DO YOU LOVE ME?

Rabbi Avi Weiss’s father was the Askenazi Rabbi of Natanya in Israel. And at that time, Rabbi Weiss was the only one of their children living in New York. So, when his parents would come to visit him from Israel it was quite an honour.

Before one visit to the States, his dad calls and says, “Look Avi, we’ve changed our plans and instead of coming in on Thursday, we’re coming Wednesday morning. Can you please pick us up from the airport?”

Rabbi Weiss replies, “Abba, [father] you know how much I love you, you know how much I love Mommy…I was able to pick you up on Thursday but I can’t make it Wednesday morning.”

His dad calls him his childhood name, “Avrumi! You know your mother is not well, you know it is hard for us to schlep all our stuff and hail a cab. Please Avrumi, pick us up!”

“But Abba, I’m sorry, I can’t make it. I’ll send someone.”

“Avrumi, you’re now a hotshot rabbi in Brooklyn New York and you don’t have time to pick your parents up at the airport?”

“Abba, you know how much I love you, but…”

“Avrumi, do me a favour. Don’t love me so much and just pick us up at the airport!”

Source:  As told by renowned Orthodox Rabbi Avi Weiss
at a meeting of the San Francisco Board of Rabbis

CONSIDER THIS

“Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words”
Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, #230.

What is your understanding of love?

Remember Fiddler on the Roof? One early scene illustrates one Jewish understanding of love. Tevye asks his wife Golde the very modern question: “Do you love me?”At first she tells him that he’s a fool or maybe sick and he needs to lay down. But Tevye presses her, “Do you love me?” and she responds,  “For twenty-five years, I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house,  given you children, milked the cow. After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?”

Well, what do you think? Did Golde love Tevye?

LOVE IS THE CURE

Master: “Love is the best cure. Love is the most effective medicine for humans.”
Disciple: “What if it doesn’t work?”
Master: “Increase the dose!”

CONSIDER THIS

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.  Maya AngelouFacebook page,  January 11, 2013.

MEMENTO

Once, someone requested of Mulla Nasrudin: “Give me your ring as a memento, so that whenever I look at it I will remember you.”

Mulla replied: “You cannot have the ring. But whenever you want to remember me, just look at your finger and remember that I did not give you the ring!”

Source: Houman Farzad
Classic Tales of Mulla Nasreddin
Mazda Pub, 2015

CONSIDER THIS

What do you think is needed, if anything at all, to remember your connections, your relationships, your friendships?

I thank my God every time I remember you,  constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you …” Philippians 1:3-4

THE WAY OUT OF FEAR

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.

Source: Pema Chödrön
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
(Shambhala; Anniversary edition, 2016) pages 33-34

CONSIDER THIS

Fear whispers into your ears all the time and whether you listen to it or not is the choice that you get to make in your life.  Many of us make the mistake of assuming as true the fearful stories and fear scenarios that we confront in our imagination. Instead, what if you chose to befriend fear and instead of getting paralyzed by the stories, you decided to find out for yourself and did the thing you feared.  Fear is built on structures of assumptions, lack of action and lack of awareness. Once you move through the fog of fear and shine the light of awareness by taking action or moving forward, fear loses its power and efficacy.

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“When things fall apart or you feel fear, rather than feel you’re getting the short end of the stick, feel lucky. Only when you feel fear will you feel the opportunity to have the courage to grow. Being courageous and having a great life is all about being intimate with fear in a wise and graceful way. Feel the fear, and then do what needs to get done. Rather than being depressed about fear, lean into it, and see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.” — Pema Chödrön as paraphrased by Cathy Chester (AnEmpoweredSpirit.com)

JUST LISTENING

The curious reporter asked the leader of a religious community, “what do you and your sisters in the community say to God when you gather together for prayer?”

The sister replied, “We say nothing. We just listen”

“Oh!” The reporter sighed. “What does God say to you then?”

And the sister, with a twinkle in her eyes, replied, “Nothing. God just listens.”

Source: Unknown. I tell the story here as I recall hearing it.

CONSIDER THIS

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”– Franz Kafka

START BEFORE YOU ARE READY

“I was in my late twenties, so I had a business, but nobody knew who I was at the time. I was headed to the Virgin Islands and I had a very pretty girl waiting for me, so I was, umm, determined to get there on time.

At the airport, my final flight to the Virgin Islands was cancelled because of maintenance or something. It was the last flight out that night. I thought this was ridiculous, so I went and chartered a private airplane to take me to the Virgin Islands, which I did not have the money to do.

Then, I picked up a small blackboard, wrote “Virgin Airlines. $39.” on it, and went over to the group of people who had been on the flight that was cancelled. I sold tickets for the rest of the seats on the plane, used their money to pay for the chartered plane, and we all went to the Virgin Islands that night.”

Richard Branson
www.virgin.com

CONSIDER THIS

At times we feel ill-equipped, underprepared and unqualified. But the truth is that what we already have right here, right now, is enough to get us started.  It does not matter if you’re trying to craft a blog post, write a book, lose weight, paint a landscape, compose a melody, run a marathon … what you have right here, right now is enough to get you going. So, don’t wait. Start. Start now even before you are ready!

THE WORLD MIRRORS THE HEART

THE WORLD MIRRORS THE HEART

Su Dongpo prided himself on his wit and liked to debate Master Foyin. One day, over tea, he challenged the master. “Foyin, people think you are an enlightened monk, but to me you just look like a big, stinking pile of worthless dung sitting on your pillow all day long.”

Su Dongpo leaned backward and crossed his arms slyly.

Master Foyin placed his hands in prayer position, “My dear Dongpo, but to me you look like a Buddha.”

Su Dongpo grinned and bid Master Foyin farewell.

When Su Dongpo got home, he was wearing a triumphant smile. His sister asked him what happened.

“Today I outsmarted Master Foyin,”Su Dongpo replied, then recounted the events to her.

“Oh no, brother! I’m sorry to tell you this, but you lost badly,” she said.

“What do you mean?”

“Don’t you realize that the world mirrors the heart? Master Foyin sees you as a Buddha because he is a Buddha. You see him as a pile of dung. What does that make you?”

Su Dongpo turned beet red. Then, all of a sudden, he became enlightened.

Source: There are many versions of this traditional story, each with their own unique take on the tale. This is the version as told by Qigong master, Jihui (Robert) Peng, in The Master Key: Qigong Secrets for Vitality, Love and Wisdom. (Sounds True, 2014) pages 223-224

CONSIDER THIS

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” —C.G. Jung

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” Hermann Hesse

“We discover in ourselves what others hide from us and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves.” —Vauvenargues

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