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#1775 - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - Editor: Jerry

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  • Jerry Katz
    #1775 - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - Editor: Jerry Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm Letter to the Editors: Click Reply ,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 24, 2004
      #1775 - Thursday, April 22, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
       
      Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm
       
      Letter to the Editors: Click 'Reply', compose your message, and 'Send'. All the editors will see your letter.
       
       

       
       
      Allspirit Inspiration
       
      When your mind is free, not concerned, or worried, or focused on anything
      in particular, and your heart is not grasping or clinging to anything, then
      you are free. The most characteristic quality is that there is no fixation
      on anything; you're not focused on any issue or experience. Whatever is
      there, is there. So there is a freedom of mind. The mind is not saying, "I
      want this," or "I want to look at this," or "It has to be this way." The
      mind is loose. The expression "hang loose" tells us what it means to be
      liberated.
      ~A.H. Almaas

       
      This reminds me of a true story...
       
      For twenty-four hours the orthodox had fasted and prayed. The Rabbi led the long and strenuous service with the dignity and strength he had shown in years preceding. Throughout the traditional service in Hebrew, he would pause to tell a human story which would reflect the meaning of Yom Kippur. In this way he brought to the service a fresher meaning, revelation and beauty.
       
      Toward the end of the service and the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a young man my age came nervously down the aisle of the synagogue and squeezed his way to a seat next to me. I knew Franklin Kaplan from high school. "Am I too late?" he asked urgently, wiping sweat off this brow and face with a white handkerchief. He wanted to know if he was too late to somehow receive forgiveness for a year of sinning. "No, you're okay, the service isn't over," I whispered, as if I knew that he was really okay. Man, what a disturbance this guy is, I thought to myself. After a few minutes he calmed down enough to where I could say it was as if he wasn't there.
       
      The end of the service was welcomed by the weary devout members of the congregation. The Rabbi delivered his final discourse. It shined with philosophical brilliance, glowed with warmth, and possessed the chill of truth.
       
      I was still not 21 years of age and heard this discourse and all the others and now sensed G-d in my heart and in the synagogue. I could not separate heart, G-d and synagogue.
       
      The sacred day officially over, we congregation members turned to each other and shook hands in solemn cheer, easing our ways into the aisles, still shaking hands, all of us slowly making our ways to the rear of the synagogue.
       
      There was a long table covered with a white cloth. It was one of those rickety tables with legs that unfold and which could be easily stored and set-up. A hundred of us tried to get close to the table while waiting for the Rabbi. He came forth, wearing a slight and tired smile, shaking the hands of many.
       
      The Rabbi took a position at the center of the table, his back perhaps three feet from the wall. All eyes were on the Rabbi, and these were eyes respectful of a man of known wisdom, compassion, brilliance and humanity.
       
      In fact, the devout were jostling and shoving to get a place close to the table and the Rabbi. The light and unsubstantial table got pushed closer to the Rabbi and he had to step back a little. The Rabbi, seeing this push toward him and toward an empty white table soon to be filled with food (remember, everyone had been fasting), was visibly not pleased. He didn't say anything.
       
      I let people push ahead of me, but got pushed myself closer to the coming food and the Rabbi. It soon became clear to me that the men wanted the food more than the atmosphere and aura of the Rabbi himself.
       
      Soon the commotion reached a new level of excitement as the congregation made way -- as they did for the Rabbi -- for ladies carrying large silver trays high above their heads. On the trays were bite-size squares of golden sponge cake and dark brown honey cake. Other trays held small paper cups filled with sweet red wine. The ladies filled the long table end to end with silver trays of food and drink. 
       
      When the ladies were out of sight, the Rabbi -- now only a foot from the wall behind him -- took a piece of honey cake and a cup of red wine. He held both, one in each hand, at heart's level. The Rabbi was about to utter a prayer and words of wisdom prior to everyone indulging in the goodness of the food and drink.
       
      That's when Franklin Kaplan reached for a piece of sponge cake.
       
      Not a second later the table was swarming with hands. In less than a minute the trays were barren, the table cloth splotched purple. But the men in back were pushing forward to get their share. Soon the pushing became mindless. The horde was moving the table toward the Rabbi and the Rabbi closer to the wall behind him. The ladies couldn't pass through the crowd to bring more trays filled with more food and wine. In fact there was enough cake and wine for twice the crowd ... in the kitchen!
       
      Soon the long table was squeezing the beloved Rabbi against the wall. The Rabbi observed all this in silence.
       
      When the table edge pressed painfully into his thigh and he heard other men grunt and felt panic ensue, the Rabbi yelled, so loudly, I tell you, that I'm sure even on the street it could be heard: "HANG LOOSE!"
       
      At once the elbowing and the pushing and the shoving and the reaching and the knocking stopped. At once the voice of the crowed went from aggravation and desperation to a low even murmur. The table was pulled back. The ladies were let through. The most pushy pushers were seen smiling, nodding, straightening their hats, shaking hands. Cake and wine was passed to the rear. Soon everyone had at least two pieces of cake and two small cups of wine and there was plenty left on the table.
       
      The Rabbi made his prayer and speech. As the decades have passed, I have forgotten the discourses and stories of the Rabbi. But over and over again, in times of distress and difficulty, of pressure and pushing and the hunger for something or other, I've thought of the Rabbi's great wisdom and call. Why stress? Just hang loose. There's enough for everybody. Enough what? Wine, sweetness and God.
       
      --Jerry Katz
       
       
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