The more you know, the better off you are. I truly believe this. I will never forget being invited to Rabbi Steven Leder’s house shortly after I had arrived in LA… well, within a few years I suppose. Leonard Cohen was playing on the stereo, and as I walked into the kitchen there were several Buddhist monks.
There are a lot of great ideas and philosophies in Buddhism, and a lot of connections to Judaism. Rabbi Leder firmly believed that the more we know about other religions, the stronger our Judaism would be. I agree. I found a lot of good things in Buddhism, but I was happily and proudly Jewish.Later on in life, I would realize how many of the things I thought were uniquely Buddhist were actually Jewish, steeped in Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah. As my relationship with Hashem and understanding of Judaism became stronger and more pronounced this became clearer. As did my belief that Hashem created and creates everything, and things do not come to us accidentally…
To quote Rabbi Shlomo Bistritsky: “There are no coincidences. It is G-d’s way of remaining anonymous.”
Therefore, in my mind, things come to us from Hashem, precisely when we need them. We need to be open to all that is in front of us, because only then can we see them and learn.
I will admit here that I still struggle at times… While I always do the Modeh Ani and it is now second nature the moment I open my eyes, I do NOT always do the Bedtime Shema. But the power of forgiveness, especially before we go into rejuvenating and healing sleep, is powerful. The only thing I do not notice in the prayer, is forgiving ourselves… and we need to that, too.
If you’re like me, you beat yourself up a lot. And while there are things I want to change… and know I need to change, I also know that I have so many good qualities. I need to celebrate those, honor those, and work, with Hashem, to change the things I can. And I need to forgive myself.:
It’s not easy, forgiveness. It truly takes an elevated soul. It takes putting the ego to one side, pushing away anger and opening up the heart and soul. When you are able to forgive and love and truly send someone out into the world with your love and your blessings, you know you have attained something powerful.Deepak Chopra said this in Day 11 of the meditation challenge:
“Extend your appreciation beyond positive relationships, to include situations and individuals that have created difficulties in your life. See if you can expand your awareness to find the ways in which these uncomfortable relationships or circumstances have directed your growth in ways you truly needed but would not have chosen on your own. When you can accept and be grateful for even these difficult aspects of life you have discovered the hidden gifts in your spiritual journey.”
Quite profound and beautiful. So hard to truly attain. The lesson of a master and a Tzadik. But if we try… if we truly try, every single night, to forgive, to truly forgive those who have wronged us, what a beautiful world this will be.
I am guessing I discussed my “dumping” here… almost a two year relationship over. The end was brutal and heartbreaking… and sadly, that is all we remember for a while. We forget all that was good. I am still in mourning over it, but healing. And I do firmly believe it is and will reveal itself as a blessing… but in the meantime, I am deeply trying to channel that quote… and the Bedtime Shema… and forgive…
I honor what I had for almost two years… I honor the love and laughter… I honor the growth I had and I am grateful… I forgive with love and truly want her to find the happiness she deserves… Well, that is where I want to be, strive to be. Some days I am there… and other days, the angry ego kicks in. I do not like that side of myself.
So… I just need to let go of the ego and the anger. The tool is right there… Connect with Hashem… get out of my own way… and do the Bedtime Shema every single night. The power of apology and owning what I did… owning my part. The power of forgiveness, true forgiveness, will set us free… So release the chains, flee from Egypt and run to the Promised Land. All through forgiveness.