral coach to gravesite, marking a completed life, escorting someone to their final rest. We mark a complete week of counting, starting this seven week journey by immersing ourselves in the endless flow of lovingkindness. Malchut/Shechina brings it all together into manifestation. May our awareness of endless love be as complete as possible this seventh day of counting
Yesod she b’Chesed Foundation within Lovingkindness
Jewish tradition teaches that each generation stands on the shoulders of the last. Thus we are able to see farther into the future by standing high, on a firm foundation. Today we remember that this entire pyramid of generations is supported by story, memory and love. Without the foundation, the pyramid, like a tower of cheerleaders, can tumble. The parade of generations is like a caravan over time, where precious cargo is guarded lovingly and passed on at each oasis.
Day 5 of the Counting of the Omer 2013
Hod she b’Chesed
Splendor within Lovingkindness
Of the many interpretations of Hod, the one that most resonates is splendor — the amazing variety of everything in creation. Today we focus on diversity within lovingkindness…the many ways love is expressed in the world. The current discussions about the definition of marriage reflect the fact loving relationships are heterogeneous. It was not too many years ago that marriage between two people of different races was illegal; now it is not. Families built by adoption were rare, but families created through surrogacy were just a dream. When we recognize the many ways endless compassion and caring are manifest in the world, we open ourselves even more in the journey toward revelation in which we are engaged this Omer season.
Day 2 of Omer counting
Gevurah she b’Chesed
Appropriate boundaries within endless lovingkindness
How necessary are those boundaries, defined with love. This is the essence of ‘tough love’, or parenting, or dog training (which I’m in the midst of). Personally, if I don’t remember to set those boundaries, to exercise restraint, I have a tendency to just give and give and give…and then end up exhausted, or frustrated. Self-care is discernment, well applied.
Blessings to all for careful self-care for this day of counting. Remembering, that, in the grand scheme of things, YOU count.
Tiferet she b’Chesed
Harmony/Balance within Lovingkindness
If we think of Chesed as endless flow of endless Love, then Harmony within that flow turns it into melody, the music of compassion. Keeping balance in the complex lives we lead is challenging….we can, today, focus on the availability of the exact amounts of the rights kinds of compassion that will help us readjust to changing realities. Facing tragedies of death or major accidents, challenges of mental illness or chronic health conditions, the demands of dynamic work requirements and the needs of family and friends, we need to keep ourselves in balance. Tiferet she b’Chesed helps us.