A few weeks ago, at our first potluck in the aftermath of the ravaging fires, I had a spontaneous conversation in the kitchen here at Ner Shalom with two members of our congregation, in which I recounted my 1980 conversation with the great teacher and founder of the Jewish Renewal movement, Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi, of great blessing.
That conversation was a result of my recently having read a book which changed my thinking about what is for many Jews, certainly to many Jews of my generation and earlier, the other C word. Christ. (The book was “Revelation: The Birth of a New Age” by David Spangler .) I wanted to talk to my family and other dear Jewish friends about a dynamic concept I had never imagined.
So I asked Reb Zalman, “How do you talk to Jews about Christ?”
“Aaaah,” he said, and looked to the side, the way we do when we’re looking for an answer that’s not on the tip of our tongues.
And then he said, “Talk to them about the angel Michael.”
Well, my Reform Jewish family was not ready to think about angels, either, but I have thought a lot about angels since then, and have encountered what I believe to be angelic presences.
So it’s not surprising that when I heard Francis Weller say, in the New School at Commonweal presentation here recently, that as human beings “we are not wired” for the global magnitude of information which sears our hearts and throws us way out of balance, I began to think about how we might possibly be able to hold a global load.
And I thought about the possibility that the self we are aware of — that self we call “I” – is just part of a larger identity which is our birthright as beings made in the image of the Creator. In my intuitive energy work, I see and feel and hear evidence of a larger, more radiant, and more powerful version of who we are.
I don’t know how we can make the jump from the locally wired human being to the globally wired human being, but the possibility intrigues, inspires and pulls me.
And so I asked. And I am going to tell you what I heard because maybe my story will tickle your story.
And the angel said, “What I tell you in the middle of the day with the sun hot overhead, what I whisper to you in the middle of the night when you hear your name and don’t know who it is calling to you, when I send a shiver up your spine for no apparent reason at all, that’s when you know.”
And the angel said,”What would you do if you allowed yourself to be the angel all the time? What would you do?”
I would sing everywhere song appeared in my being.
I would sway when the inner wind blows.
I would not hesitate to tell people how much I love them. I would hug them and rock them against my breast, I would caress them and tell them how wonderful they are and how I marvel at their courage.
I would look at people openly to SEE them as often as I wanted.
I would not let fear stop me, ever. Fear of alienating people, fear of embarrassing people, fear of increasing their pitiable stress, fear of standing out and being noticed.
Is it not for that that I am here? To be noticed, perhaps laughed at but then brought home in the laugher’s mind and heart to wonder, “what if..”
Is it not what I am here to do, to hold myself in the light and make noise in the darkness so others can see how it may be possible for them, too, to live out loud, to live in joy, to live in paradox with forgiveness and sorrow and celebrate all at once? Is it not what I am here for, to whisper, “Can you hold your image this way, so you see it differently? Can you hold the mirror higher, so you can see how the light makes you shine through and through?”
To do this, to live with the angel speaking and seeing and hearing and moving through the public mirror, makes me quake sometimes. Often. Most of the time, and that’s why I make smaller gestures, watch my words, wait to think. It’s what makes places civilized, this waiting and watching, this calculus of human response.
Civilization tames the wild, and often I rail at that while I carry it out, myself, in myself, as well as wishing, “Sha, shtill,” so often, in so many situations. My mother biting her lips to keep from saying what she knows will hurt.
What would I do if I allowed myself to be the angel all the time?
I would not wait. I would love more openly and more generally, and not stop because I thought people would think me weird. I would be weird in the world and show people its powerful beauty.
I would stop asking what I would do if I allowed myself to be the angel all the time.
I would shift the arc of my vision to the angelic plane and take my cues from there. I would raise my arms to the shoulders of the great ones and see how well I fit, modulating the tensions and stiffness wherever I found it, to stand in their pulsing, golden circle, indistinguishable from the others.
And the voice said, “I will take you where you need to go, I will wrap My Being around you beyond your control and I will take you, and you will not be able to resist, and know that just as I am leading you, so I am also leading every other, and there is nothing you can do about that, either.
“Do you think that I am your light only? No, I am the Light, completely and solely the beam along which every single being travels, and others’ light may look different than the one you see as coming from Me for you, because their needs are different than yours. But don’t think for one nanosecond that you are anyone else’s light.
“I and only I am the Light with the power to direct and heal. You are not in control. I am the Light, I am Source, Source eternal and forever, and you can relax and be confident that you are My responsibility and I am forever.”
The Sun said this to me, and I felt completely absolved of the sense of obligation, of the folly of feeling responsible for others’ well-being that I had allowed myself to believe was a virtue.
We each ride a ray of Light, each ray configured through the magic of DNA, soul memory and God knows what else. I think of Reb Zalman’s encouragement when I need to rise above the leaden ache in my gut. I know that shimmering above me, or at my side, is the greater presence of my Self that holds the global awareness the smaller I can’t. I believe that that presence shimmers for all of us, and that when we need to breathe more deeply, think more clearly, and find the stability we need, we will find ourselves anew in that Human 2.0, which Jean Houston calls the Quantum Human, Barbara Marx Hubbard calls Homo Universalis, Carolyn Myss calls Homo Noeticus, and others call Homo Divinus and Homo Galactica.
Maybe there IS something new under the sun, and it’s us.