Posts Tagged Yesod
Foundation within Indwelling Presence
In building construction, the best foundations are often not the most rigid, but the ones that are designed to deal with changing soil and weather conditions. Our spiritual foundations need to have the same kind of resiliency, adaptability, flexibility to respond to the changing conditions of our inner landscapes. As we get VERY close to Shavuot, we realize that we have no idea what may be coming. All we can do, every day, actually, is to cultivate the kind of inner plasticity to ‘roll with the punches’ as difficulties arise, delight in good surprises when they come, and maintain our deep connection with the Source of All. This kind of foundation dwells deep within the Presence…and in each of us.
Indwelling Presence within Foundation
The Zohar says that if the world contains just one righteous person, that person sustains the world. Each of us has the opportunity to be that righteous person, to be the pillar that upholds the world. Remembering today that the Divine Presence is always within us, surrounding us, upholding us, inspiring us, we can find the inner motivation toward righteousness. We are part of a “Kingdom of Priests”; each of us is majestic, part of the Great Majesty. Today we treasure that inner Presence, allowing it to fortify our own foundations.
Foundation within Foundation
Or, perhaps, Foundation UPON Foundation. Some of you, my readers, know that I used to teach Architecture and Planning. In those fields, it was essential to know, in details, how each component of a building’s foundation functioned. Forces were carefully calculated, materials specified and details designed for stability, strength and appropriate flexibility for the soil conditions, building use, weather, etc. Today, we focus on the spiritual equivalent. Our inner structures are also made up on individual parts which we develop and nurture over the course of our lives. Under all, above all, and throughout all of these elements is the Element of the Divine, the ultimate support and design. Our individual spirits are the building blocks out of which G-d is fashioning the world each moment.
Splendor within Foundation
In Biblical tradition, forty days signifies a sufficient amount of time for major transition to occur (40 days of the Great Flood, Moses on the mountain receiving instruction etc.). As we mark 40 days of Counting the Omer, we recognize that paying attention daily to where we are in the journey of our lives is an important spiritual practice. Each element of our awareness is essential, but when those elements interact, the miraculous is possible. Each day we build the connective tissue of the world we are creating, the varied parts holding each other up.
Today we celebrate the tiny parts of the integrated whole we are co-creating with the Holy One. Each of us plays a part, recognizing we are part of a Great Oneness. After these five weeks and five days of counting, we see glimpses of the possible; we are getting very close to whatever will be revealed to us at Shavuot. It is not just the ancient communal Revelation that is important, though it is, but the personal revelations that appear to each of us, as we are prepared to receive them. May the splendor we recognize today help build the kind of foundation upon which we can stand strongly as we get ready for the great encounter at Shavuot.
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.
Harmony within Foundation
Harmony is a function of more than one factor interacting in a way that enhances the whole. When the factors that influence our lives are in balance, we are more focused, stronger and stand on more stable footing. When our equilibrium is disturbed through challenging life events we could not control, we can find ourselves out of balance. The structures we have carefully constructed from the elements of our lives can become wobbly and unstable. Today we focus on developing and maintaining balance to stabilize our inner structures. Like a highrise building with special foundations characterized by the ability to respond to earthquakes with flexibility, our lives stand on more stable foundations when influenced by balance and harmony.
Discernment within Foundation
Discernment of proper actions is necessary in building anything that will last. The difference between a long lasting rock wall and a pile of rubble is in the accurate selection and placement of stones and meticulous application of mortar. This is also true in our lives: using careful discernment we can build the foundation for a long-lasting relationship, a robust congregation or a sturdy organization.
When we go through long periods of training, we are aiming for excellence. We examine what needs to improve, set goals, gather our determination and take aim. This process, whether sports or professional skills, music or accounting, is very similar. Discernment, applied well, leads to developing a strong foundation upon which a solid future can stand!
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.
Foundation within Splendor
The foundations of our lives are built on our cumulative experience and the knowledge we have gathered along the way. We are all several ’selves’– our most private self of inner thoughts and responses, our ‘family self’, our ‘friend self’, the self we display at work, in the neighborhood or at public events. Each is a response to a different set of expectations, yet each is also based on a foundational self–the one that is our ‘bottom line’ of ethical behavior, of automatic caring and of our deepest loves. Today we remember that underpinning of all of our selves…the yesod that holds us up, in all of our splendor.
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!