I have just returned from morning services. It was a very cold morning and we were short of a minyan -a quorum of ten adult Jews- by two.Understandably, the cold and slippery surfaces discourage many, especially the elderly, to venture forth from their homes. It is safer and more comfortable to stay indoors. Curiously, however, as I grow older , I find daily services to be most refreshing and reinvigorating. Aside from having a full and alert morning in which to enjoy the hours, the prayers serve as spiritual springboards to gratefulness feeling and awareness.
Many feel grateful for personal success and well-being. But most of us have difficulty enhancing our consciousness of the myriad gifts shared by all, regularly and ordinarily. One blessing, the opening blessing of the formal morning prayers , is particularly enlightening in this regard.
Praised are You.....creating light and fashioning darkness , the Maker of peace and all things.
I gaze out the window at the sun's rays and realize the gift of light that belongs to all. It is a free gift that brightens our lives and spirits if we would just acknowledge this reality with attention and awareness.
Perhaps the most dramatic and penetrating phrase of this prayer is the perception of thankfulness for the 'allness,' the totality of life, the fullest spectrum of the universe which is simply there, awaiting our response of gratefulness and wonder.
The NY Times this morning, in its Science section, carried an article entitled : Laws of Nature, Source Unknown-Which came first:the order or the universe. This article debated the issue of whether the universe is governed by a single law , several laws or whether all is randomly determined. The author makes a good point when stating : "The law of no law is still a law". Despite the world's complexity, I believe that it is difficult to deny the wonder of what is and the amazement associated with our ability to even raise the question of ' forever or emergent ' in attempting to understand reality more clearly.
Prayer therefore is the vehicle for deepened discernment of what I would like to call ' the divine' in life.
Essentially, therefore, when granted the privilege of birth, of life, we are given an all- embracing gift for free.
The notion of "allness" will be explored further tomorrow, God willing.