Explore the Depths and Limits of Truth: 17 Days of Omer 5780, Emet of Emet

Today was seventeen days, which was two weeks and three days of the Omer 5780. תפארת שבתפארת. Beauty of Beauty. אמת שבאמת, Emet ShebeEmet Truth of Truth.

The harmonious, complete integration of covenantal love and judgment: clear-eyed truth, existential beauty. 

Truth Exists, Narrative Moves

Existential truth exists. Facts exist. There are many levels to truth and they are all extremely real. We often think if we provide enough facts, the truth of our perspective will be clarified and people will act the way we want them to act. Yet, that is never the case.

Facts do not move people. Stories move people.

Engage someone in a narrative that appeals to their values and they may change their mind. People may accept change when they feel valued.

Paradigms are as substantial as Truth

Throughout my life, I have been searching for nonviolent paradigm shifts. (This is why my Twitter handle is Social Upheaval.)

Paradigm shifts are inflection points that change the world from what it was to what it could be. It is deeply difficult to imagine the paradigms in which people used to live. Blood letting hastened many deaths. Yet, the extremely rational, scientific method for healing people for centuries required blood letting.

The inner logic of conspiracy theories is as solid as the inner logic of spiritual reflection. People are not crazy for believing stories that bring order to their lives. 

For the people living within a paradigm, they are as substantial as any factual, scientific truth. This is the reality of the human experience we must accept.

Refractions of the Divine Create Cracks in Our Stories

A dozen years ago, I was new to learning Kabbalah. I had a pediatric understanding of Judaism, and was virtually illiterate in the tradition. Wide gaps remain in my knowledge. 

The truths I allowed to sink into my soul:

  1. My past does not have to determine my future.
  2. I can choose how much I lean into the personality I built to defend myself from a chaotic world. 
  3. Inner joy and contentment is a choice. 
  4. If I am bitter, resentful, or angry with my circumstances I have two choices: learn to live with it or find a way to quit. 

Rabbi Finley teaches these core truths at Ohr HaTorah. Every day I relearn them.

When surrounded by whining, resentful children, I can lean into my anxiety at being forced to stay with them 24/7. Alternatively, I can take a break, take a breath, and lean into my empathy for how small their world has become. 

By remembering the spiritual truths I have learned on my journey, every day gets a little easier. Physical pain and mental discomfort become easier when I remember that love, justice, truth, and beauty envelop me. Divine love unfolds with every new word my son learns, every new day I am able to refrain (a little bit) from raising my voice, or from saying things I will regret.

Beautiful Harmonious Truth is Bloody Hard

Unfortunately, retreating from the real world to find the goddess within will not transform daily life for long. This is the cold, harsh reality of life meeting the gentle, overflowing nectar of the Divine. I have faith in this path leading me and the world towards wholeness. 

Wholeness requires shattering paradigms, revealing truth currently unseen. I pray the world integrates, supporting one another more completely, valuing one another dearly, embracing one another with respect and honor for the dignity and value of each human life. 

Previous Incarnations of This Day

5779 / 2019: Perfect synthesis of grace and judgment; loving kindness and discipline.

5778 / 2018: Sinking into Pure Beauty and Beautiful Truth.

5777 / 2017: Struggling towards pure compassion.

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  1. Pingback: Compassion within Compassion: 17 Days of Omer 5781 - Rabbi (in-training) Minster

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