Krista Tippett in her book Becoming Wise was interviewing Rachel Naomi Remen. Remen shared a story that her Grandfather used to tell her when she was a child. This Jewish story is particularly lovely as it speaks to the value of Tikkun olam, or translated, the restoration of the world.
In my ear, it sounds so very similar to the creation story of Kabbalah, a mystic branch of Judaism. Perhaps sharing a common root, this story engages us in a practical, lived, spiritual practice which can be experienced and practiced by just about anyone, anywhere.
Paraphrase of the story goes ...
In the beginning, there was only holy darkness, the source of all things. In the course of history, at a moment in time, our world, the world of many thousands of things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light.
The source of all-things continued to pour itself; it’s immenseness into this ray of light. But because of its vast weighty-ness and density the ray of light could not contain it. It broke. In fact, it shattered. The contents of the ray of light, thousands of fragments of light were scattered throughout the vastness. In the fullness of time, they fell into all events and all people, where still some remain deeply hidden until this very day.
Our collective task is to keep our hearts and eyes open for these fragments of light hidden in others and within the whole of creation. To find those fragments of light that may have been grapphittied over by circumstances of life, and to lift the fragments of light above our heads sharing it with the world for its collective healing. As a part of this world, an expression of great love and light, we are invited to be repairers or co-healers of the world by simply raising the light.
This story opens a host of possibilities to engage life awake. It’s not about over-the-top heroism by making a single seismic difference; rather it’s about a lifestyle of being aware of the everyday opportunities for healing the parts of the world that you come in contact with as a part of living your life.
A couple of practical steps ...
- Live awake - resist the drone of life that lulls you to sleep and oblivious to what is happening around you.
- Look for beauty - look for the rays of light that manifest as beauty, pause and savour it.
- Practice our faith - to practice our spirituality is a way of lifting the light above our heads. Our best prayers, practices, and rituals are impactful to our world.
- Call out, coax out beauty, courage, love from others - People need to be encouraged and recognized for their light.