I really love the word alternative.
A little too much, probably.
When I imagine the word alternative in my mind it’s pure white.
It represents something good, something spiritual, something I can connect too.
Like Yom Kippur.
Like reflection. Contemplation. Healing. Forgiveness. Fasting.
When I let my mind rest, words become colors. And colors become emotions. And emotions connect me to my spiritual side.
What a colorful world it is when I let my mind rest.
This is my pathway to Yom Kippur.
* * * *
Soon I will walk up to the Hannaton Spiritual and Education Center to sit in on a “dharma talk” given by one of the teachers leading a retreat organized by Tovana, an “organization that disseminates spiritual teachings and practices derived from the Buddhist teachings, the Dharma, [to] help us discover a deep inner peace and awakening and a life of harmony and wisdom.” Had I know about the silent Yom Kippur meditation retreat in advance, I likely would have convinced my husband to give me a couple of days off to participate. But I only heard about it last weekend. And so, I won’t be reflecting, atoning, or meditating Jew Bu style.
Luckily, though, Hannaton residents are invited to listen to one of the few talks that take place in the middle of the otherwise silent retreat. So this is where I’m going in a few minutes. Before I leave, I will shut down my computer. And keep it shut for the next 36 hours or so. Sitting at a dharma talk — another pathway to Yom Kippur.
When I come home, I will turn off my phone. I will turn off my IPad. I’ll spend time with my children. Time with my husband. Time with my new kitty. Time in my garden (read more about how that connects to Yom Kippur here.) Time in the synagogue with friends. Time outside the synagogue with friends.
All pathways to Yom Kippur.
It’s amazing, really.
Jen Maidenberg is a writer, editor, activist and former assistant editor at the Arizona Jewish Post. She posted the above on her blog on Sept. 25, 2012. Visit her website at http://jenmaidenberg.com/