A rabbi with whom I am familiar was writing in response to a series of posts in a forum. The posts were started by a woman who seems to be firm in her personal faith and path, but is pushy, domineering and intolerant of others whose journey is different than her own. The back and forth has continued for days, with no relenting on anyone's part. Well, the rabbi wrote some of the best words I've read in a long time and I wanted to share them with you:
"We all dance in different colored rays of light that all trace their way back to the prism of reality which refracts the one light that comes from beyond. If we are open we realize this fact and appreciate the other rays, even though we are most secure within one
particular ray of color. We travel not only different paths, but even those of who share the same pathway are not standing at the same point on the road."
His writing is always eloquent and I wish I could sit under his teaching. He has a way of looking at life and the differences in people that astounds me. It is true; we all dance in different colored rays.
The word "dance" first caught my attention. We are in a dance with the Divine. A dance can be quite intimate. Have you ever truly watched a ballroom dance competition? There is a look in the eye, a movement in the step that brings a heart to the performance. It is that intimacy that we all seek along our personal path, be that songs of worship or ritual in the forest.
The rabbi continues to describe "different colored rays of light." We all have a journey. It is a personal journey; a spiritual journey that is different for all. The different colored rays are like the paths: Judaism, Paganism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. And the differences within those paths are colored, as well. Each has it's own flavor, a way of worship that is Divine in nature. No one ray is better than the other because...
The colored rays all trace back to the "reality which refracts the one light that comes from beyond." I don't necessarily think it matters what name one gives to the Divine. We all experience Goddess (God, Creator, Divine, etc.) in a way that is different...but the same. I used to dislike that phrase, "different but same." But it is true here. We worship. We offer time, talents and treasures. Some of us pray. Some meditate. Some use the mind to find peace. Some use the heart. Some experience their faith loudly. Some, quietly. But all in all, we all seek the same: an experience with the Divine that brings health to our bodies and comfort to our souls.
And "even those of us who share the same pathway are not standing at the same point on the road." How true. Many look down their noses at those who they feel are not as enlightened. Within our same paths, there is elitism which quelches the desire of the follower. What a shame, truly.
When did we become a faith of destruction and not rebuilding and replanting? What happened along the way that turned our hearts to stone when it comes to others? Being accepting of another's personal journey is part of being secure in our own! And being secure in our own faith doesn't mean we try to convert all we see to our way of faith! It's not about how many people you convert to your path. It's about loving everyone with whom you come in contact on your path and your journey.
Maybe it's time we all put down the hatchets and turned our swords into plowshares. Maybe it's time to learn to love and accept and not beat down and degrade. Maybe it's time to be people of faith; faith that loves all humankind, seeks to respect Mother Earth and be creators rather than takers of Her bounty, offers care to the sick and in despair.
That is what faith is about: reaching out. We ought to try it sometime. And great thanks to the rabbi who challenges me with each word he says.