A Flaming Mystic: Practicing the Presence

One of my favorite podcasts is On Being , hosted by Krista Tipett. She is one of the best interviewers out there, and one of my favorite episodes was her conversation with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, a physician working in the field of integrative medicine. Dr. Remen was speaking about her grandfather, a man who had profoundly shaped her life and view of the world. He was an Orthodox rabbi who studied the Kabbalah. She referred to him as a "flaming mystic", and went on to clarify what she meant by that term. Paraphrasing here, she said that her grandfather viewed the world as a place that was inhabited by a Presence, One with whom we could be in constant communication. We could daily, constantly, be in conversation with this abiding Presence by speaking to and asking of, and be directly spoken to and asked of right back. I LOVE that view of the world, it is one that I share, and, one that I all too often forget. In the midst of my days it is easy to imagine that I am out here on my own, forgetting that I'm connected to life in deep and mysterious ways that are as real as real can be.  

The word mystic can be scary to some as it might suggest a connection to some sort of magic or  "new age nonsense". To others, the term can seem foolish as it is not grounded in scientific fact and hard evidence. I wonder if looking at the  word in either of those ways shortchanges us of some of the riches that life wants to offer. Personally, I believe that we are all, every single one of us, created in the image of a magnificent God. That the creative force behind all of life is present around us and in us, and wants to work with and through us. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. I believe that we are all here to live our most authentic and whole-hearted lives. And, I believe we are all here to love, help, and heal the world that is within our reach. Weaving those three beliefs together is where the magic happens. Connected to the Source, we become a source of healing and helping in the world in our own authentic and whole-hearted way. 

You may or may not agree with Rabbi Remen. But what if, just for the heck of it, we all tried on a mystic hat for size. Wake up in the morning and connect with that magnificent Presence, by speaking to and asking of, and then listening for the response. Perhaps we will find that the voice that speaks back to us is as close as our own hearts.

 

 Photo: Brad Hannon

Photo: Brad Hannon