Enter Into Joy

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Before you begin to pray

From Ashes and Snow, by Gregory Colbert

Starting December 27, 2010, I chose the following passage to “unpack” — line by line — as a daily practice to take me into the New Year.

And what is the “unpacking” process? It involves deep concentration on one line at a time, and then writing my response to that line – first with my dominant hand, and then with my non-dominant hand. There are plenty of references on the web to the process of dominant and non-dominant hand writing. If you haven’t tried it, you may want to. I venture a guess that you will surprise yourself.

I’ll be interested to see what this passage has hidden for me.

Cast Aside What Limits You
— By Dov Baer of Mezherich

The human body is finite;
                  the spirit is boundless.
Before you begin to pray,
                  cast aside what limits you
                  and enter into the world of the Infinite.
Turn to God alone
                  and have no thoughts of self at all.
Nothing but God exists for you
                  when self has ceased to be.

Dov Baer (d. 1772) was the chief disciple and successor of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov or “Master of the Good Name,” founder of the Hasidic movement of Jewish mysticism, which places devotional prayer at the center of the spiritual life.

Line 3:
Before you begin to pray
Right hand (dominant):
Yes, before you and I meet, face to face, what do I do? Step 1: Put on make-up, get a manicure, pick out a pressed blouse. Step 2: rehearse my lines, finesse the agenda, staple a packet together? Step 3: Put on my best smile.

Ha! That would make YOU smile, wouldn’t it?

Your vision is infinitely more acute than the best camera, and much more forgiving, all love, all compassion.

You see through me. No saffron robe, no designer outfit, no crown, no collar will fool you.

Before I begin to pray, I acknowledge that you are a know-it-all.

Before you begin to pray
Left hand (non-dominant):
Why does it take you so long to settle deep into the self – deep into union?

Phone calls, make the bed, feed the dog, answer mail, order a new bedspread, pay a bill, and on + on.

What comes first. Every day, every hour, every moment, the decision —

Where do I live?

I live in Love.
— Karen Blessen


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