There is a story in the Jewish tradition about the beginning of the world. I am familiar with Rachel Naomi Remen’s telling of the story, as it was told to her by her grandfather. In the beginning, God created the world as light. He placed this light within vessels and sent them out into the world. Somewhere along the way, the vessels broke, scattering this perfect light in all directions. The work of creation, and of humans in particular, is to see this holy light throughout creation and to restore it to wholeness. This act of restoration is called Tikkun Olam. You can hear her telling of the story here: https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/rachel-naomi-remen-the-story-of-tikkun-olam
This story deeply resonates with my experience of life on Earth. From my very earliest memories, I could sense that something was amiss. Something seemed broken. There was always a feeling of longing and exile for me, for as long as I can remember. This sense has been the seed of my path throughout life, and I consider it now to be a great gift. My longing to discover the root of this brokenness, and to heal within myself and the world, has lead me into some truly remarkable experiences and has guided my connection to many amazing people.
This brokenness manifests in our lives in many different ways. Some days we hardly notice the places where we are cracked or dented, while other days we feel utterly shattered. Most of us have experienced long periods, or seasons of our lives that are suffused with this energy of brokenness. While terribly painful, I have come to see that these seasons are some of the most precious and sacred of our lives. The Buddha called this state dukkha, which translates roughly as suffering or unsatisfactoriness. He believed that this was a prerequisite for awakening, and a universal condition for human life. One of my favorite teachers, Shree Rajneesh (or Osho as he is most commonly called), states that the movement toward Yoga, or union, is not possible without dukkha. It is this brokenness and the hopelessness that it engenders that makes wholeness possible.
What is beneath this brokenness? What is the root of the suffering? What is possible when we turn toward the suffering with compassion and gentleness? I am eager to explore these questions and to offer some fruit from my own practice. Please consider joining me at Firefly Hollow on August 19th from 2:00-5:00pm as we explore this turning toward brokenness both in ourselves, and in the world.
Registration is open to all and available through Firefly Hollow Wellness Center.