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Saturday, June 26, 2010

A (revised) Poetic Commentary on Parshat Balak

This week's parasha/portion is Balak (Be'midbar/Numbers 22:2-25:9).  In this narrative, Balak king of Midian, hires the magician Bilaam to curse the Israelites. However, no matter how hard he might try, he may only utter words of praise provided him by God.
On his way to Balak, Bilaam encounters a fiery angel on the path. However, Bilaam does not see the angel. Only his donkey, who stops in his tracks and refuses to move, sees it. Finally, after Bilaam begins to beat the donkey in order to get him to move, the donkey miraculously begins to speak. To paraphrase, he says "you've known me all these years! Doesn't the fact that I stopped dead in my tracks tell you that something is wrong? Open your eyes!"
In reading this section, the old adage "never assume" came to mind. And so, this midrashic poem on the parashah.  I did publish this poem last year on the blog.  However, I have edited and refined it further and so I wanted to share it with you one more time.

Shabbat Shalom,
never assume

never assume
     for when you assume
you know the rest

never assume
       that you know what is
   that you know the truth
before experiencing it

never assume
   for when you do
     you blind yourself to truth
   unable to see what is
                             before you
                          within you
                       around you
             waiting for you to open
           your heart    your soul
   to be present
        to what is in this moment

the truth is
you think
    you know
what you see
    is truth

when told it is not
          there is more to see
       you do not listen with the heart
    you do not see with the soul
 you rely on only five senses
           in reality
        you rely on the ego
     fearing the truth
  needing to be always right
and so you try to
to move on
to take the next step on the journey
but you cannot

what stops you is
    the present
      the truth you cannnot see
          crying out to be known
     without that    you will never move
you are stuck
not in present or past
simply stuck unable to step into the future
and make it present

why can't you see
the angel
the presence
the present
the truth
in the moment

do you push
         yourself    and others
      to move on
   past the present
avoiding the truth
again and again

   open your heart
     see feel know the moment
       the truth
     the angel
   divine presence
       whether you experience it as
     beautiful or not
  comforting or frightening
pleasant or painful
all of these
it does not matter
for it is
   the moment
    the divine reality
      the truth
        all there is

open your heart
     your soul
       to the all-in-the-moment
         do not assume to understand
     what you think you see
  until you open yourself to the truth within

do not assume
whether good bad or both
that it will remain
beyond this moment
     nothing does

do not

be open
   live fully
     in the moment
acknowledging its truth
  then you will find within
   infinite blessings for all
    and that is enough

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