above you is from you

While I was in the states I realized something that's very difficult for me to put into words. I think it was Rav Steinsaltz that I heard mention that when we can't easily express something, we have only accquired the idea in a limited way; so it is likely I haven't yet truly understood this idea. But, I'd like to share it all the same: (this might also explain why it may sound cliched)

Spiritual journeys aren't about going places. Even though the texts refer to various worlds they are touching on something closer to various states of awareness. This is nothing new, you might say, but I think it is. As we grow spiritually and become aware of new understandings, we see the same world in an entirely new light. This is exactly what travelling through different spiritual realms is. Rather than going somewhere that isn't here, we are becoming something that wasn't us.

All the interactions we could possibly be having with HaShem are going on right now, all around us. It's a question of making ourselves into an appropriate vessel to receive those interactions, in radio terms it's about tuning in.

Tuning in is actually a metaphor from past generations, Analog generations. That is why the reality that our mental state describes our world is an obvious one for us. It sounds very post modern. It's actually just the opposite. It tells us that we can connect to an objective truth, using our subjective truths as a means to that end.

In our generation we have multi-casting and broad-catching, instead of broadcasting. Which means to really look ahead we need to learn what these metaphors (which are quickly becoming infrastructure and forgotten in their ubiquity) teach us about all this. Broadcasting wasn't exactly right--In a broadcast world, the viewer/listener can't change the medium. Multi-casting means that everyone can receive their own individual signal, Broadcatching means that ultimately the viewers draw out the signal from a central repository.

Taken together the Baal Shem Tov's message that each person's individual existence is a constant one-on-one conversation with HaShem, doesn't seem at all out of the ordinairy. In fact, how could it be any different? Not only is HaShem totally open to our relating to Him, but we define the rules and extent of our interaction. It's a broadcatcher's market.

Something to think about as Rosh HaShanah approaches. Who else could so totally give over the reigns of the world, other than the King who actually created and controls it all? In megillat Esther we learn that "not even the king can overturn the king's word." Sure everything we've mentioned is true all the time, but when is it as accessible as Elul, when the king is in the field?

Chazal tell us that when we make ourselves a little bit holy down here, they make us a lot holy from above.


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