at sabbath dinner in rabbi lerner's house hwubby says, rabbi, please tell us about jesus from the neo-hassidic point of view.
o-me-o-my, an explosion of knowledge and opinions ensues.
as i am enjoying the salmon that rabbi lerner shopped and prepared and a panoply of yummy dishes that my fellow congregants brought i am also eating up the precious and valuable information and insights that people offered up with great passion without losing respect for others.
i can't remember exactly when but it is probably not too far off to say it is when the discussion is a big mush of who is jesus, what does it mean by accepting jesus, is jesus a jewish renewal movement figure, and a bunch of lofty, profound, provocative issues that i know for sure i have an experience of the far-sightedness of the almighty in placing the instruction 'do not commit idolatry' so high on the list.
idol worship can be so subtle. idol worship can come in so many clever, pretty disguises.
somehow, throughout the evening, amidst the lively conversations, one person keeps coming to my mind. aunt choy mey. my mother's 20-year younger sister. she is a devout catholic and so are her husband and 2 sons.
i have the great good fortune to be on a spiritual path that suits me. it means i am an ocean and a continent away from an elderly mother. as the only child, for a great part of my life, i didn't think it was possible not to live with her according to the reality rooted and grown over 5000 years.
eventually, the force from within overcomes the pull from traditions. but the iron fist of guilt gripping my mind is unrelenting. i pray over and over, and receive this guidance. pay whatever price you have to but refuse to feel guilty. stay open.
i follow through with the direction from within. at the time it seems impossible. but little by little, step by step, over time, one miracle after another, the impossible has manifested.
today my aunt choy mey and her family look out for and look after my mother with phenomenal kindness, generosity and compassion. i don't know any other way to put it other than to say my aunt choy mey is what jesus is about. to me, she is a shining example of what jesus stands for, what accepting jesus means.
furthermore i realize traditions, as cherished and valuable as they are, can be forms of idolatry. if i didn't put it as the top priority to strive to connect with the inner self i would have been stuck, so very stuck on a downward spiral path to destruction.
like a particle of pure gold is of the same essence as a block of it, my inner self is no different from the divine presence that fills everyone, eveything, everywhere.
my beloved meditation teacher says, once you are on the path, there is only one question to ask for every thought, every spoken word, every action, does this take me closer to god?
in this simple mind, anything that doesn't do that is some form of idolatry.