Today is thirty-eight days, which is five weeks and three
days, of the Omer. Tiferet of Yesod. Beauty / Truth of Bonding / Foundation.
onto a holy foundation is difficult. It is easy to become consumed by ephemeral
material concerns — checking your Facebook feed, worrying how many likes your
latest Instagram post has, getting lost in the never-ending supply of quality
television. None of these things are evil, but when they are done without
limits, we create space for the Yetzer HaRa, the inclination toward evil, and
we close the door to our souls.
Sometimes, the truth we feel is so painful it tears apart
our equilibrium. We lose sight of holiness when we enter depression — indeed,
some sources say depression is the ultimate sin. This is a controversial
statement to people steeped in medical diagnoses of mental health.
this example: a young woman struggles to find her place in the world. She
questions whether she deserves to be alive. Slowly, incrementally, while part
of her observes the process, she sinks into depression. Eventually, she stops
functioning and medical professionals declare her depressed and put her on a
series of medications. But the fog doesn’t truly lift until she finds solid
ground — within herself and beyond herself — on which to live a life of
meaning and service.
ground is the Jewish wisdom tradition, including prayer rituals, mystical
insights, acknowledgement of the spirit, and struggle through the material
young woman isn’t so young anymore.
I recognize how tremendously psychiatric drugs can help people’s lives. I also recognize that there are limits to how psychiatry treats human suffering. I do not shy away from learning from psychology and neuroscience — Jung, neo-Jungian / depth psychology, Seligman’s positive psychology, and Siegel’s mindisght are bedrocks in the foundation I have built for myself.
of Chris Cornell, whose memory will always be a blessing, may we take some time
to reflect on what it means to create a foundation of truth. How can we bond
with our friends and family in a way that supports them, and ourselves, in
times of psychological and spiritual crisis? How can we be there, staying near
to people even when they act poorly, speak hurtfully, and generally ignore all
of our help?
spend enough time outside of the social media nirvana bubble to know how our
friends are truly doing? Are we physically present, mentally connected, and
providing concrete support to those in need?
journeys through this world are interconnected. May our souls support one
another, lift one another up, and help each other inhabit the beauty and truth
of a holy foundation.