Yom Kippur has arrived and so does this artificially created window of opportunity to reflect and return. It is artificial only because thousands of years ago, human beings determined that this time of year was the right time of the year to try and make at-one-ment. Truth is, we can (and do) engage in this kind of reflection all of the time– it is not something that we simply and completely turn off for 11 months or so and then turn back on.
Let’s face it, though … it is difficult, draining and unrealistic to be so thoughtful and reflective all of the time. Our world would not allow it, there are things we really need to do … we have not chosen a monastic, solitudinal life. We have chosen to live, thrive and enjoy this world – nothing wrong with that, as long as we do not ONLY pursue that end.
There is something that is anything-but-artificial about this time and the feeling of some kind of window of opportunity or focus that is closing soon and will not reopen for a while. Perhaps it is the repeated use of this time for centuries, even millennium, by our spiritual ancestors – the same way a slow, constant current of water can soften, smooth and even carve out the roughest of rocks or the way that an unpaved path in the forest will become a path with the constant tracking of millions of pairs up feet. The space is smooth and well carved out, that path is clear and defined … here for us to use, to go to that deeper place that is often out of our reach.
Pay attention, though. The gates at entrance to that space and that path are beginning close. Take advantage of the space to which they have afforded you precious access … use that time and space to its fullest and prepare your self for the opportunities and challenges that will become part of the year ahead.
Thus ends my Elul Exercise for 5772 …and yours, as well.