I offer this not to preach – but as a courtesy to those of you who follow this blog and participate in my groups based on The Artist’s Way series.
There is much talk of God in Cameron’s work. And she invites you to experience it as the God of your understanding 0r simply Good Orderly Direction.
“As I understand…” is meant as a personal statement only. I welcome any discussion that reflects your own relationship to the source of creative energy in the universe.
I do not think the world’s religions as we know them offer an adequate explanation for – or representation of the divine. We do not, I believe, have a mind capable of wrapping itself around infinity. But we have evolved in our thinking to be able to handle complexities that were out of the range of our ancestors, I believe we are still evolving.
World religions are based on and arguably stuck in the language of what was known in ancient times to the sages of their days.
So when I own Judaism as the language and structure of my conversation about and with the divine, it is only the “baby talk” I am using to place myself in a universal family of origin.
That spirit or longing that seeks to understand the unknowable in myself, others and the world is the god of my understanding. God as a father or king doesn’t work for me. How could the divine be either masculine or feminine? Hence, I experience this unknown in the way of the complementary yin and yang described in the eastern traditions.
So why would an Irish/Italian American reared Roman Catholic use the language of Judaism?
Simply the love and example of a couple who gave this little loved child the wherewithal to wake up and put one foot in front of the other every day. The example of their lives carried me lovingly into the future when my own family could not.
Survivors of the Shoah they left Europe and the camps alone. Abe & Rose found each other and had one daughter, who was my mother’s best friend. They knew the horror of burying families and then their own daughter, the woman who was my mother’s friend. She succumbed to breast cancer in her forties having endured the trial of having to institutionalize her schizophrenic daughter, their granddaughter. Abe and Rose did not have a happily ever after.
They did have enough, and they gave much to me.
I believe in the abundant way of the universe – as distilled in the teachings they modeled. Those of the Jewish sages. I learned that by exercising the commandment to do every day as they did – an act of mitzvot – loving-kindness; tzedaka – charity; and Tikkun Olam – an effort to restore the earth/world – they affected a healing for themselves. I could do the same.
By simply living their lives “Jewishly”, unconsciously focused on these commandments as a way of life, they brought healing to the world. Perhaps not directly to theirs, but to mine.
Today my three girls and I, say Kaddish* for them – they are not forgotten. Little of their gene pool is preserved but – who they were and what was important about how they lived, lives on.
I don’t believe in a god. I don’t understand the divine. I worship the creator of the universe by practicing the teaching that we are the caretakers of the planet and each other and while “we are not commanded to finish the task, nor are we excused from the work”.
I do not judge one rule book or game plan as right or wrong, good or bad, I just know that to be available to good in the world I have to make room for it.
Unless the divine can inform me personally and expand my grey matter to understand it, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other – their way. It has worked so far….
And I happily reflect every sabbath – usually every day – “Blessed is the Lord, God, Ruler of the universe for giving us life, for sustaining us and for enabling us to reach this season”.
I say this prayer of gratitude by rote in Hebrew, a language I do not understand.
That is a gift. I don’t have to struggle with the inadequacy of language, but I am able to express my thanks that I have lived abundantly for this long.
*Kaddish is a prayer that praises God and expresses a yearning for the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. The emotional reactions inspired by the Kaddish come from the circumstances in which it is said: it is recited at funerals and by mourners, it is the way we honor the memory of those who have gone before us.