Mourning and Hope

> Today is the Jewish holiday known as Tish B’Av, or 9th of the month of Av, which commemorates the destruction of the second Temple in ancient Israel. It also signifies the consequences of moving far afield of the consciousness and behavior set forth in Torah, the Five Books of Moses.  
   It is my personal approach to look behind the “stories” and “drama” of my religion (all religions, actually,) to seek out the subtle and most instructive teaching. For me, Tish B’Av is a reminder that it is our connection to Source, combined with our commitment to our highest selves, that sustains us and brings joy to our existence.
   Each of us knows in our hearts and minds when we are thinking, speaking and acting in ways that elevate both our own existence as well as the existence of others, and the earth generally. When we lie or gossip or pollute or think jealous thoughts or participate in deception(of self or others) we literally feel badly. 
   I have heard that there are only two feelings. One feels good and one feels bad. Of course, we have many names for versions of each, depending on the event and circumstances causing it. However, fundamentally, there are only two. Together, they represent an advanced and accurate guidance system that, through feeling, reflects back to us whether or not we are thinking or behaving in a way that supports the best of what we are capable of. Our feelings are in place to reveal what our minds have a tendency to obscure.
   Today, on Tish B’Av, there is collective mourning for the destruction of the Temple. But the real mourning is for how far the people strayed, through their choices, from the calling that is both our birthright and our goal.  That calling is the same for each of us. It is to create through our thoughts, words and deeds, a reality that supports growth, exhibits compassion, fosters individuality, and honors the Source of All That Is.
   As I reflect on this special day, my sadness is not for the lost Temple but rather for what it represented…a direct connection and clear awareness in understanding that what each of us chooses, and how we act upon those choices, literally co-creates the world in which we find ourselves.
   In Judaism, joy and happiness are prohibited on this day. But not hope. 
   And so today, as I feel the sadness of the disconnect we create for ourselves when we make choices that feel bad, and then ignore or deny those feelings, I remain hopeful that tomorrow we can “wake up” and begin anew to trust our hearts, our internal guidance systems, to move us in the direction of our own personal calling and highest good.

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