What guide do we use to help us navigate through the complex terrain of life?
How should we decide our next steps particularly when we find ourselves at a crossroad?
Is there a spiritual GPS navigation system that can we use to help guide us through our lives?
Over the past few days I have spent my time in Israel following a well planned itinerary. This morning I decided to try something different. Without any forward planning I walked through the narrow winding pedestrian streets of an old neighborhood in central Jerusalem called Nachlaot, where I’m staying, My only guide was to open up my eyes and ears and take in everything going on around me.
The experience was most inspiring. I spoke and met fascinating people. An old religious Jew from Yemen on his way to the Mikvah (Ritual Bath). A young boy from Mea She'arim who had just finished studying in the synagogue and on his way to run errands for his mother in preparation for Shabbat. Even some tourists from the U.S. both Jewish and non Jewish.
I listened very carefully to these strangers tell me about their lives. Each one most interesting in their own way. I realized that we can learn so much from the people we “coincidentally” encounter. In fact if we pay even closer attention we will discover that what they are saying to us are coded messages from G-d which if applied carefully and patiently will help us to navigate our own journey in life.
You see, there is a magic world beneath the surface of the life we live. Just like the deep blue ocean is filled with a world of living organisms beyond our imagination. So too is there a most fascinating world of spiritual insight, inspiration and guidance beneath the superficial exterior of life which we for the most part inhabit.
This is the message that G-d is telling us in this week’s Torah portion “Re’eh”. Open up your ways and “see” what is really going on. Dig deeper. Move beyond your comfort zone. Pay close attention to what’s going on around you. Shut down your own thoughts and listen carefully to what people are saying to you.
We live in an age of digital clarity. The new smartphones comprise over twelve million pixels giving us unparalleled vividness of the pictures we share via social media.
The question we should ask ourselves is: How clearly do we see the what’s going on in front of our vary own when we are not looking through the prism of our smartphones?