Posts Tagged netzach
Endurance within Indwelling Presence
We’re on the home stretch toward Shavuot as we enter the last Shabbat of this year’s Omer journey. Having gotten this far on this daily practice is evidence of a certain kind of endurance, but it is just a hint of the kind of endurance we all need throughout our lives. One component of creating a new reality, or recognizing the new Reality which surrounds us daily, is patience. An important component of endurance is patience. The practice of meditation, an ancient Jewish practice as well as a spiritual technique used by many other religious traditions, is one of building the kind of internal patience needed to contribute to a world where Presence is not only present (which it is all the time) but a world where we are aware of that Presence. The Hebrew word for meditation is Hitbonenut, based on the root word Boneh, which refers to building. Let this Shabbat be one where we meditate, be in joy during Shabbat, and build our spiritual connections.
Endurance within Foundation
The old song “inch by inch, row by row, we’re gonna make this garden grow’ seems appropriate for the theme of this day of Counting the Omer. Effort, diligence, determination are the necessary building blocks for any strong structure, whether that is a physical one like a house, or a spiritual practice like daily expressions of gratitude. Today, Shabbat, we recognize that small acts that add up are not necessarily the kinds of work we avoid on Shabbat, but can be smiles, offers of assistance, harmonizing with someone else’s Shabbos melody, shaking hands with a newcomer at services or opening a book we’ve been meaning to read for a long time. Goals that require slow, steady effort may seem beyond attaining, but, throughout Jewish history, it has been those that have endured. Jewish history is an unbroken story of endurance, leaving a legacy of a strong foundation for us to build upon today.
Endurance within Splendor
It’s almost Shabbat. We’ve all endured a long and challenging week, each with our own individual challenges. Shabbat comes as a reward…we can enjoy the Splendor of Shabbat.
Indwelling Presence within Endurance
Today is a day to remember that the Source/the Force/the Holy Oneness is always with us, a wellspring of strength that helps us persevere through pain, anger and fear. This past week has been overfilled with disaster and tragedy, a week where the energy of Netzach, persistence, was unfortunately necessary. Boston Marathon bombings, terror suspects bringing a huge city to a halt, and a disastrous earthquake…and, of course, the many tragedies that make few headlines because we have become immune to the deaths due to uncontrolled guns and civil wars, to malnutrition, neglect and domestic violence. Today, let us remember that helpers, the heroes, the survivors, all those who, fueled by compassion and morality, fight to help us recognize the humanity behind the tragedy. May we all recognize that Presence within us calls each of us to right action and gives us the energy to endure.
Foundation within Endurance
Yesod, ‘Foundation’, is often considered the seat of the ego. When our egos are well formed and carefully tended they tend not to grow out of proportion. A healthy ego is the foundation of a charitable, kind, confident and self-reflective person. It is this kind of foundation that helps keep us grounded as we move daily, little by little, toward our goals….or, at the very least, help us navigate around the obstacles in our path!
Splendor within Endurance
Hod can be conceptualized as the ’splendor of variety’. As such, it points us toward examining details, appreciating the subtleties that differentiate two almost identical things. I am reminded of how farmers understand the microclimates of their fields, how wine connoisseurs can taste a wine and know it’s ‘terroir’ (the special characteristics of geography, geology and climate of a certain place which are expressed in it’s agricultural products). When we delight in the details of variety, we can’t be bored. When we value diversity, we are more inclined to explore, examine, appreciate and accept new experiences, new people, new tastes. Increasing tolerance leads to increasing endurance; we persist in our endeavors when they are more interesting to us!
May the day bring the kind of diversity that leads to ’staying power’!
Endurance within Endurance
That steady ‘keepin’ going’ energy that helped the Boston authorities capture the fugitive, that helped tired hospital workers who could not leave the hospital work and work and work, that allowed parents with energetic children stay in their homes all day, that…that…that. We can all appreciate how Netzach helped Boston…but more, how Netzach energy is necessary for all our daily tasks….heroic or not, and how it accumulates as we move through the challenges of our lives.
Discernment within Endurance
Sounds rather abstract, “discernment within endurance”, but it’s really a quality most of us use daily and value highly. We pay attention today on the ability to focus on something as a way to help us accomplish whatever it is we are trying to do. Accomplishing anything, from baking a cake to writing a Ph.D. thesis, from sweeping the floor to teaching a child how to ride a bicycle, requires the quality of focused attention directed toward a goal. Today, let’s think of some larger issues as well that could us that kind of energy: seeking a new approach toward peace in the Middle East, finding the source of the bombs in Boston, enacting some sane gun control, just for a few examples. If nothing else, let’s direct our prayers in those directions today!
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.
Endurance within Discernment
Endurance, persistence, perseverance…all ways to describe continuing effort. When we overcome obstacles by applying stamina, whether physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual, we become more strong (strength being another description of Gevurah!). Think of how the quiet, constant flow of a river wears down stones, or goes around them and still gets downstream. Just as stones are not barriers to water applied over time, the barriers we seem to encounter in life can be gently eroded. Building up strength slowly, as every person in physical therapy, rehabilitation or an exercise program knows, is most effective. As Day 11 coincides with Shabbat this year, we celebrate the spiritual stamina that has kept us, as a people, strong over thousands of years.