Thursday, April 19, 2012

Musings on the Omer  days 8-14  The week of G’vurah, Contraction.

Week 2; Days 8-14 invitation to reflect on the attribute of G’vurah; discipline, filter, membrane, contraction, limiting.
Discipline and boundaries’ purpose is to support life and love.   Boundaries are a necessary part of life.   Hesed; expansion and grace flow freely like water.  Water needs to be focused, filtered or contained to be  used.   Without G’vurah water has no form and cannot be used.
Time was very G’vuradik - restricted this week.  

8. Hesed Sh’b’G’vurah Expansion/Grace within Contraction
Consider  - Is my discipline gracious and expansive?
Image – blood  (Hesed) in an artery (G’vurah); A baby (Hesed) moving through the birth canal (G’vurah) to start life.
Guide for practice - ask: Do the discipline and boundaries I establish for others support growth and nourishment?  Or Is it demoralizing and destructive?  What about discipline I take on myself?  Is it useful and helpful?  Do the boundaries need to shift to better nourish others and myself? 

9. G’vurah Sh’b’Gvurah  Discipline within Discipline
Ask – Is my discipline disciplined?  Is it directed by moods swings or something external?  Is it severe?  Or does it serve to nourish and help. 

10. Tiferet Sh’b’Gvurah  Compassion/Harmony in Discipline
Image – 1) A heart with veins moving blood to it and arteries moving the oxygenated blood back through the body.  2) A breast feeding an infant. 
Compassion gives the receiver what they can receive and what will nourish.  Compassion receives what is given.  Compassion is the tuning between a giver and receiver.
Is my discipline compassionate?  Is it given in a way that can be received?  Is it too strict?  Too lenient?  

11.Netzah  Sh’b’G’vurah  Perseverance, longevity, eternity within Discipline
Focus/Intensity within Discipline
Imagine a beating heart.  Is the rate consistent?  Or are there random beats from time to time?  The heart need beat at consistent rate to support vitality, health and productivity.
Discipline must have the quality of perseverance to have impact.  Will it pass the test of time?  Or does it change frequently and allow benefits to deteriorate before they can help?    
Consider 1) Prayer practice or meditation practice 2) Exercise  

12. Hod Sh’b’Gvurah Fluidity/Humility in Discipline
Image - Imagine dry desert land.  See the tiny flowers that spring up even in the most harsh environment.  
Is my discipline fluid?  Am I willing to change my position when presented with new information in the moment?   Am I open to enhancing a practice when opportunity presents itself?

13. Yesod Sh’b’Gvurah  Bonding in discipline  Friday April 20th 2012
Discipline must lead to developing deeper bonds to be useful and productive.
Image – an old tree, its trunk and abundant roots twisting deeply and embedded in the Earth.
Does discipline lead to deepening bonds? Are people left alienated as a result?   discipline need support bonding. 

14. Malkhut Sh’b’GVurah  Shabbes  April 21rst
Discipline, like love, must enhance personal dignity, the sovereign self. Discipline that breaks a person will degrade dignity.
Does my discipline allow the recipient to  keep his or her own integrity and sense of self?  Does if increase self-esteem and self-awareness or does it weaken and dishearten me and others?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Bio Omer Counting Days 4-7

4. Netzah sh'b'Hesed  Perseverance in Expansion

a. The Sun beaming nourishing light to our mostly blue planet Earth allowing life and beauty.
b. A mountain sides with a small channels of water flowing tricking midst the rocks.
c. Loving something or someone very very much.

Spiritual Challenge: 
a. Unrelenting sunlight can  scorch Earth and deplete her resources. 
b. Impatience. Time. A slow trickle and slowly chisel away hard rock over enough time.  
c. Wanting more of them or from them. 

Guide for practice:  
a. Sun shines on Earth by day and Moon by night. 
b, Tuning into Divine time. Appreciating the blessings available to us during our finite time on Earth as they are available.
c. Though the impulse to be together can be very strong, it is key to modulate the desire for balance and health.  We've all been the recipient of needy love. It can be overwhelming and unpleasant. We've also all felt the tendency toward over indulgence. Learning to balance is key to a happy life.

