1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful talk. I really appreciated the interweaving of your personal experiences with depth psychology, Jewish sources, and world religions. Helps me get in the mindset of the Days of Awe.

    1. Thanks, Julie. I’m so glad it is helpful in that way. In life, all the dimensions interweave. Writing is more linear, but things should interweave there as well!

  2. This is wonderful, and I will return to it often. One of the first religion classes I ever took as an undergrad was on mysticism, and it remains one of my deepest interests, not only intellectually but (when I am lucky) experientially.

  3. I knew you’d include content that would make me think. I’ve been struggling with the meaning of numinous. I’ve got it. I can relate it to my own experiences.

    I have always described experiences akin to the one you had on the plane as the back of my brain working on important things without my conscious help. I’ve never thought of them in a mystical sense but I do know that it is the way I garner my most important insights.

    Thank you for the prompt to think of those moments in mystical terms. I’ll be dwelling on this perspective for some time. I find it comforting.

    1. Thanks, Leora. I like your explanation of allowing a part of the mind to do creative and interpretive work/play behind the scenes of everyday consciousness. Sometimes, the results burst through with an intensity that is so numinous!

  4. Perhaps “the experience at Sinai” _was_ a “shared mystical experience”. But it’s hard to hold on to it, and even harder to teach it to your children.

    . . . So it mutated into a religion.

    My old view of an “I” centered within me and generated by my brain is a false product of unclear thinking.

    For a minute, there, I thought we’d lost another rabbi to the Buddhists. Apparently not.

    We can both dream — maybe if enough of us do that, something will come of it.

    . Charles

    1. Thanks, Charles! You probably know Yehuda HaLevi’s formulation of the point you make above – what guarantees, for him, the truth of his (our) tradition is that the mystical experience at Sinai was so powerful, 3,000 years have passed, and we’re still passing down the story.

  5. No, I _didn’t_ know that! But I like it. Thank you.

    On whether mystical experience can bleed over into the “real world”, I just came across this very upsetting (to me) piece about a Jewish Renewal (I think) meditation/prayer retreat:


    It’s not easy to hold onto enlightenment.

    . Charles

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