Our mailing address: P.O. Box 5086, West Hills, CA 91307 Telephone: (818) 658-1800 Email: makomohrshalominfo@gmail.com
BLOG WITH RABBI JUDIAHAVAH

Facing What Challenges Our Serenity

May 13, 2022 Ahhh community…. We need community. God willing, we all know the healing power of togetherness. I've had the opportunity to sit in meditation with a circle of healers. Once, just as we were all getting comfortable, we were landing inside ourselves after the frenzy of greeting one another, much like we did tonight gathering here. Finally, I could feel the quiet. You could sense every breath in the room deepening, everyone becoming truly present, each mind taking a rest, the inner chatter stopping. And then, all of a sudden with a loud bang, a sweet loving furry husky who lived in house came crashing through the French door of the room, stepping awkwardly on a few of us, sitting on the floor. We all jolted out of our peaceful meditation, some of us got a face full of fur, a face full of wet nose, a face full of tail. Our peace was broken. Of course most of us laughed. Regarding the interruption, the meditation leader said "Good. Now we have an obstacle to let go of. A new tool for our meditation." Have you ever had such a peaceful moment get interrupted? Of course this story reminds me of another story (as told by Pema Chodron)… One evening the ancient Tibetan yogi Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood. He gets there only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the place! Almost asking, “Where's your serenity now, Milarepa?” Even though he knew they were just a projection of his own mind—all the unwanted parts of himself—he still didn’t know how to get rid of them. So first he taught them wisdom teachings: He taught them Torah (though he would not have called it exactly that.) He sat on a seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then Milarepa lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. The demons just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.” At that point, all of the demons left except one. Milarepa said, “Oh, this one is particularly vicious.” (We all know that one…) He didn’t know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, “Just eat me up if you want to.” Then that demon left too. Sometimes it's a sweet energetic dog interrupting our peace, sometimes it’s another human, and sometimes it’s something we are projecting. Life can bring us different "meditation challenges". The real challenge is how to use the interruptions so our peace continues, or at least reconvenes. We need each other. Apparently we need these situations that arise between humans: Proverbs tells us “As steel sharpens steel, so one person sharpens another.” So when someone is doing something we are unhappy about-like Milarepa's demons, or the sweet dog in my meditation circle, it seems it can be useful. We have the opportunity to be improved from having run not from what seems to interrupt us, but rather running into it. Leaning into it. Hishtavut is a character trait which allows us to let our serenity happen rather than force it by trying to control it. This Shabbat we read from Torah in Parshat Emor about bringing clear olive oil to keep the lamp of the Holy Place of Meeting the Divine burning constantly. Oil is fluid; so Torah is asking us where can we be fluid within ourselves? The word for oil and Hebrew is shemen. Oil can make things radiate light. Shemesh, the Hebrew word for sun is connected to the word for oil, with the root letters shin and men. When we allow ourselves to be fluid with what is, we radiate: When we accept interruptions in life, we shine like the sun. Take a situation in life you would like to change. If you've tried yet cannot influence the situation, how can you be like Milarepa? When teaching someone or something to be different does not work, how can we instead surrender to it, and be fluid? How can we see that challenge is not necessarily the looming threat we see it to be? How can we even laugh in the face of what confronts us, the way we'd laugh at a big loving husky giving you a face full of fur? May we even dare to enjoy our challenges with both courage and joyous laughter! Let's be fluid in the process. Let’s allow our perceived difficulties to open our mind and heart, so we can be like the olive oil used to keep the fire on the holy altar going. Let's radiate light. Notes Milarepa story was retold from Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are) As steel sharpens steel, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Blogging Posts May 13, 2022 - Facing What Challenges Our Serenity March 12, 2021 - Look March 5, 2022 - Prayer for Ukraine September 6, 2021- Your Holy of Holies Erev Rosh HaShanah
Our mailing address: P.O. Box 5086, West Hills, CA 91307 Telephone: (818) 658-1800 Email: makomohrshalominfo@gmail.com
BLOG WITH RABBI JUDIAHAVAH
Rabbi JudiAhavah DelBourgo
Blogging Posts May 13, 2022 - Facing What Challenges Our Serenity March 12, 2021 - Look March 5, 2022 - Prayer for Ukraine September 6, 2021- Your Holy of Holies Erev Rosh HaShanah

Facing What Challenges Our Serenity

May 13, 2022 Ahhh community…. We need community. God willing, we all know the healing power of togetherness. I've had the opportunity to sit in meditation with a circle of healers. Once, just as we were all getting comfortable, we were landing inside ourselves after the frenzy of greeting one another, much like we did tonight gathering here. Finally, I could feel the quiet. You could sense every breath in the room deepening, everyone becoming truly present, each mind taking a rest, the inner chatter stopping. And then, all of a sudden with a loud bang, a sweet loving furry husky who lived in house came crashing through the French door of the room, stepping awkwardly on a few of us, sitting on the floor. We all jolted out of our peaceful meditation, some of us got a face full of fur, a face full of wet nose, a face full of tail. Our peace was broken. Of course most of us laughed. Regarding the interruption, the meditation leader said "Good. Now we have an obstacle to let go of. A new tool for our meditation." Have you ever had such a peaceful moment get interrupted? Of course this story reminds me of another story (as told by Pema Chodron)… One evening the ancient Tibetan yogi Milarepa returned to his cave after gathering firewood. He gets there only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the place! Almost asking, “Where's your serenity now, Milarepa?” Even though he knew they were just a projection of his own mind—all the unwanted parts of himself—he still didn’t know how to get rid of them. So first he taught them wisdom teachings: He taught them Torah (though he would not have called it exactly that.) He sat on a seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then Milarepa lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. The demons just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.” At that point, all of the demons left except one. Milarepa said, “Oh, this one is particularly vicious.” (We all know that one…) He didn’t know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, “Just eat me up if you want to.” Then that demon left too. Sometimes it's a sweet energetic dog interrupting our peace, sometimes it’s another human, and sometimes it’s something we are projecting. Life can bring us different "meditation challenges". The real challenge is how to use the interruptions so our peace continues, or at least reconvenes. We need each other. Apparently we need these situations that arise between humans: Proverbs tells us “As steel sharpens steel, so one person sharpens another.” So when someone is doing something we are unhappy about-like Milarepa's demons, or the sweet dog in my meditation circle, it seems it can be useful. We have the opportunity to be improved from having run not from what seems to interrupt us, but rather running into it. Leaning into it. Hishtavut is a character trait which allows us to let our serenity happen rather than force it by trying to control it. This Shabbat we read from Torah in Parshat Emor about bringing clear olive oil to keep the lamp of the Holy Place of Meeting the Divine burning constantly. Oil is fluid; so Torah is asking us where can we be fluid within ourselves? The word for oil and Hebrew is shemen. Oil can make things radiate light. Shemesh, the Hebrew word for sun is connected to the word for oil, with the root letters shin and men. When we allow ourselves to be fluid with what is, we radiate: When we accept interruptions in life, we shine like the sun. Take a situation in life you would like to change. If you've tried yet cannot influence the situation, how can you be like Milarepa? When teaching someone or something to be different does not work, how can we instead surrender to it, and be fluid? How can we see that challenge is not necessarily the looming threat we see it to be? How can we even laugh in the face of what confronts us, the way we'd laugh at a big loving husky giving you a face full of fur? May we even dare to enjoy our challenges with both courage and joyous laughter! Let's be fluid in the process. Let’s allow our perceived difficulties to open our mind and heart, so we can be like the olive oil used to keep the fire on the holy altar going. Let's radiate light. Notes Milarepa story was retold from Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are) As steel sharpens steel, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17