Sunday, May 04, 2014

Looking for compassion

היום אחד תשעה עשר יום שהם שני שבועות וחמשה ימים בעמר
Today is nineteen days, which is two weeks and five days of the omer
הוד שבתפארת
A day of humility in a week of compassion

Along with the omer, there is another period of contemplation built into the Jewish spiritual calendar--the month of Elul. Elul is the month before Tishrei--which marks Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year. It is a time that is to be spent concentrating, meditating on a personal teshuvah--often translated as repentance, but it has the connotation of a turning, a returning to a state of understanding where repentance is not necessary.

I have spent more than a couple Elul periods working on finding a teshuvah from my tendency to be judgmental--sometimes of others but more often of myself. I will need to be aware of this element of my personality, be mindful all my life to keep from allowing that negativity to rule my emotions and my connections to others. I am forever grateful to my teacher, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, who gave me the key that can turn my judgmental inclination into compassion.

In a teaching that Norman gave on teshuvah, he talked about the turning in a very literal manner. Take that aspect that you are working on and turn it around--look what is on the other side. What you find will show a different path, a way to redemption.

I found compassion on the flip side of being judgmental. Hidden within the judgments is caring. For if I didn't care, there would be no reason to judge. And when I concentrate on the caring instead of the judgment, I find compassion.

No comments: