My trip to Israel

(From letter to Katie Stackhouse, 2006-08-01.)


My trip to Israel was an amazing renewal and awakening. The day I got there I went to Jerusalem and to the Western Wall and to my Rabbi [Mordachai Sheinberger] in the Old City. the following day I walked for a couple of hours to make the same pilgrimage. when I got there I was welcomed by many old friends in the community. I stood in deep prayer and with a broken heart my soul collected itself, with crying and great joy. I must of scared some people with the depth of my emotion. it changed my life and set the tone for a great journey over the next few months. listening to my rabbi teaching Kabbalah is an amazing mysterious experience. he takes me into another dimension where my thoughts and feelings merge into a tapestry of spiritual meaning. but to tell of that experience is like trying to remember a dream, one made of wholly other realm experiences. yet, at that moment, that realm is all of reality and a deep insight, perhaps within [what is usually considered] the sub-consciousness. my highlights were hours of deep prayer, again entering that mysterious realm, where the moment is eternal and thought/feeling is being!

I had a brief affair with an amazing woman, who called her self Shekinah, the Hebrew name for the feminine divine presence. we visited the holy Christian, Muslim and Jewish places. we practiced yoga in the park during the day and lost ourselves in erotic sensuality at night. Oh God, did I need that? I had been celibate for a few months and struggled to suppress my sexual energy. so Shekinah released me from my struggle, an answer to my prayer.

I spent some time at a community, serving and sharing. ["Rabbi Mordechai Sheinberger, founded a commune in Israel called Ohr HaGanuz ("The Hidden Light"), which combines Ashlag’s communal ideals with devotion to the spreading of Kabbalah." from wikipedia article on Ashlag] I made hand made matzot, poor persons ritual bread that symbolizes the choice to be free from exploitation.

I had intended to go to India after a couple of months in Israel but stayed in Israel instead. I left quite suddenly to return to Australia. I feel that was to restore my sense of balance with western and familiar values. I was looking forward to connect to my old creative, body and heart, in a world I had made in Melbourne. I looked forward to Confest and the freedom to explore with sensual sexuality. but I also remained quite firm in my sense of Jewish renewal. after some experimental explorations, I resolved to keep Shabbat, rest day, and to wear tzitzit, tassels on a four cornered garment, to remind me of my Jewish connections. I also chant and bless the Divine over my food.

So I'm still connected while I go to the [Swami Shankarananda's] Ashram in Mount Eliza every week. I'm connected while I participate in the local personal development and creativity scene. I read Buddhist texts and progressive western texts every day. [most recently: 'Family, Communes and Utopian Societies', (Harper & Row, 1972), 'Siddharta' by Herman Hesse and presently Carl Rogers 'On Encounter Groups'. Having also read these books more than 10 years ago]. and my friendships have continued to deepen. and I hope to invest and harbour my own and my friends well being in to a learning and semi-open community.



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