I am composing this blog entry during the period of time between the Jewish observances of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, commonly known in that tradition as the High Holy Days. These ten intervening days are referred to as the Days of Awe, and encompass the time between the opening of the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah and the sealing of the book on Yom Kippur. These days give Jews the opportunity to atone for accumulated sins since the last closing of the Book last Yom Kippur. The failure to atone will result in the living out of these unresolved missing of the mark during the coming year. These ten days begin first in celebration, and then the feasting is followed by intensified prayer, fasting, and active forgiveness. By the time the Book of Life is sealed on Yom Kippur, Jews have every opportunity to ensure a sweet and prosperous New Year by forgiving what is in need of atonement since the preceding year’s ritual.
I have been for almost twenty years what might be called an observant non-Jew, though my observance is more metaphysical than literal. These High Holy Days are for me a profound time of introspection and insightful clarification. I relish the ten days as a time of both symbolically and literally looking at my own personal “book of life” and seeing where I am in need of forgiveness, integration, and atonement. I spend dedicated time during each of these ten days sitting “in awe” of what my prayers of revelation bring into my awareness. I feel deeply into my heart to find where there is closure, withholding, or resentment. I literally ask to be “revealed at depth.” This is very often uncomfortable and yet always spiritually beneficial. Though I do not share theological notions of what sin or atonement is all about, I do recognize that it is as a direct result of my own unconsciousness and unskillfulness that I create my own suffering. It is as well a result of my own inner reflection and surrender-driven forgiveness that I am then freed of that suffering. The journey here in this dualistic and fragmented realm of time and space reality is a Soulfully guided return to One. Every place that I am divided against myself will be projected into relationships and situations that present me with the opportunity to reclaim those projections, engage in inner forgiveness work, and integrate what had previously been disowned. All forgiveness is ultimately self forgiveness. Everything that seems to disturb me out there is an out-picturing of what is disjointed in here. When the pain of fragmentation becomes great enough spiritual surrender begins to have a very merciful appeal. When I have suffered long enough in my personal quest to conquer the world, I am open to the empowerment that Source alignment automatically provides. If I am willing to have my inner landscape revealed, illuminated, integrated, and renewed, a truly new world begins to unfold before me, from within me. The old fearful initiated and permeated book of life that I had been unconsciously authoring becomes a novel of newness, nowness, and profound possibility. Facing my fears frees my love, and within Love, anything and everything is possible. This is the power of forgiveness. This is the power of atonement. This is the power of Awe.
And so I sit quietly these days in openness, presence, and all embracing awe. I watch what arises in my awareness, and I feel the waves of energy as they move within the field of my awakening consciousness. I ask to be shown what is in need of integration, and I look upon the answers to that prayer. I know at a deep level that I am being revealed and renewed. I know experientially that I am being transmuted and transformed. I know that I am being restored to One. I know that the New Year before me may unfold in unpredictable and unprecedented ways by virtue of my forgiven perceptions. I know that I am free to be all that I am being called to be. And I know that my personal forgiveness is contributing to the transformation of the One field. The way that I now choose to inscribe my Book of Life is a radical Love story that holds a vision of Oneness, inclusivity, and harmony for all. And that unfolding vision indeed fills my heart with Awe.