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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Psalm for Wednesday: Psalm 94, verse 2 (corrected version)

Rise up, O Judge of the earth; give to the proud what they deserve

This psalm is definitely the most challenging for me.  The images are strong and often violent.  So I'm interested in seeing what arises within me as I sit with each verse.

Pride is something with which I have a real love/hate relationship.  I am proud of my accomplishments in life, and yet I know that pride can easily lead to hubris.  In Christianity, pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  Judaism doesn't go quite that far.  But our tradition does give warning to those who might become too proud.  This verse is a case in point.

As I have taken to writing, teaching and performing more, I have struggled with the issue of "promoting myself." It has always felt a bit haughty and certainly not modest.  And yet I know that I have something to teach and to offer others.  I wouldn't be writing this blog if I didn't.

The turning point that allowed me to feel more comfortable was the moment when I realized that my talents were from God.  I often feel that the words I write do not come from me, but flow through me from some other source.  This is especially true when writing poetry.  Being mindful allows me to recognize and acknowledge this.  And it enables me to promote myself and be proud of myself, because I realize that it is the Divine energy that flows through me which is the source of my creativity.

But the pride of which this psalm speaks, I believe, is the pride of hubris.  Believing that I am the source of everything that comes from me.  It is a pride born of ego,  not of humility or a connection with divinity.  When people exhibit this kind of pride, it is almost certain that at sometime they will "get what they deserve."

This phrase usually connotes punishment.  But I'd like to turn it on its head and propose that "what they deserve" is to be hit over the head with the realization that it's not about them. It's not about ego.  It's about being in partnership with the Divine.  Bringing the Divine energy flow into the world.  We are the conduits.  We are not the source.

When we are ruled by ego, WE judge what is good and what is bad. We determine what is right and what is wrong.  When we let go of ego, we let go of judgment.  We leave judgment for the realm of the Divine.  And so, when we are acting from a place of ego, the wish is that somehow we can tap into the Divine energy that tells us "this is not what it's about....it's not all about you!"  When those with excessive pride are able to hear that voice rise within them, then they will get what they - what we - all deserve.  A sense of serenity and of oneness with the Divine.

And so I thank the Divine Source for helping me to find this message inside of me.  I only hope I will be able to be present and allow this to happen again when I get to the next verse in this psalm next Wednesday!

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