Today, for another few minutes, is the last day "in the wilderness" between freedom from enslavement (the story of Passover) and "revelation," stepping into the responsibility of freedom (tonight begins the holyday of Shavuot). It's the last day of "counting the omer," (didn't that seem like a long time?), counting the steps between two ways of being, making each day count.
Shavuot is the cyclical experience of standing at Sinai with all the children of Israel ("isra-el" meaning, "one who is wrestling with god") from all time, of hearing a voice which tradition says was/is outwardly silent, inwardly shattering. Rabbi Gerson Winkler of the Walkingstick Foundation writes about his experience, including this encounter with Miriam, the sister of Moses:
"...You want to explore the meaning of life? You want to achieve Nirvana? Go attend some self-discovery seminar, or read some bestselling paperback on how to attain enlightenment in six easy steps. You want to explore the will of God? Be ready for some seemingly mundane stuff about wholesome, conscientious relating with your ox or donkey, with your laborer, your housekeeper, your children, your partner. That's what God wanted to talk about directly, and chose to do it in a direct open major revelation so as to draw your attention to what is really important, not what you surmise is important; to get the point across loud and clear that the theme of this life is Relationship: relationship with self, other, earth, and with the mystery from which all emanates."Following the energies of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life has brought us today to the Ground of the Ground, the day of the energy center called Malchut, in the week that also corresponds to Malchut. Rabbi Ted writes, "We are here, in this world of countless wonders. This is where we must realize the energies of the Tree. This is the space in which and for which we have responsibility."
"Every Shavu'ot I recall my encounter, with God at the Mountain of Sinai; with Miriam at the Tent of Meeting. Every Shavu'ot I feel myself ripen, so much so that I trust enough to release my desperate grip on the Tree of Knowledge, and allow myself to fall onto the earth."
Malchut is also called Shechinah, the in-dwelling, the filling up, the brimming over Presence.
Jay Michaelson writes,
"...There's a wise teaching that while the mind may know that all is one, the heart still experiences two. You and me; here and there; now and later — or before. And so the heart experiences a yearning which is sometimes sweet, oftentimes holy, and other times bitter and tinged with pain.A journey of only 50 days -- plenty long enough to be very challenging to my ability to sustain attention. Marking each step with a very brief ritual blessing was easy to remember almost every night; following along with the specific meditations was manageable for a few weeks out of the seven; making each day count, paying attention to how each moment is worth counting -- so much more challenging, so much more important.
This yearning is also part of our reality. Our experience of separateness is part of our reality. And that which is present is not mere illusion: it is the Presence of the Divine, the shechinah, the tenth sefirah, also known as malchut, sovereignty...
...In Divine terms, malchut is the world that we experience, which is filled with the Shechinah, the Divine presence. Malchut is that aspect of the Divine which is totally immanent, absolutely here and now, closer to you even than your concept of "you."
Consequently, malchut is also that aspect of God which — as expressed poetically, and in ways that would horrify some rationalist philosophers — experiences what we experience. When we experience joy, malchut experiences joy; when we experience sadness, malchut experiences sadness. Most radically, when people are oppressed, enslaved, or even exterminated — this is malchut's experience as well."
George Por writes, "...a pattern that I sense as essential to our survival: for the new (temporary) states of collective consciousness to lead to the next stage of social evolution, they call for the sustained attention of groups in the tip of the wave to evolutionary dialogues, learning journeys into the future that wants to come into being through our loving attention to the 'magic in the middle,' as the late Finn Voldtofte used to talk about it."
I like to think that "the sustained attention of groups" can mean that the heart and mind and intention that I give to the groups that I care about, contributes to the habit and the practice of attention that calls forth "the future that wants to come into being" through us, and then that attention can remain steady and sustained and available to me and to all of us, even as some of the individuals in the group have their turn to lose focus (me, this week).
Rabbi Ted writes, on the threshold of awakening, "We are already the One we need to be."