Hod. Gratitude. Tiferet. Beauty. Hod she’b’Tiferet. Gratitude in beauty.
It’s spring in the rain forest. So, I get to see lots of beautiful things. Cherry blossoms. Bees in flowers. Robins grazing in early gardens.
In this season, I often feel overwhelmed by beauty. So, sometimes, I can’t believe my good fortune. How did I manage to be here in this exact moment of blossoming, foraging, grazing? This moment of grace?
I also feel overwhelmed with gratitude. And want to say “Thank you!” But I don’t know who to thank. The creatures? But they just happen to be here too. The creator? That’s a soaring thought. The ineffable magic that links us all?
One famous Hebrew blessing holds it all: Bless you God, Ineffable yet revealed in Creation and Present in all realities—just because it’s like this in your world.
Now that is an attitude of “radical amazement.” That’s Abraham Joshua Heschel’s name for spiritual perception. It’s a way of seeing the world. Where everything points beyond itself. To God, of course. But not to God the super person, force, or cause. Instead: to what is ineffable, revealed in creation, present in all realities.
If you see with radical amazement, then it’s always like this in the world. It’s not always pretty. But it is always beautiful. Always overwhelming. Because you see and you feel. Even when you don’t know why or how. Or even who to ask.
So, how am I doing with spiritual perception? Do I see with radical amazement all the time? No, obviously not. Much of the time I’m just in a funk.
Sometimes a flower, a bee, or a bird lifts me up. But when they’re not around? Where do I find my fix of beauty?
Today is Day 19 of the Omer, i.e., two weeks and 5 days.
New to the Omer count? Here’s a primer.
Do you like the photo? I took it last summer. I waited patiently, iphone in hand, for the bee to stop collecting pollen and take flight. It’s one of my favourites because it just says “JOY!”