The Eternal God is not the God of Abraham is not the God of Isaac is not the God of Jacob is not the God of Sarah is not the
God of Rebecca is not the God of my childhood is not the God of my youth is not the God of my adulthood is not the God of my old age is not the God of my dying is not the God of my imagining. The Eternal God is not my creation. The Eternal God
is not the God who chooses is not the God who commands is not the God who punishes is not the God who creates is not the God who destroys is not the God who makes me win is not the God who sees that my enemies lose. The Eternal God is not my creation The Eternal God is the God who alone exists and who exists alone. When I am free from ancestors, free from traditions, free from truths, free from words, free from thoughts, free from even the need to be free, there is God, and there I am not. Blessed is the One at the heart of my emptiness.
You are the Source and Substance of Life: Birth and death, joy and sadness, success and failure, courage and fear -- all are You. All things and their complements come from You. All things and their complements are You. May I open my eyes to see You as You and not as I so desperately want You to be. May I see that time and eternity are but shadows of now, and that true immortality is to end time and awake to the deathless present that is You.
The One Who is the many, the Ocean Who is the wave, the Puzzle Who is the piece is God the Whole and Holy. Creation is the dance of God in space and time. I am the dance of God in this space and this time. To awake to this is to awake from ignorance. To awake to this is to awake from despair. To awake to this is to awake from needless suffering. May I find this Shabbat a rest from the sleep of fools. May I find this Shabbat an awakening to the One who is Whole and Holy -- Whole and wholly me.
"The heavens and the earth and all within them were finished. By the seventh day God had completed the work which God had been doing; and so God rested from all the work. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it God rested from the divine work of creation." You capped doing with non-doing; You blessed becoming with being; You honored labor and rest. Creation is incomplete without Shabbat. Rest reveals the importance of work. Work reveals the importance of rest. The two together make the world; the two together make a human being. I rest when I cease the struggle to control. I rest when I abandon the pride of ownership. I rest when I give thanks for what is. I set aside this day to revel in Your work by sharing Your rest. I set aside this day for mindfulness and renewal. I set aside this day to review my mission and my priorities. I set aside this day to honor all that I have been given. I set aside this day to take stock of all that I am.
For what do I pray? For health? For happiness? For wealth or fame? Who can say what will befall me? I do what I do in pursuit of what I desire, but only the hunt is mine; the victory is in other hands. I pray for nothing, for I am nothing. My desires are not Yours. My needs are not Yours, perhaps not. I pray simply to stand in Your presence. I pray simply to stand and be present. For that is all I can do: stand and be present. Present to You and what You bring this moment and this moment again. All there is, is You; Time and eternity, self and other -- all You. So I pray to pray. I pray to be aware of the Being that is all and nothing, here and there, now and forever.
Spirituality is living with attention. Living with attention leads me to thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the response I have to the great debt I accrue with each breath I take. Attending to the everyday miracles of ordinary living, I am aware of the interconnectedness of all things. I cannot be without you. This cannot be without that. All cannot be without each. And each cannot be without every. Thanksgiving is not for anything, it is for everything. May I cultivate the attention to allow the thanks that is life to inform the dance that is living.
Peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace is dealing with conflict while honoring justice. Peace is not the absence of anger. Peace is expressing anger while honoring compassion. Peace is not the absence of desire. Peace is allowing for desire without the fantasy that fulfillment brings happiness. Peace is not the absence of fear. Peace is knowing how to move through fear. Peace is not the absence of self. Peace is knowing that the self is absent. May I cultivate the skills to live in peace, to live with honor, to live with justice, to live with compassion, to live with desire, to live with fear, to live with self, to live with emptiness.
Netzor Leshoni Mera
Let me attend to my words, taking care to say what I mean and do what I say. Let me guard my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking falsehood. Let me rise above those who slander me and take care not to slander others. Let me forgive those who offend against me and take care to offend only the unjust. Let me open my heart to Torah and find in her wisdom my way to righteousness. May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, my friend, my rock and my redeemer. May the power that makes for peace throughout the heavens be the power from which I learn to draw to make for peace in my world and in my life. Amen.
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