Here’s your assignment…

on-the-train.jpgNot long after Rosh Hashonah last year I started attending Wednesday night lectures presented at a local schul by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. He calls them “gatherings,” by the way, but since none but he talks, we all know it’s a lecture. He speaks from the perspective of a Chassidic kabbalistic scholar well versed in contemporary science and culture. His axioms are in remarkable harmony with what I know of Christianity and Buddhist thought, making him a messenger of what I’ve heard referred to as pre-religion. (His website:  Check it out. It won’t convert you, but it will get some lovely creative thought going.)

Last week Rabbi Jacobson talked in part about finding our own “mission statements,” a few carefully chosen words to describe our place and purpose–maybe “function” is a better word–in the world, our relationship to and participation in all that exists.

Why do this? Perhaps because we are more directed and efficient when we know where we want to go and why we want to go there and what we’d like to accomplish along the way. This, of course, assumes that we have missions. Based on my own history of some things feeling “right” and others “wrong” for reasons I can’t always articulate, I believe that I do have a mission. Knowing what that mission is (and at this point I have a fair suspicion)  allows me to choose the apparently difficult over the (also) apparently easy.   For instances, I was able to choose to spend the morning meditating at the zendo rather than sleep in and to return home by climbing seven flights of stairs rather than by riding the elevator.  A deeper instance would be going back to school at age 49 in order to change careers at age 51–in that case returning to my mission after a 25 year deviation.

Rather than leave us alone with this potentially daunting task, Rabbi Jacobson offered a simple formula for unearthing our mission statements: to review four aspects of our lives and history:

1. Personality. What is yours?

2. Opportunities. What possibilities have occurred in your life? Look at what you’ve chosen.

4. Places. Where have you been? Where are you now–geographically speaking.

G-d, the rabbi says, hides in these things. The sum of them is your mission.

He suggests that you think about things, make your lists, do your various understanding practices in the quiet of early morning or late night just before falling asleep. Perhaps this might even spill over into dreams to add yet another dimension to your search.

 Give it a shot and–should you feel like sharing–drop it in the Comment box.

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 2:44 pm  Comments (1)