Monday, April 2, 2012

That Very Narrow Bridge

It is well worth reading anything written by the Rabbi but this is a theme close to my heart and one that I have written on before.
Check out his webpage: The Perpetual Pilgrim. He is a gentle, wise transcendent person, an expert in Kaballah, Jewish mediation, and is one of the Rabbi written about in Roger Kamenetz's wonderful book, The Jew in the Lotus, detailing their encounter with the Dalai Lama. Kamenetz tells an instructive tale of the the Jewish Buddhists or Jubu of which I would count myself a lapsed affiliate.
Several years ago, I was lucky to briefly study and pray and mediate with Rabbi Omer-Man. His influence lingers. Our family Passover Seder back in SoCal was Buddhist themed about the push for spiritual freedom, the need to leave behind our our Pharos and places of mental and pyschological enslavement.
Here is the Rabbi Omer-Man's recent post:
That Very Narrow Bridge
“This life’s journey is like crossing a very narrow bridge; the main thing is not to give in to fear.”
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
The bridge in that well-known hasidic song is not a wooden stucture mounted on a trestle a few inches above the ground, a plank from which any fall would be gentle and uneventful. It is more like a catwalk suspended precariously high over a windy abyss, whose distant depths are occasionally visible but more often shrouded in gloom or fog.
Rabbi Nachman is not saying that the terror below is not real — he knows that it is, and that it is palpable — but rather that there is security in holding firmly onto the handrail of faith.
The abyss is radical doubt, despair in divine providence. The bridge is certainty, trust in divine goodness and truth; it is a pathway to the Infinite.
When abyss and bridge are no longer two, but one, there is no abyss, there is no bridge, and life’s journey is a broad highway to the One.
Give us the courage, H’, to look into the darkness, to find You in your absence. Show us there a radiance that is brighter than a thousand suns.

לֹא-תִירָא, מִפַּחַד לָיְלָה; מֵחֵץ, יָעוּף יוֹמָם

The rabbi says " The bridge is certainty, trust in divine goodness and truth; it is a pathway to the Infinite."
Would that I believed. I don't. I am a bundle of radical doubt, but I push on. What else is there to do? This is not about bravery or faith or even good sense. It is just doing what is necessary. Ram-Dass (another teacher I was lucky enough to meet) said to me that perhaps my path was not through my beliefs nor my theology, but through my simple actions. It remains with me as a generous statement.
As Fritz Perls said: "The only way out is through." or the more prosaic: Fake it to your make it.
So I just keep walking on that very narrow bridge.
Happy Easter and Good Pesach to all my friends.

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