Updated: Oct 16
Statistics are in. A high percentage of Americans feel lonely. Although a majority of government mandated shutdowns occurred over 2-years ago, people established new ways of living; such as working from home, and relying on TikTok to stay connected. I was ready when Covid forced us into the proverbially "cave". I am always ready. Perhaps, many of you feel the same. Our inner universe is compelling and vast. We know that darkness is not the absence of light but a thing in and of itself that can helps us see even a speck of luminosity. Similar to a contemplative monk or rabbi, we find some comfort in shutdowns and take the opportunity to focus on our internal work. For me, it's through Torah studies, teaching myself Hebrew, and delving into The Zohar or Book of Radiance, an important Kabbalistic text, and other sources.
There are benefits to shutting out the world but the Covid pandemic had a harsh reality. Broadcasts of death tolls caused by the virus reached globally into the millions. People became afraid. I was fearful too. This is when aloneness turns into loneliness, darkness becomes a scary place, and troubles begin. The tragedy also created an ethical dilemma for many, as it did for me. Mine concerned a budding career as a nationally recognized self-published author, and wanna-be marketing maven snipped short. I cut it short. The reluctance centered around promoting my book whose title contains the word “death” while the victims of Covid were skyrocketing, even though my true crime story with a mystical twist contains a powerful message. But that was then. Now, I am called to share my spiritual insights.
While deep in study something seemingly miraculous can arise. In the metaphorical dark cave of contemplations an oh so fleetingly flicker of light appears. It is a flash of awareness. One's mind fills with new ideas. I can feel a flow of heightened energy coursing through me. My body heats up in its rush. To fully appreciate this phenomenon of pure joy, derived from a keener understanding, one might have to shut out the world. Closing off can help us to be aware of the subtle, sublime spark.
Kabbalists say those flashes of insight are how we perceive God's presence. This feminine aspect of the Divine is known as the Shekhinah or dwelling, amongst us. We all have the capacity to enhance our awareness to see her, the flicker of light, if our intention is to do so. One's state of mind must be factored in. Only then can the spark of light, or “ah ha” moment be noticed, be seen. Only then can the possibility of a new comprehension be furthered, otherwise it’s potential may be lost. Whether we are making art, practicing law, a creative scientist, a seeker, or writer, our perception is what matters. The spark can come while contemplating and studying inside the cave, or from our dreams, meditations, musings, revelations, and synchronistic occurrences. The lightbulb in your head can turn on and enlightenment may come while on a walk in nature, playing music, attending a great lecture, or talks in studies groups. The process is of little importance if you do not pay attention.
Honestly, it's not always easy or fascinating in the cave. The isolation seems to have stayed with me long after the Covid shutdowns were lifted. In that loneliness, my thoughts were consumed with personal disappointments. They manifested through obsessive compulsive loops; my memory dredged up past mistakes, ruminated about hurtful words said by others, or my own missteps, and basic stupidity. Kabbalah calls this worrisome state of being, Tikkun HaNefesh, or correction of the soul. It's an essential step in repairing the world, Tikkun Olam. First we must scrub our psychic-mind-body clean of negativities, harmful traits, or disease. We must try to undertake this in a healing manner with an attitude of loving-kindness towards ourselves, rather than mimic a brutal prosecutor, judge, or prison warden. We must move forward, out of the past. Psychically bleeding, like a warrior wounded in battle, we remain undefeated and undeterred in our spiritual studies, meditative practices and rituals. I've studied Torah since childhood and know contemplation and self-reflection are good habits. However, there are sad effects from over-thinking and giving hospitality to other people's negativity.
In early February, I was ordained as a minister in the Universal Life Church. My calling is to teach an accessible and practical Kabbalah through an honest and intimate look at my spiritual studies and practices. Hopefully, up-coming monthly blog posts will help guide others to follow their sensibilities and see the signs and wonders in their lives. There is a soul-component to our experiences if we stop to recognize and "read" the moment. This is what I call Street Tarot.