Ordinariness

Ordinariness is plain and simple, calm and pleasant, placid and unperturbable. “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, thou art there” (Psalm 139:8). Yet, when I take a walk around the block to get some fresh air, and clear my thoughts, it seems like within the ordinariness, G-d is present everywhere.

Plea of the Pearl

There is something greater, than can be imagined, on the other side of the Veil. Something beyond compare to anything that can be found in this world. Yet, you continue to dive for pearls, as if treasures can only be manifest by searching the seas.

Our tears of compassion will be dried by the angels. Yet, you are heartless, and say, “No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife” (1).

Those who weep for the poor, downtrodden, and voiceless, will be comforted when the Kingdom appears at dawn. Yet, your myopic focus on self, will not be rewarded on the Day Judgment.

Cast away your ambition, for the sake of Heaven, and search for the lost souls, whose renewal will bring you joy. For, “to save a life, is as if an entire world will be saved” (2).

(1). Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow (1928)

(2). Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1

Off the Tracks: Steam Engine & Soul

‘“Raw steel tracks vibrate as they run across concrete at crossings, forming geometric bliss.” 

The steam engine, bringing life to vast land areas, sparsely populated, after tracks laid down, stretching for miles. This entire continent – spanned from Los Angeles to New York City – through a network of railway tracks, connecting coast to coast. Each spike placed in the right place; every concrete slab supporting the means for train cars, pulled along by the locomotive (engine car) in front. The tracks serve their purpose, waiting in silence for the next train; supporting tons of steel as the train grinds steel against steel, sometimes sparks flying upwards.

Freud’s entire model of psychodynamics was inspired by the mechanics of the steam engine, as well as the laws of thermodynamics. Freud’s concept of psychic energy was derived in part from, and analogous to the steam that is used to power an engine. The first thermodynamic principle, “energy can neither be created nor destroyed” also played a role in the formation of the conceptual underpinnings of Freud’s theories. Like steam, one of the three forms of water, psychic energy can also manifest in different forms, including neuroses.

Yet, human beings are not machines; nor, are we computers, even though some psychological theories today are based upon a computer model. Rather, like the soulful stirrings of the horn being sounded by an engineer, as a train passes through city limits, the soul itself sounds out against the realities of the world, led by an unseen Engineer. Inasmuch that human beings preceded any invention made by human design, it is reasonable to view the psyche (soul) as part and parcel of the overall design from Above.

Across the Years

The first evidence of a sense of the divine in my life, occurred when I was very young; my simple belief in G-d, demonstrated by my bedtime routine of saying the Shema Yisrael, praying for the health of my family, kneeling on the staircase leading to my parent’s room.

Years later, as a new ager, I transitioned back to my religious upbringing, when I saw the beauty of eastern thought, reflected in Jewish mysticism. So, I crossed that bridge, finding myself even more aware of the expansive void, that I previously had no name to reckon as an actual entity.

In following the arduous path that I was called to traverse, sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy;° yet, this always proves to be temporary, like the transient sounds of the night, outside the tenement window of a city dweller’s sanctuary.

°Mary Oliver, Spring Azures