For these ten days, the gates have been open and the world has been fluid. We are finally awake, if only in fits and starts, if only to toss and turn. For ten days, transformation is within our grasp. For ten days, we can imagine ourselves not as fixed and immutable beings, but rather as a limitless field upon which qualities and impulses rise up and fall away again like waves on the sea. Some of these impulses rise up with particular intensity. We may even experience them as afflictions, but they can be the keys to our transformation. Their intensity points to the disequilibrium and dysfunction in us that is in need of transformation.
For these ten days, the field of the mind is like a painting by Kandinsky. Energy and form float in that field and we have the sense that we can shape our lives by choosing where to invest our focus and intention, by choosing which forms to follow and which to let go. This is not a linear process, not something that takes a clear or even discernible path. Rather is happens in fits and starts. Sometimes it may not even seem to be happening at all. But the gates are in fact open, and if our intention is aligned with this spiritual reality, then transformation also opens as a real possibility.
(Alan Lew, This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared)
May this dreamlike reminder of the purpose of the High Holy days rejuvenate us as we begin our long fast and the homestretch of our ten days of teshuvah, tzedakah, and tefillah. May we remember to continue to repent and return to the path of goodness throughout the year. May we find moments every day to give tzedakah or perform a mitzvah. May we find prayer in our hearts as we express gratitude for another year of life.
The recurring theme of Yom Kippur liturgy, and particularly of Kol Nidrei is repentance for the sin of wrongful speech, the sin we are all most likely to commit. This evening as we ask for God’s forgiveness for our wrongful speech, I would like to ask that we also think about rightful speech, and how we can all do more of it. The Quakers have a saying, which has been widely adopted in social justice circles – “Speak Truth to Power.” What is your truth that you wish you were more vocal about? What are the powers you wish understood your truth better?
May the Ultimate Power of the Universe hear our truths now. Amen.