After Israel

Location: Long Beach, California, United States

We moved to Israel thinking, rather naively that it was our true home, but after many months of trying to assimilate, learn the language and seeking employment we were forced to face the TRUTH! Israel is a bit backward, they still tend to mix religion with government and they are gravely biased by the belief of the Ultra religious who make it difficult for secular, everyday Jews to get along.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Truth's Graden

May comes and as always on May day somewhere in our world there are demonstrations by the workers of the world. Here in the US it is the immigrants, legal and illegal, who marched yesterday. As in years past May always brings a renewed hope of a world where everyone is equal, spring stretches herself out across our North American continent and parts of Europe...and things begin to bloom.
In our city new flowers appear with each new day, we see that spring is definately coming, the fog of the coast here encapsulates us and we know that summer can't be far off . Last year this time I was blogging from Tzfat, Israel where the almond blossoms had come and the hills were dressed in the most beautiful display of color I had ever seen. I was still clinging to hope for a life there then, but as time wore on and it became evident that we were not going to be able to survive without employment the hope gave way to determination and I began to look at the city we lived in with new eyes, to really see what was about us, to notice that there was much wrong in this place that needed to change.
I read each day all the news from Israel, and I am currently following a terrible story about a young father, full of anger at the fact his son was born defective, who in a moment of lost consciousness, killed his son. He ended the childs life by throwing him against a wall, he admitted to this act to both police and social workers at the hospital. That young man is now out of jail, on house arrest in the home of his grandparents...why? Because the Rabbis of the Edah Haredit community caused such a protest over his arrest that the law gave in! One article states that the Rabbis want this death looked on as a 'Mercy Killing". In my mind this is not right, this is an abomination, for religious people to think that this is ok is even worse! I have a stack of comments near an inch high along with all the news clippings of this incident sitting here on my desk, and I see that I am not alone in being outraged over this incident. My husband, on the other hand, was quick to point out that this is a fine example of what happens when anyone, any human being allows a fanatic point of religious view to fog over their mind. He adds that it is a great example of how the ultra religious, especially the fanatics gain control in any situation.
Having just passed through the religious rituals of spring, and there are would seem there is at lest one for every single religion in the world, it makes me pause to consider whether religion in and of itself doesn't cause ones mind to atrophy spirtitually! When making our decision to leave Israel to work back in the US again, we were also fraught with the need to examine really what it was that we believe, and to articulate that to ourselves in such a fashion as to be able to really be truthful. We had infact to experience a spring of the spiritual sort, we examined what parts of the religion we had followed blindly for many years, really had meaning in the modern day world. We delved into the depths of our hearts, reaching indeed down into our souls and we turned over the old earth there just like a gardener turns his garden in the spring. What we found astouded us, we could see clearly that the point of most religion is control, control over what ones spiritual knowledge is, or isn't as the case might be. We kept at it long after we left Israel and were back here in the US, and we still revisit this new garden of ours daily. There are some really astounishing things growing out from our self examination...we see clearly that the fanatic religious and ultra religious of Israel are in Truth no different than their Muslim counterparts, we see that fanatics can rise up out of good spiritual ground and that their presence amoung those who believe are like the presence of weeds amoung the vegetables! We had to come to grips with the fact that life is not intended to be a constant struggle, and that knowledge of the spiritual was not intended to be fenced in, we recognize that even though religion as such serves a purpose in the world that what the world really needs most now is TRUTH! Not any new messiah, not any new religion with the rules and regulations which are intended to halt personal growth, but simply TRUTH! We have come to a deep understanding that we are spiritual beings, with the need to grow, to gain from this life all that we can, and that if we are contained and constrained by the rules of man made ritual and religion, we can not do what we were intended to do here.
Not surprisingly we have begun to fertilize and cultivate this new garden of spiritual growth and we are finding that we are much happier people than we were when we tried to live within the confines of our religion, we are infact growing and becoming more of who we were intended to be every single day. We had always been very aware of Truth as a vehicle for growth, but we are now more acutely aware of the need to share that Truth with others. We look at things that happen in the Israeli news now and we see clearly why we couldn't fit into that rigid model of religious beliefs, we had already grown beyond that when we went to Israel, we had already seen what happens to the spirit when it is entrapped by the teaching of men concerning religion.
Consider this, who are you outside of your belief system? If you are a practicing Jew, are you only the sum of your Rabbis teachings? If you are a Catholic, a Buddhist, a Muslim are you caught in the trap of another human being interpretation of what you believe? Are you able to step outside of your formalized religion and articulate what it is exactly that you believe? Are you able to do this without restraint? If not then you are a captive, as surely as a slave is captive to its master, slaves are not allowed to examine what they believe is Truth outside of what their master teaches them. Do you want to spend every spring of your life doing the same rout ritual, without examining whether or not it holds real meaning for you as an individual soul, or do you want to grow and strech and reach for the sun as a flower in a garden does? Do you want to know TRUTH? If you really do then you must take time to decide whether what you have been taught by your religion is helpful to your life.
I should like to leave you all with this one thought: A life wasted is just that, a life with no meaning outside of what is subscribe to it by those who wrote the religion in which is is held captive, TRUTH is simply that...TRUTH, to know what is spiritually possible for yourself you must be willing to til the garden of your soul, and to plant there the possiblity that what you have been taught to believe may not be all that there is! The process is not easy, it was painful for us to come back to the US, but the spiritual growth that has happened because we made the hard decision and examined our belief in light of TRUTH has opened the gates to a garden so beautiful, that no one human beings interpretation of it could describe the magnificence that exist there.