(A guided meditation on Psalm 27, from God Loves the Stranger: Stories, Poems, Prayers)
One thing I ask of Adonai, only that do I seek.
Imagine if you could ask one thing of Adonai.
Imagine if reality, life, all the power and resources in existence could grant you one thing and one thing alone.
(Pause) Take a few deep belly breaths.
For this moment let your thoughts float freely.
What would it be?
Just for now, open your mind to the endless possibilities that could be incorporated into this singular ask.
Would you ask for some thing? Some person? Health? Wealth? Power? An Experience?
Or would you ask for qualities of heart and mind? Intelligence? Skill? Courage? Patience? Honor? Freedom? Well-being? Love?
Psalm 27 is recited from the beginning of the last month before the New Year, the month of Elul, all the way until Hoshana Rabbah in the midst of Succot. It is a time of asking and seeking. It is a time to get clear.
What do I really want? What do I really seek?
The High Holy Days (and everything that leads into them) are non-historical and personal Jewish time. They are all about us as individuals. It is not so much about the Jewish people and their movement in history. It is not like Passover in that way. It is all about us. It is all up to us. What are we asking for?
The psalmist answered like this:
Shivti b’veit Adonai kol Yimei Chayai
Lachzot b’noam Adonai ul’vakeir b’heichalo.
To live in the house of Adonai all the days of my life
To gaze upon the beauty of Adonai, and to frequent God’s temple.
Do you know where the house of Adonai exists?
Can you describe the beauty of Adonai?
Do you know what it means to frequent God’s temple?
What would it mean for me to ask to live in the house of Adonai?
Is it a house with a roof, walls, and a door?
Is it a way of being? A way of feeling?
Is it a way to know that I am whole, free, loved, and safe?
What would it mean to gaze on the beauty of Adonai?
Is that everywhere or somewhere special?
Is that an internal beauty or an external beauty?
What kind of eyes can see the beauty of Adonai?
Where is God’s temple? Is it a building? A place? A time? Is it a church, synagogue, mosque, or zendo? Is it a mountain peak or jungle or a rushing river? Is it an orphanage or hospital? Is this God’s temple?
What does it mean to live in the house of Adonai?
Is it a sense of being fully alive and never separate?
Is it something like being found and returned home and never feeling lost again?
What are your questions?
What are you asking for?