I’ve not been writing here as much as in my nature blog for a number of reasons. My nature blog is a regular documentation of the wildlife in the area. I feel it as my personal obligation to keep track of the wildlife in Eyn Porat/Yaar Mir simply as my contribution to observations of biodiversity. Part of my grand ‘love affair’ with the biosphere itself, so to speak. Feeling at one with nature has been an important part of my consciousness pretty much all my life. This gives me a very imminent sense of Divinity, something akin to some branches of Buddhism, a form of paganism and not much different from ‘Hassidic Judaism with all its controversial gnostic influences.
From our standpoint here on earth we really cannot tell if the truth is pantheism or panentheism since we cannot in any way know the transcendent but by a leap of faith. We can be confident about the imminent however. We can sense the spirit that pervades all things when we allow ourselves to get into the right frame of mind- call it expanded consciousness or “gadlus ha’mo’ah’ ” as it’s called in ‘Hassidus. In that sense we feel wonder, our perceptions are broad, encompassing, forgiving, understanding and free of negative emotion. We can also tap into that sense of universal consciousness.
We can get just so much from nature, we sense wonder, fascination, beauty, the interweaving of life but to get beyond that we need to purify ourselves and I think that’s the greatest challenge in today’s cluttered, encumbered urban society with all it’s potential blockages that can numb our sensitivities. Sometimes it comes from just too much input that makes us just want to shut down to protect ourselves from overload, so that we can no longer feel the import of new information. So many young people seem to shut down like this to some extent. It’s understandable, it’s a survival mechanism. Some turn it into cynical game playing atheism, others into the existential anguish of Emo, others escape into irrational warm fluffy notions, but however people sense it, each is in danger of moving from the deeper truth of the universe and losing themselves in the mess that modern life has become. Ironically a good part of that truth now is exactly the fragmentation which exists all around.
The Breslov ideal of self purification has appealed to me for years. Reb Nachman himself engaged in severe ascetism in his youth but caused harm to himself on this road and later realized its foolishness and damage. He arrived at ‘hitbodedut’ which is a form of intense prayer, very intimate, very personal. A ‘wrestling’ with God as much as Yaakov wrestled with the angel. We have to demand like a child because we have to really want to purify ourselves, to exorcise the blockages that clog the pure flows within us. Yes, this can be done by force of will with the help of heaven. We beg for ‘da’at’, for insight, cry for it, reach for it, and we implore that the impediments be removed. This will work if we want that enough.
Sometimes, often, it is necessary to do ‘tikun’, repair. We may need to repair a relationship, apologize, make amends, pay debts owed, fix damage. All these are necessary to remove the damage within our psyche. Truth within reflects truth without, we cannot neglect obligations we have generated by past acts. If we cause hurt we must heal before we can be truly healed within.
Then, finally, it is possible to attain ‘ahava raba’ (great love), a state of grace, ‘dveikut’, cleaving, in which we are totally fulfilled. We feel utterly in a state of joy, peace and love which reaches to the very limit of our consciousness. Even if we become impure again later we will know where we were and keep a memory of that pure light so we will know the place of our return and be motivated to get back. This state surpasses all other worldly pleasures, joys and loves because it has no flaw or limit at all, and it is possible for everyone. If an ordinary ‘sinner’ such as myself can manage it, it is certainly within the reach of anyone. One does not need to be absolutely perfect to attain it, one needs to simply want it and want to make our lives right.