Friday, September 12, 2014

On Teshuva (Returning)

Teshuvah. Returning. The return is a constant one we need to do every day and every hour in our minds. To remember what matters. To remember what our purpose is. Not to give in to despair, but to feel God’s presence amidst all that swirls around us.

Ahat sha’alti. One thing I really desire, and that is to sit in God’s house, to feel that I am not alone, that I am surrounded and buoyed by His loving presence. Though I am surrounded by a military camp, goes the Psalm, still I feel secure. Whatever craziness happens around me, I am at peace in God’s light.

But only if I remember that there is really only one thing that I desire, only if I keep track of what is important amidst the bustle, not allowing myself to get side-tracked (lo taturu) by what seems urgent and disturbing in the moment.

It is a little like meditiation. The basic instruction for meditators is simple enough – to focus on the breath. Oh, but the distractions –the thoughts and worries – that come our way when we try to maintain such focus. The goal then is a constant teshuvah, a constant feeling of return. Yes, we notice the movement away, how our minds climb like monkeys, but each time we return, we come back to that breath, we are reminded that there is a center. We are grounded and focused, and come what may, we have the power to return.

I notice my own mind’s insanities, its moods and preoccupations. We are slaves to these, and through them create our own suffering. But to break through it all, to feel that yes, there is a Oneness behind it all, that we are held in love by that One --- to be able to constantly return to this grounding notion, that is teshuvah (and that is freedom). Ahat sha’alti -- I really only want one thing, and come what may, I will return to that one thing with all my heart and with all my soul.