okay. okay. so here it comes.
when i was younger my parents sent us to camp, jewish camp, as so many jewish parents do. only i’m not quite sure they did enough research to find something that aligned with their own philosophies (whatever they are) and so off we went to Gan Yisrael, affiliated and run by the Chabad movement. My fondest memory? Sitting outside in the sun waiting for popsicles and for my parents to pick me up, all while singing “We Want Moshiach Now!,”in a frenzy…I remember it being something like sports ‘n Jewish Jesus camp.
What I can’t understand, and what’s been holding me back so long, is this simplistic, quasi-pagan outlook on God that I’ve been fed since I was 4. “God is going to get you, God is going to help you, God killed my hamster, God was sweating and that’s why it’s raining in Buffalo.” How obtuse. How unintelligent. How pathetic. It conjures up that familiar Santa image – old guy with the beard, taking memos in a gigantic golden scroll. He’s watching you.
My clearing away of all that crap left me in the middle of Zen. Complete, total emptiness. Everything is nothing. nothing exists. life is irrational, and so what the hell is existence? what are we but simple amoebas running around trying to screw each other (financially,. socially, and sexually) to make more of ourselves? All this, the world, us, me, you, the chair your ass is sitting on, the computer screen, it’s nothing. Identity, the idea of I, ownership, possession, is ridiculous. Judaism is a fraud, it’s bullshit, it’s a bullshit fraudulent crutch for lost people to lean on for meaning, an answer for suffering, and a code of ethics in our lawless world.
And then I started seeing the connections.
First and foremost, Torah is solely metaphor, and nothing else. It’s a way of teaching culture and ethics through stories, because that’s what Semites do, and because we, everybody, especially children, love to hear stories. In kindergarten, at a bar, at the Cheesecake Factory…We love stories, so story is the method.
You with me so far? Maybe there were a bunch of Jews who lived in Egypt. Maybe. Who knows. I don’t. Do you? Can it be proven? Is that important. Not really. Unless you want get hung up on that for the rest of your life. But once you accept it as metaphor, and lose a bit of yourself, you start to shed pieces of your ego, which in Judaism, (and of course Buddhism), is the source of all suffering and pain.
I realize this has opened up a huge, bottomless box of ideas and directions. But my mind starts with God, first with what it isn’t. First off, IT IS MORE OF A CONCEPT, A FEELING, than anything. It’s difficult to grasp, and most of us won’t come close, because it goes beyond the physical, the tangible, the concrete. It’s beyond human. It’s not your moral accountant. It is everything, and it’s nothing. It’s the embodiment of everything into one. An interconnectedness of everything, a space where ego disappears, and all their is this ‘thing’ (it could be called bicycle, sexually frustrated kangaroo, God, or Google- your choice). So is there a God? Much easier to drop the article. Is there God? Yes, there is God. What is so unfortunate is how this entire study has been bastardized by blind, unintelligent fanaticism. I’m not referencing anything or anybody. But I think it’s smart to maintain that fundamentalism of any sort is bad.
So if everything is everything, then I am everything. And so are you. And so is the basketball. I am the moon, the moon is the computer, the computer is your SPF 35 Sunscreen, your Sunscreen is your neighbor. It’s all the same thing! Salinger writes about it in Nine Stories, in “Teddy,” the child prodigy who at some point attains Enlightenment and sees that his sister is pouring milk into the glass, or “God into God.” If everything is connected, then we can begin to understand the Golden Rule, found in nearly all major religions…
Love your Neighbor, Give more than Receive, Treat Others as you want to be Treated. It’s so simple. It all returns to the circle of kindness and being fair to others, since we’re all part of this universe, the sum of everything. The kinder we behave, the closer we come to this understanding, this understanding of this strange (I hope less so) God concept.
In Judaism, the central prayer is the “Shema Yisrael,” which goes like this:
Listen up people! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One!
It doesn’t read: God…He is the One..It’s meant to teach that we must strip away our hindrances of gender, physical makeup, and such, to begin to understand that everything is one, everything is a connected. Thus the prayer serves as a 3x daily reminder to see the world as one, and therefore, to treat others with respect and offer assistance and give whenever possible. It’s NOT an incantation, a mantra for worship…’God’ doesn’t need to hear something, in a specific order. It’s more for ourselves than anyone else.
Wow. Alright. I think this should continue in comments, because that was a lot of writing. Happy exodus everybody. Liberate yourself from that which binds you. More on that later.