Tuesday, September 11, 2007

fall beyond all fear

Autumn! We're moving into my favorite season, the time of my first memories, the showy months of firecracker color and moody disintegrations. Time to reflect and correct!

This (ever so slightly edited) excerpt of a letter from Rabbi Michael Lerner is a fine starting point. I do struggle against the idea of a Godplace or a Godself (seems to me this necessarily includes any place that can be called a place). Nonetheless, I'm grateful, what with all my distracted troublemaking and ego-based adventuring, that I receive stuff like this to remind me what I ought to take seriously at the center:


It is particularly appropriate for 9/11, as we pray, that Americans can let go of their desire for revenge and move to a higher level of consciousness, abandoning the fantasy that somehow "homeland security" can be achieved through militarism and dominating others (as the U.S. Administration and its hired guns in Iraq are trying to do).

Let us pray for the healing of the fear and trauma that guides the policies of the U.S. government and many of its leaders. It is also appropriate for Ramadan and for the Jewish High Holy Days, days when we search our deeds and contemplate how far we have strayed from our highest God place within. We know that each of us is deeply imperfect, and though we have been wronged by others, our spiritual traditions teach us to move beyond whatever anger we've experienced to a place of forgiveness. We must start that process by forgiving ourselves also, for not being all that we wish we could be, and for losing contact with our holy God place within us.

Imagine how blessed our world could be if that path of forgiveness became part of the reality of America's relationship to the world, Israel's and Palestine's relationship to each other, the Muslim world and the West's relationship to each other, the Chinese and Indian and Western relatonships with each other. And from that forgiveness, we would move lovingly to change economic and political arrangements that are oppressive or hurtful both domestically and internationally. Well, we may not be able to make all this happen in the next few weeks, but one place we can start is by using this prayer every night of our lives before we go to sleep.

Many blessings to you, and I humbly beg your pardon for any ways that I have hurt, offended, or otherwise transgressed in relationship to you!

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Bedtime Prayer of Forgiveness

I forgive every person who has hurt or upset me.

May no one be punished because of me.
May no one suffer from karmic consequences for hurting or upsetting me.

Help me become aware of the ways I may have unintentionally or intentionally hurt others, and please give me guidance and strength to rectify those hurts and to develop the sensitivity to stop acting in a hurtful way.

Let me forgive others, let me forgive myself—but also let me change in ways that make it easy for me to avoid paths of hurtfulness to others.

I seek peace. Let me BE peace.
I seek justice. Let me be just.
I seek a world of kindness. Let me be kind.
I seek a world of generosity. Let me be generous with all that I have.
I seek a world of sharing. Let me share all that I have.
I seek a world of giving. Let me be giving to all around me.
I seek a world of love. Let me be loving beyond all reason, beyond all normal expectation, beyond all societal frameworks that tell me how much love is "normal," beyond all fear that giving too much love will leave me with too little.