Sunday, July 13, 2008, 12:03 AM
The dictionary describes idolatry as excessive devotion to or reverence for some person or thing. It has taken me years to see the little "golden calf" or "attachments" I have had in my life.
It never dawned on me that self-seeking could be elevated to the point of idolatry. Addictions to food or shopping or anything that is turned to for comfort can be a "golden calf", or an attachment or a self destructive habit. Not that is is wrong to find comfort or joy in life. It's the attitude, the true intention behind the seeking of something outside of oneself that can be delusional and a false "god" used to replace or in place of a spiritual connection with the Divine.
I am learning to turn to The Divine as my source instead of trying to produce my own "high on life" experience. Joy in living happens when I am connected with the Source of my existence instead of worrying about what I think must be my needs and wants. It is not always easy - my greatest teacher has been my Autistic daughter! In other words I am learning to grow and practice acceptance and mindfulness and to put into action the compassion I feel. My attitude determinds the way my Karma unfolds. I can stay stuck or I can change. Not that I have completely arrived for sure. The journey has its own rewards and beauty IS everywhere and in everyone.
Working on my own inner healing from years of childhood and adolescence abuse has been an amazing journey. I am learning to forgive. I am learning G-d is able to give me what I need through all the teachers He has sent me, many different experiences, trials and errors and praying through what I do not understand.
I am letting myself embrace my Healer - HaShem (the Name) - my Father and my Creator, the King of the Universe. I am still learning the meaning of "teshuva" as a Baal Teshuva. (Returning Jew) I am finding a passion for life that is not dependant on "feeling good" because of this or that thing or this or that accomplishment or this or that compliment.
People say to me - "I don't know how you do it" refering to the care my daughter needs. They say you are so loving and have so much patience. Yeah right - I know the truth. I am learning love. I am learning patience. I do not have any more love or any more patience than anyone one else. I am learning to access what is given to all of us. I know I may not be able to do this forever - age is placing its limitations - then I will be learning to let go - to trust the right path will be given to her. New learnings may be thrust upon me.
Back to my thoughts about Abe: I am thinking about the kind of freedom Abraham must have had to so generously offer and so completely give his only son born of Sara to G-d. Now in modern times the thought of a human sacrifice is considered barbaric, let alone an animal sacrifice - sheesh - if the Temple sacrifices where to be instituted again the animal rights people would be up in arms to damn Israel! It is just unthinkable.
Yet we humans can still kill each other in the name of a religion, if not physically kill, emotionaly mame causing great harm. We extend the opposite of freedom in the guise of "righteousness" in an attempt to "control" people as if we ourselves were a "god".
This story is also about "attachment" - to be willing to let go of a prized "posession" clears the way in the spiritual realm to experience the Oneness of G-d and our Oneness with the Divine, like the old saying, "whatever you hold onto to tightly will leave you and whatever you release from your grasp will return to you." (Maybe not in the same form.) We just need to be WILLING to step onto a different path of existance, (in releasing), and we can be as free as the Hebrews of old became leaving Egypt and guess what - our Creator will meet us there!
When I speak of an excessive devotion or "attachment", this is not the same as bonding. Bonding is a normal and healthy way of living and living with compassion for our loved ones and our friends. When bonding is done with humility, and faith we can let go of any negative control of our dear others.
I suspect when Abraham left his own father's home and the land of his birth he was leaving behind that kind of conrol. This story is so much deeper than it appears to be at first, which is what I love about Torah - knowledge and insight continue to happen as deeper layers are discovered in the same stories repeated again and again. Baroch HaShem! (All Praise and Bessings and Thankfulness to the Divine)