Light of the Nations
This is an abbreviated version of a story from Bruce David's "The Jewish Soul Haggadah." It will lead into a meditation designed to help attune people to the importance of approaching the Divine Presence in the proper frame of mind. There is a rhythm to our souls that resonates within our heart of hearts, allowing us to connect with the harmony of life’s oneness. To achieve this level of universal wholeness, we must realize that the true freedom we seek extends beyond that of our physical body. Like the Jews who were caged in slavery at Sinai and whose souls were given the ability to soar freely at Sinai, our souls must also be allowed to soar unconstrained if we wish to ride on the winds of this higher dimension. Here, in unison, the sacred voices sing a song of love for all life. Here, the melodies of rainbow spirits extend beyond the individual, religion and humankind, to embrace all of existence in a Divine hug.
The “Singing Hearts Meditation” is based on a story about a young boy named Chaim who never talked. Chaim had a pet canary named Ruthie who like Chaim, also never made a sound.
One day when Chaim’s Mother is gone Ruthie escapes from her cage and flies out a window leading Chaim outside on an adventure where they both learn to sing again.
Later, Chaim explains to his Mother that he had been afraid of life, scared of all the things that could happen, all the things that might go wrong. He thought that the only place he would be safe was in his home. Paralyzed by his fear, he had caged himself in, just like his bird. Now, both he and Ruthie were free.
Much like the biblical Ruth, it took a bird named Ruthie, to lead Chaim on a journey away from his home where he could find his true self. He also learned about his own name, Chaim, and how beautiful life can be. If only we live our lives to the fullest, enjoying and appreciating all the wonderful gifts life has to offer, we too can share in and be part of this wonderful world and learn to appreciate the true gift of freedom.
Sometimes during our lives, we can get so caught up in everything happening around us that we have actually caged our inner essence, leaving us unable to sing freely. At special times, like Shavuot and Shabbat, these self-imposed walls can keep us from attaining the meaningful connection we desire to achieve with our prayers. Too often, we find our minds jumping from one irrelevant place to the next, while our souls long to focus on the journey of our spiritual path.
In Judaism, the term kavannah refers to our ability to direct our attention to our purpose. Along these lines, it is believed by many that a few prayers said with proper kavannah are of more value than a large amount of prayers that are recited while lacking this essential ingredient. In getting back to our caged bird analogy, it is this kind of intent we should incorporate into our efforts as we attempt to tear down our cage and remove the barriers that keep our spirits from soaring freely.
Now, as we attempt to achieve this same space in our meditation, close your eyes and take a few cleansing breaths. Imagine that it is your soul that is trapped within the cage.
To continue with the meditation, we should tighten up every part of our body, in this case, our cage. This includes our face muscles, our neck, our shoulders, arms and fingers, our legs and toes. Feel as though you are really tied up in a knot, both physically and spiritually. Imagine that each bar of your cage is filled with all your stresses, worries, frustrations and concerns.
Now, as I begin to mention these different things, even though they may be very important to you, let them go, just for now. Let yourself visualize that each time, as you release them, you are removing a bar from the barriers that have you trapped. As you remove each one, slowly relax a different part of your body.
First, let go of all the insignificant arguments, disagreements, or irritations that may have occurred between you and your spouse, children, parents, siblings, family or friends. Second, relinquish all your work or school related activities, including upcoming meetings, appointments, decisions needing to be made, reports and deadlines, etc. Next, set aside all your financial concerns and money worries. Be content to know that God provides. Now, remove the bar that will steer your mind clear of all the chores and jobs you need to do around the house. This includes cleaning, repairs, maintenance and upkeep, cars and vehicles, and yes, even your garden.
Though it may be extremely difficult, just for now, temporarily set aside the sadness you may be experiencing over the sickness, aging, or failing health of people you love and care about, including yourself. For the time being, let go of any apprehension and dismay you may be experiencing due to all the negative occurrences happening in Israel, your country, your community and the world. Finally, let go of any individual situations that are causing you irritation, anxiety or stress. Remove that final bar, take a deep breath, and let your body relax.
Breathe in the love that surrounds you. Feel the comfort in knowing that the people around you really do love you and care about your well-being.
Now breathe out your love that others may know that you really do long to be part of, and share in, this special place.
Know that this feeling extends beyond this room. It fills the universe. There are good people who love and really care about life everywhere. Feel yourself as part of the essence of all life, peaceably and lovingly at one with all that lives.
Allow your soul to fly freely in a universe of love. Experience the true joy of the song in your heart when you realize that this world in which we live is such a beautiful and special place. Beyond everything else, there is so much good, so much love.
The Source of Blessings wants you to be happy, to enjoy and appreciate all of our wonderful gifts, including our uniquely special gift of life.
Breathe in the love that embraces you.
Breathe out your love for others to share.
Surrender yourself to the Divine hug that
lets you know you are home. Just like it
is part of a bird’s nature to sing, it is
the same with our souls. None of us can
truly sing with a caged heart. Let your
soul soar freely so that its melody
can synchronize with the symphony of
life. Join in unison with those voices of
creation whose songs resonate with
wholeness, peace and love.
Now, allow yourself to spend as much time as you need
in this space, and when you are ready to return , bring
with you a song of joy and thankfulness in your heart.