Sunday, 7 October 2007
Rosh Hashanah in Israel
"Hagsame!" exclaimed a familiar voice onstage and I realized it was Jamie Green (in photo) of the Living Kabbalah System or referred to as "LKS" Level 1. His voice guided me in my first dip into Kabbalah six months ago.. and now, I find myself in Israel celebrating Rosh Hashanah (New Year) with 3000 students from all over the world.
This is the first of everything for me - my first participation in a Kabbalah event, first time to be face-to-face with its founders - Rav Berg, his wife Karen, their sons Michael and Yehuda; first time to do mikveh; first time to be in Israel and the first time for the Kabbalah Center to have an Asian contingent- this is 12 of us from the Philippines.
I didn't know what to expect. Kabbalah is being touted not as a religion but more of a spiritual technology, as a self help guide towards lasting fulfillment using ancient teachings.
What drew me to attend this event was when David Ghyam, the 23-year old L.A.-based teacher in one of his lectures in the Philippines, said that Rosh Hashana is an opportunity "to wipe the slate clean"; to correct not only the negative actions of the last 12 months but also issues from past lives. He said that this is made possible through the confluence of several powerful forces during this specific period in time and for this year its from Sept 12 to 15.
There was indeed some kind of powerful force present. I was in tears while singing and clapping, I was moved by the lectures, I felt some tingling sensation in my fingers and burning sensation in my ears. I just let go and was open to everything including the blowing of the shofar, the scanning of armaic letters and also in fact going to the ocean every morning (except on Shabbat) to do mikveh. This involves immersing the entire body into the water while doing specific meditations as a form of healing.
The bottomline learning during the event is to treat everyone with human dignity; to put others before ourselves which is actually the basic tenet of any religion which can be referred to as the golden rule “do unto others what you want others to do unto you” or even ‘love thy neighbor’.
The whole process involves changing of consciousness. Michael Berg said in his lecture the last day that “the way we view something changes the way it occurs.” I guess this is what is meant by wiping the slate clean. Berg said that, where consciousness is, is where our history is, and thereby we can transform retroactively today.
Kabbalah is not an easy task. It requires constant study to learn the process to become better. Kabbalah encourages to love without reason (unconditional love), to go beyond conflicts (unity), to find joy and happiness in what has already been given (appreciation), resist the desire to react to instinctive impulses (reaction) and to accept responsibility for own actions (accountability).
The world operates on a cause and effect. Whatever happens may be the result of a negative action that we have done a moment ago, yesterday, a week before, last year or even previous lifetimes. In a nutshell, another familiar voice from LKS Level 2 Michael Moscowitz sums up the best advice to resist reacting “when in doubt, shut up!”