From Robin, 7 January 2006
I’m in extreme judgement mode. Duality is the issue. The Shma, the most important Jewish Prayer translates into, in my idiosyncratic, derived-from-Maimonedes and Jewish Renewal translation: "Pay Attention: God is One, God is Everything, Everything is God, Everything is One." In some traditions we are directed to say it three times each day. Maimonedes says that if you work for several years on this prayer, you’ll be ready to go on to other prayers. In Islam, it’s: "There is no God but God." Mystic Muslim traditions, like Sufism translate that as, "Everything is God, etc." So how come so many people here, who are saying this prayer, in so many incarnations every day are so obsessed with the Other? Male/Female, Arab/Jew, every permutation of religious and regional parsing, ad infinitim. My favorite woo-woo healer, Isabelle Lambert, says that, "Jerusalem is the identity chakra for the world, and it’s broken." The hard work for me is to remember the Shma, in all its permutations, whenever I forget that there ain’t separation. I’m saying it about fifty times each day. I need to do it more. It’s fitting, on the eve of my 50th birthday that my life issue, non-acceptance, is so up.
Last night, an Orthodox woman told me that she couldn’t lead prayer in front of men because it would be immodest. The rationalization: men are the only male creatures who are ugly. In humans, woman are the peacocks, so that men need to have their leadership positions, their access to the Torah.
We went to a little tear-dropped shaped chapel on the Mount of Olives, the hill that encompasses thousands of Jewish graves, several churches, Mary’s tomb, and the Garden of Gethsemane. The chapel, about halfway down the Mount, is allegedly where Jesus looked down at Jerusalem, and cried with the awareness, in my interpretation, that Jerusalem would come to great harm if the people didn’t start noticing their non-duality. It’s still happening!!
When we walked to the bottom past a convent, a few more churches, and another several thousand graves, we came to the Garden of Gethsamane where Jesus surrendered to God’s will about his impending crucifixion. That he cried in non-acceptance of the way things are, halfway down, and surrendered, by the bottom, was useful in my process. Doug once gave me a button reading: "God grant me the authority to change the things I cannot accept." That’s me. Surrender is my hardest spiritual issue. I don’t want to! I want everyone to stop hating each other and seeing each other as different and make nice with each other. I want people to stop hurting their kids. For all Orthodox Jewish and Muslim women to be able to speak their heart in front of any gender, without being "immodest." For people to see that it’s all "us". Especially for me to get it. Sigh! Everything is God.
Later on the same night. I was out with my family, two colleagues (both Orthodox Jews) and their wives. They were great! The wives existed as full people in these marriages. There was humor and engagement all around. Then the whole restaurant sang Happy Birthday in five versions, in English, Hebrew, and Spanish by overlapping groups. It’s nice to know that there are unifying rituals. It was a "fix" for much of the day before.