Spiritual Renewal in the Digital Age
A sprig of parsley. An egg. It must be Spring. The world around is blooming, summer fruits are around the corner, and the world is modeling for us, indeed, begging us to begin anew. What does that mean for a spiritually minded person? It means pressing the reset button on how we interact with ourselves and each other.
Let’s begin with the self. Do you breathe? I have always appreciated the cliché of “stopping to smell the roses” because of its attention to nature, and because to smell something one needs to inhale deliberately and with intention. Do you sing? I have led singing for decades and something transformative happens to our souls when we sing. To sing, you also need to breathe and to press air out with intention. Breathe and sing to refresh your spirit.
Do you spend time outside? Wherever we live, in this day and age we do not spend time outside unless we make an effort to do so. The Jewish tradition implores us to spend time outside and to notice what we see. Consider Shabbat. Our tradition asks its observers to notice the sunset once a week! Indeed, you know when Shabbat has begun because the sun has set. What other tradition in the world asks its observers to go outside and stargaze once a week? Indeed, you know when Shabbat is over once you can see at least three stars in the sky. Spend time outside; it will renew you.
Do you make enough eye contact with the people you care most about? Moses was famous for speaking with G-d face to face. These days we look at screens more than we look at each other. Each of us yearns to be seen and yet we forget to look. When we turn off the TV, the computer, the cell phone, we honor each other, increase intimacy, and renew our relationships every day.
Rabbi Karen Bender
Skirball Director of Spiritual Life, Grancell Village Rabbi