List ten core principles of your spiritual life. Or your personal theology. Or your lived religious beliefs.
Use the public language of your own religious tradition. Or the words you use when you whisper quietly to yourself.
Reflect on how you think and feel today, right at this moment. Or on the commitments that have held you steady for years.
Here are ten of mine, a weird mix of philosophy, kabbalah, and life experience, an intellectual prelude to spiritual living.
1. Language is deeply metaphorical. The meaning of words grows through association. Thus, even a single a word can reach into a deep well of meaning.
2. Sometimes, scripture should be understood literally. Never should it be understood only literally. The language of holy texts points beyond literal meanings, hinting at experiences that cannot be captured in words.
3. “God” is a word with centuries of meaning and baggage. “God” is an idea capable of moving people deeply.
4. All images, expressions, and teachings about God are limited. Still, these are important tools and we should use them.
5. We live simultaneously on many levels of consciousness. But rarely do we learn how to turn our attention towards them. Thus, we know little about how to integrate them or take them seriously.
6. When my inner posture is arranged and my attention attuned, I see dimensions of life, consciousness and meaning that I don’t usually notice.
7. Many people use the word “God” to name their experience of an energy that underlies or is expressed though everything that exists.
8. God is inside us and outside us. Beyond everything and identical with it. Always shifting in presentation, appearing sometimes real in itself and sometimes as a human construct.
9. Yes, you could name levels of consciousness and the spiritual experiences correlated with each one. This, too, is an important and limited tool for spiritual growth.
10. Inner growth requires purification, a reflective letting go of knowledge, prejudices and wounds, even as life lays down new ones. In time, this growth brings clearer vision at all levels of consciousness.
Fellow Jews: May your reflections help you turn and return to God through this month’s process of teshuvah.
All gentle readers: May you reflect, respond, and share in ways that uplift you and others.