Since Before Creation

You were before creation

You have been since creation

You are in this world

And You will be in the next world

This metaphysical teaching is found in Birchot Hashachar, “dawn blessings,” from the daily Jewish liturgy.

Originally, the blessings were a series of early morning meditations designed to help us wake right into spiritual consciousness. Jews practiced them at home, as they awoke, arose, washed, and dressed.

These days, however, the exact same blessings are experienced as a series of poems, recited mid-morning at the synagogue.  We rely on the poems to put us in the mood for prayer.

At Tuesday’s minyan this little metaphysical teaching caught my eye.

Subconsciously, I added a few words:

You, God, were before creation

You, God, have been since creation

You, God, are in this world

And You, God, will be in the next world

Reading it through a modern lens, I assumed it was there to help us pray – to help us examine ourselves in the Presence of God.

Because if I unload my heart, I want it to be in the presence of someone I imagine as very wise.

Someone implacable.

Someone who has seen it all before.

Someone very advanced in the practice of acceptance.

I’m practicing acceptance, too. Practicing accepting others because I too want to be accepted.

So I can imagine quite clearly what being accepted ought to feel like.

I can imagine quite clearly the qualities of a Presence that accepts me.

And since I have been well-schooled in the idea that we pray to God, that’s how I imagine God when I’m preparing to pray.

You were before creation

You have been since creation

You are in this world

And You will be in the next world

If I return to the days when the morning blessings were meditation prompts designed to awaken us into spiritual consciousness, I might read this differently.

I might, semi-consciously, add an additional word.

You, Laura, were before creation

You, Laura, have been since creation

You, Laura, are in this world

And You, Laura, will be in the next world

I might read the poem as a call to expand my consciousness beyond my narrow everyday concerns. To wonder what spark in me holds traces of all that came before – traces of molecules, archetypes, ancient wisdoms.

To reflect on what it might mean to see myself “in the image of God,” imagining for just a moment that this spark or trace is enough to identify me with eternity.

This is a different kind of prayer.

Image: danielhaddad.org

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