Friday, September 17, 2010

cleaning and cleansing

In about an hour I, as well as others from my tribe, begin a 25 hour period of introspection and concomitant self assessment.

This summer I read an article from a religion pundit who claimed that the notion that all religions were fundamentally the same was inaccurate. This claim piqued my interest since that was and is my assumption. That is, my assumption is that while people take different routes to what they consider to be the best way to live spiritually, the ultimate goal of being considerate, loving and self loving, friendly, and giving is the same in all tribes.

After reading the expert's article I still felt the same way. The only thing the author convinced me of was that he has become exasperated by those who do not accept his perspective. Some irony there.

So, while I am no expert on alternative religions I suspect that all religions have some time and prescription for repentance and self assessment. And the objective of this time of self analysis is a removal of the debris that somehow accrues and interferes with the functioning of our hearts. A cardiologist would argue that an unhealthy heart can undermine wellness. Similarly a heart infected by accrued litter impedes our capability to live and love as we should and could.

My favorite part of the day of atonement starts in about an hour here in the East. It is called the Kol Nidre prayer. I haven't missed a Kol Nidre in twenty years or more. I think as much as the message of the prayer, the fact that people all over the world are chanting the same prayer to start this period of introspection is a powerful starting point to my own day of evaluation.

Whatever route we take, I think it is important now and again that we stay on the course suggested by our pure hearts. Old story. My dad is watching me saw a piece of wood. He has used a ruler to draw a pencil line that I'm supposed to move my saw along. Somehow I move away from the line. Dad spots this as he pauses from his own sawing. He tells me to go back to where I veered off the line. I am maybe 7 and I tell him to look how far I am along, albeit away from the line. He tells me to go back to where I veered off regardless of how far along I might be.

It is I think the goal of this day of atonement to examine the forces that made us move off the line, and get back on track.

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