There is a radiant inner spaciousness and peace that is not only available to us, but is also literally what we already are at the deepest level. But, since the movement of life tends to hide our own essence from us, it is so important to take the time out of our normal routines to tap into Presence and give our deepest being the space to really blossom—that is the promise of our upcoming daylong retreat, A Day of Illumination, on June 13!
There is a hint of this in the Torah portion, Parshat Beha’alotkha:
בְּהַעֲלֹֽתְךָ֙ אֶת־הַנֵּרֹ֔ת אֶל־מוּל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה יָאִ֖ירוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת הַנֵּרֽוֹת
“When you kindle the lamps, the seven lamps should shine toward the face of the menorah…” Bamidbar (Numbers)8:2, Parshat Beha’alotkha
The light is your awareness; the menorah is your body. “Kindling the lamps” is becoming present with the body; that’s why it says the light should shine toward the face of the menorah—when we let go of the nearly constant stream of thinking and bring awareness into connection with our bodies, with our senses and with our breathing, a profound transformation can take place.
Ordinarily, our awareness tends to be “fused” with our thoughts and feelings, giving us the sense of being a separate entity inside our bodies, looking out. But as we become more and more present for extended periods of time, our awareness can begin to recognize its own nature as vastness, freedom, and joy. We can know ourselves experientially as this vastness, and then return to our ordinary lives with a more stable rootedness in this deepest truth of who we are.
I hope you will join us for A Day of Illumination and give yourself the gift of Presence! I look forward to seeing you there!
Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks