היום חמשה עשר יום שהם שני שבעות ויום אחד לעומר
Today is fifteen days, which is two weeks and one day of the omer
A day of loving kindness in a week of compassion
At services yesterday, I spoke about how the kabbalists viewed Rosh Chodesh, the start of each month, as a chance for renewal. We start with the darkness of the new moon which then grows to fullness. It's a good time to take a breath, and have a brief moment of teshuvah.
I grapple with the judgemental side of my personality. I am very hard on myself; if I'm going to do something, I'd better do it right -- whatever that means. That attitude can seep into my observations of what others are doing--or not doing, as the case may be. And when my thinking goes in that direction, I become unaware of other aspects of what is happening that need to be taken into account.
In the early years of my Makor Or practice I spent a lot of my contemplative time looking at my judgemental tendencies. Then in a Elul teaching session, Norman talked about looking at teshuvah not as repentance, as it is often translated, but as a returning--closer to its meaning. Keep turning around whatever it is you are concentrating on and see what is on the other side.
It was when I looked at the other side of my judgement attitudes, I saw compassion. For if I didn't care, there would be nothing to be judgemental about. So if, when I'm feeling those judgemental thoughts inch up on me, I can focus on the why do I care, I might be able to find the compassion that lives on the other side. And if I can look at what is happening through the lens of that compassion, I can find a clearer way to help what ever the situation may be--it may be to help others, it may just help myself. It may be that I find a way to solve an issue; it may be I find a way to let an issue go. Either way would bring loving kindness into the mix.