this week's parasha is terumah, essentially, on the surface, the construction manual of the tabernacle.
rabbi asks, who wants to read? up goes my hand. why? i've been really struggling with this portion in the last few years. the mind would be completely adrift. this year i determine to try a little harder to see if i can crack the nut a little bit. well, at least, stay awake.
soon into reading the meticulous, elaborate instructions, something happens within. the splendor and beauty of the materials burn out the fog of agitation. the measurements, placements, step-by-step instructions gather my focus towards the center of my consciousness. i watch my finger move across the line on the page in sync with the sound flowing out of the body.
aaah, in this simple mind, i realize i am having an experience approximating what the kabbalists say, that the body is the sanctuary where the force of healing and transformation dwell.
as i sit comfortably with quiet delight in the lovely sound and movement of the breath it comes to me that a quiet mind is as marvelous an altar as can be.
quite a bit of pure gold are being used in constructing the tabernacle. well, it's also quite a process to extract the dross from the ore in order to get pure gold. i see no difference in extracting the mental dross to make the mind a sparkling mirror reflecting courage, strength, kindness, and a golden altar of pure and free joy.