What I Believe

magic lotus cropped 2Here’s a new Facebook challenge.

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.

  1. thank you for this beautfiul challenge. I will let it settle into quiet contemplation and see what flows from there. Blessings to you.

  2. I found your website while looking for something totally unrelated, something drew me in. I’m not religious in any way but I have followed an interesting spiritual pathway that leads me from place to place seemingly randomly. I have come to realize that there is no such thing as coincidence, only synchronicity. So here I am looking at these 10 very reflective questions about myself, my perceptions, my ideas, ideals, beliefs, mind set, accepted knowledge and wisdom. All that I know right now is to get to my answers will be a journey of reflection an self discovery or maybe that should be journey of self rediscovery. And so the journey begins…..

    1. Thanks, Gary. I agree that these are lifelong reflections and that we may well change, discover, re-discover and keep changing. Keep journeying and keep writing! I am enjoying your comments.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *