1-28-2024 An awesome January.

Happy Sunday!

This month in seminary we are studying Judaism. We finished our class on Buddhism on the 7th so later that week I was looking through my textbooks to get my studies and practices with Judaism underway. Our textbook on spiritual practices offered an odd practice for our month of Judaism – it was the practice of awe.

My journey with awe began in our January 7th class on shadow work. It was through a writing exercise where we took lines from a reflection and put them together into a poem structure. I found this to be magical and wrote ‘awe’ on the top of my notes for the day.

This same weekend I was still processing a new self-realization about something that was bothering me all December. All December I had felt a lack of confidence in speaking with people. That first week of January I began the ‘Poetry as Ritual’ elective class. In the class I wrote two poems that showed me that what I thought was something lacking in me for not wanting to speak up was actually humility. My discomfort was me being mindful of not knowing the subject matter and therefore holding my tongue instead of just speaking in an egoic manner.

In the week that followed, I was listening to a Center for Action and Contemplation podcast with Brian McLaren in which he ended with a prayer asking for humility and awe. I never knew the two went together! After hearing the prayer, I knew they worked together but did not understand how.

In my seminary study group, I shared my story and a friend explained that we need to put aside our ego to come into awe. Suddenly it made sense that awe and wonder, although they can be spontaneous feelings, arise when our mind is not first judging, classifying, and/or analyzing what we see. We need to be humble.

For our end of the month reflection, we were asked to reflect on how the wisdom of the Judaism tradition is expressed.

When I first considered this question, an answer did not come straight to mind. When I thought over my month, it was the practice of noticing awe that had impacted me most. This had me ask, ‘why is awe a practice related to Judaism?’

I referred to our textbook “Invitation to World Religions” (by Brodd, Little, et al.) to review how Judaism defined God. The textbook described a God who transcends the world of humans, is omnipotent and omniscient. The textbook added, “Most important to Judaism … is the concept of divine ‘oneness’, which can be understood to mean that there is only one divine Being in the universe.” (pg.385)

My thoughts then turned to a handout were given in September which described the ‘3-Faces of God’. I recognized that this view of God is in the 3rd person or ‘Infinite Face of God’. This showed me that, as awe comes from mystery or new experiences, it relates to the vast unknown. This view of God opens us to experiences of wonder when things that we cannot understand are attributed to divine Creation.

_/\_ Feeling blessed in humility and awe.

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