I get some of my best ideas in the shower… or as I walk around my neighborhood. Maybe it’s the relaxed and open mode and mood I am in… Or that my brain is filled with oxygen. I don’t know… But it works… Sometimes.
Today I was at the gym… on the elliptical… when I had a thought. I was meditating yesterday and Oprah informed me… Yes, I am doing the 21-Day Deepak/Oprah Meditation Challenge… and it is amazing… and helpful!!! Oprah said that the word Namaste means: “The soul in me recognizes the soul in you.”
Stunning notion… beautiful, actually. And then my brain started doing something it does a lot lately… or at least since I have been really studying Judaism… It goes to the Jewish equivalent… or trying to find what the equivalent is.
I find that so many notions, in meditation and mindfulness… which is a huge trend right now, by the way… actually stem from Judaism… originate there… Torah… Pirkei Avos… and specifically, Kabbalah!
For me, the Jewish equivalent of Namaste is Shalom. It means peace, hello and goodbye… and I love the idea of welcoming someone with peace and openness… being with them in the same space… and then as you leave each other… sending them off in peace.
We need this in the world and in our lives now more than ever. Our job is to listen with empathy… to listen with our ears, as Rabbi Noah Weinberg (OBM) taught… and to be about peace and light.
While many people criticize Judaism as being a religion of laws… of dos and don’ts… I find it to be an amazing blueprint… a guide on how to live the most meaningful and fulfilled life you can.
The simplest strategy is to be a good person… a mensch… to always do the right thing. The next step up… for me, at least… is the Three T’s!
Yes… Repentance, which partly means saying “I’m sorry” but more importantly it is recognizing one’s errors and making efforts not to repeat them.
It also means ACCEPTING apologies… being able to forgive.
But the most significant definition and a recent discovery for me is that Teshuvah means a RETURN… A return to one’s self… the way we want to be! A return to our good souls… and good behavior.
Life throws us curve balls all the time… Let us find balance and clarity… and let us always return to center… to who we really, truly are… our true essence and spirit… the one filled with love and light and kindness…
And let us ways be working to the the best versions of ourselves that we can be.
Yes, in it’s simplest definition it is Charity. It is essential to give to others, but to take it a step further, we need to give with joy… I love reading the writings of the Chofetz Chaim. He talks about true Chesed… Kindness and Loving-Kindness… and giving from the heart. Let us not grunt and groan when we have the ability to give and help… let us do so with joy and pleasure. It will come back to you in this world, and the next!
Prayer. Connection with Hashem. Knowing there is a higher source and respecting that. And there are many ways to do this… traditional and not…
Yes there is a formal structure to the prayers… and yes, I may get in trouble for saying this… but you need to do what you can do… and work hard to build upon that.
Prayer is personal and powerful. It can be beautiful and moving… and sometimes frustrating… and as Rabbi Shlomo Seidenfeld says… sometimes it is a literal “battle.”
So go to the gym… take a walk… move throughout the world with peace… shalom…
Then after you go home and shower (thank you for doing that)… just try to wear all three t-shirts every single day… Teshuvah, Tzedakah, and Tefilah!
It’s like Milk… it’ll do a body good. And you’ll look… and feel mahhhvelous, dahhhling!!!
And here’s the other thing… We ALL can do it!!! It doesn’t matter what religion we are… or what we believe in… We can all do these things…
Be a good person… the best version of yourself that you can be… and however you can reconnect to that… and return to that… to your true essence… DO IT!
Give… of your time and your efforts and your energies and your money. Be kind… give with kindness and joy.
And connect to something outside of yourself… Whether it’s Hashem… G-d… nature… whatever. Realize that the world is an amazing place and we are just pieces in the puzzle… and… AND… we are ALL connected
So I welcome you with peace… I share peace with you… and until we meet again, I send you back on your way… back out into the world… with Peace and Love.