Reflections on receiving the Oneness Blessing on the eve of Tisha B’Av

Reflections on receiving the Oneness Blessing on the eve of Tisha B’Av

I attended the Introduction to the Oneness Blessing out of curiosity and a desire to support a colleague who was hosting it. The actual blessing process was pretty much as I imagined it would be. I thought I didn’t have any expectations of the effects, but I have been humbled by my mind’s trickiness (as usual) because subsequent events have revealed I did actually have expectations, because I find myself thinking, and therefore writing, that the effects of receiving the Oneness Blessing have been quite unexpected (so far).

I came to the workshop raw, physically and emotionally. Something emotionally painful–about which I don’t have clarity, although I have been sitting with this pain and caring for it in a variety of ways–has been moving in me since the last week of June.

About 24 hours after I received the first blessing, it seems as if the pain has intensified. I feel heartsick. I feel an ache, a heavy ache, in my heart-space. It’s as if the pain I was feeling before has coalesced in my chest. My intention for the blessing was for the sake of the unification of the blessed, holy One.* Yet I feel more alone than ever.

As I sat with this earlier this morning, it came to me: maybe this pain, or its intensification, *is* the blessing, somehow.

I was reminded of the book Chasm of Fire by Irina Tweedie. She took the bhakti path, the path of devotion and surrender, and most of the book details her painful and torturous passage, which is clearly not a woo-woo, fuzzy, lovey-dovey experience. In fact, far from it. She thought of what was happening to her as someone working on some level to cleanse her organism and soul of something.

So perhaps this burn, this intensified pain that I am experiencing now, may be a kind of tempering, a burning off of dross.

I’m reminded of the story the program facilitator, Kathy Holmes, told of her experience as she awakened. She was at the Oneness University, lying on the floor in the fetal position, and a monk passed by her. She asked him for help, and he said he would pray for her. “But,” he said, “don’t ask for your process to stop.”

In June, I had already come to the conclusion that this pain I was feeling meant that something was happening in me, even though I couldn’t say what. Kathy’s story reminds me that where I need to work now, as the pain has intensified, is in not asking for my process to stop. In other words, my work is say hello to resistance, say thank you to it, then accept and open to what is. It won’t be the destruction of me (although it might be the destruction of me-as-I-know-me).

I absolutely know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this experience of intensification is a communication of some sort, especially because the Oneness Blessing intensified it. The pain is the blessing.

The Introduction to the Oneness Blessing was held (only coincidentally) on the eve of Tisha B’Av. Tisha B’Av is the date on which Jews commemorate the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. There is a story in the Talmud that as the destroying armies came, the keepers of the Temple went up to the roof and threw the Temple keys up to heaven. R. Jill Hammer teaches that the ritual of returning the keys is a sign that receiving blessings sometimes means letting them go.

Throwing the keys up to heaven

So I’ve decided I’m throwing the keys to the temple up to heaven. Letting go is the path of bhakti, of surrender, of love, both fierce and tender, and I’ve chosen it. Receiving this blessing on the eve of Tisha B’Av teaches me to let go of my idea of what the blessing should be and trust heaven to take care of it all.

The question, then, is this: how can I surrender to this pain, to my process, with love? The answer will come through the living of it.

(Stay tuned for updates.)

L’sheim yichud kudsha brich hu. In English, for the sake of the unification of the blessed, holy One. This is a kabbalistic statement about the Oneness of all.

10 Comments

  1. Daughter of Fire–yes!

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    • It’s an interesting title for a book about being initiated into a path of love, isn’t it?

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  2. Such a beautiful and vulnerable post, Shulamit. Something that really resonated for me was “The pain is the blessing”. I came to that same realisation last night as Im getting to know my neck and shoulder pain, and not just trying to make it go away. Its way more than RSI, its Allah blessing me with a gift.

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    • Wow, Kate, working with physical pain as a blessing is a demanding practice. May you also be blessed with patience and love as you do this work. Thank you also for commenting.

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  3. Beautiful post, Shulamit. I love that image of throwing the keys up to heaven, such a moving metaphor of trust in the face of adversity. And yes, bhakti–not for the faint of heart!

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    • Thanks Dave. I was really inspired that day by reading that story. I’m glad it’s a contribution to you as well 🙂

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  4. Love this, Shulamit: “where I need to work now, as the pain has intensified, is in not asking for my process to stop. In other words, my work is say hello to resistance, say thank you to it, then accept and open to what is. It won’t be the destruction of me (although it might be the destruction of me-as-I-know-me).” Ahh…where can I find the blessing in this? In the process. Every time I truly practice surrender–to the process and to pain, I am blessed in ways I never could’ve imagined.

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    • Yes yes yes! In the process :-)) Is where the blessings lie. Thanks Dana!

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  5. Thank you for sharing your true and vulnerable experience here. I can feel the truth of these words: “this burn, this intensified pain that I am experiencing now, may be a kind of tempering, a burning off of dross.” Your reflections here show that sometimes the path to wholeness is first through some fire. I salute you for remaining present and being willing to surrender.

    Reply
    • Sarah, thanks you for meeting me in the value of being present and surrendering. It sounds like you might have some experience of this. Am I guessing right? Want to share a bit of your story here?

      Reply

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