5. Hod sh'b'Hesed

a.The tiny plants growing alongside cactus in the dry desert.   
b.Birds flying upon the air currents*.  
c.Fish Swimming with the waters*.  

*Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Spiritual Challenge:
a.  Resources and energy are finite.  

Guide for Practice:
Just like the delicate cactus flowers find enough to exist, and the birds and fish conserve their own energy by supplementing it with the air and water flow, 
Pause to recognize and utilize the blessings (resources) that are available.  Open to using them in simple and creative ways.  

Note: This is useful when considering oil consumption.

6.Yesod sh'bHesed

a. Trees blossoming.
b.  Pregnancy.

Spiritual Challenge:
Nourishment, Patience, External conditions beyond our control, Grace is needed.

Guide for practice:

a. Proper water and fertilizers. We pray that the weather and external conditions will support the fruit's development. 
b. Thoughtful nourishment for the pregnant mother, low stress environment. Prayer and intention that the baby be born healthy.

7.  Malkhut sh'b'Hesed

a. A juicy apple. 
b. An infant.  An individual.  

Spiritual Challenge:
a. Hunger.  Waiting for the delicious apple to grow to it's fullness. 
b.The baby is an individual distinct from the parents.

Guide for practice:
a. Walt until the time is right to harvest the fruit.
b. Get to know the individual that has been brought into the world.  Listen. Pay attention to what the infant individual tells you.  This is true for individuals of all ages.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Last night we counted Day 3 - Tiferet sh’be’Hesed Compassion, Balance in Expansion

Last night we counted Day 3 Tiferet sh’be’Hesed
Compassion, Balance in Expansion

The birth canal pressing and coddling the infant, massaging and nourishing it as it enters into the world.  The act of nursing; breast milk is formulated specially for the infant. It is what the infant can receive and take in.  Just the right nourishment and flow. 

Giving must be offered in a way that can be received to be effective giving.  Tiferet calls to tuning into the one receiving.  Compassionate giving holds the needs of the recipient as primary.
Not enough or too much do not nourish adequately.  The offering must be matched, that is tuned to the one receiving. 
Guide to Practice; Ask yourself, am I giving in order receive something in return?  Am I giving to demonstrate my superiority?  Am I giving too much and burdening the recipient?
How can I give in a manner that better supports the recipient’s fuller receiving what is being offered?  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Counting the Omer Day 1 and 2

Week One:
Day 1) Hesed Of Hesed.  Expansion that is within Expansion
The blessing if lowing unconditional nourishment flowing like water flows freely abundantly nourishing.  
Image: water flowing, love given
The spiritual challenge is that while water can be nourishing and is essential a “just enough” quantity need be received to sustain life.  Too much can be devastating.  Imagine the floods of Katarina or the tidal waves that resulted from the earthquakes in Japan. Not enough and life does not sustain. Similarly, loving something too much can be devastating.  Too much of a good thing is too much.  Consider how the love is given and actualized.
The guide for practice:  Infinite flow, like infinite blessings sound like they are for the good. Infinite flow, like infinite water can be damaging, like the flood or typhoon.   We are reminded of  the importance of sustainability. We pray for a right amount of blessing to sustain spiritually, intellectually, creatively and physically. We offer a right amount of blessing to nourish those in our sphere of influence, not too much and not too little.

Last night we counted Day 2)
G’vurah sh’beHesed; Contraction within Expansion
Image; a typhoon, a flood, too much chocolate
Spiritual Challenge; healthy love always includes an element of restraint. Rain is a blessing only because it falls in drops and does not flood.
Guide for practice; Is my love disciplined enough?  Am I hurting others by allowing myself to become a crutch for them?  Do I respect the one I love or is my love a selfish love?  Am I projecting my wants and needs upon others?  Do I take into account my partner’s capacity to receive love before I give it?