Intellect Soul-Searching

I used to worry about everything. Anxiety gripped me like a fist late in the night, when I wouldn’t sleep, would toss and turn with pinballing thoughts and fears. None were based in any sort of reality. I worried about money but had always had enough. I yearned for success and I’ve had quite a lot. I wanted love and had enjoyed a stream of boyfriends and crushes all through my life.

And so you might imagine my surprise when I discovered that the answer was so damn easy. I began studying Vedanta in April and the words on the page have transformed my life. Swami Parthasarathy, my teacher’s teacher, is coming to Detroit in October to launch his latest book, Governing Business & Relationships.

“With no effort to build the intellect people have lost the art of thinking. As a result their lives are based on groundless belief and superstition.”

Question everything. Turn it upside down, look at its origins, discover its authenticity or lack thereof. Figure it out for yourself … do not blindly follow anyone or anything.

This morning, the sky dawns gray and cloud-filled. It will be another hot day. I am doing the work and there is much to do. Next week, the Jewish new year is upon us, sudden, soon, too early for so many as school starts on Tuesday, and the new year the next sundown. So many moments to mark. But with meaning? Ask yourself why you do what you do. The answers may astound.

It is the most reflective time of year for Jews, and I have always been reflective. When I was observant, I found Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur impenetrable — long, introspective, soul-pounding hours of synagogue prayer and forced reflection, bookended by extremes: too-huge meals that lasted for hours or no meals at all.

The days between the two holidays are called the Days of Awe. What is awe-inspiring to me, though, is the herd mentality of the time. Go to synagogue because you always do. Listen to the rabbis admonish from the scriptures, that this is the time that God decides who will live and who will die, who will be inscribed in the Book of Life.

And then ask yourself — what do I think of all this? Ok, this might be too heavy for a late-August blog post and nothing that you want to consider. Fair enough. I choose to live my life in a permanent state of reflection and inquiry. But broach the topic, even for a minute, late at night, when no one’s looking. And see what you find.

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Comments

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