The Kabbalists say that the holy one of the universe is broken, and that we are extensions of the holy one and carry that brokenness inside of us. Our task is to fix our brokenness and hence the brokenness of the holy one. An unending task.
They say that at the beginning god retracted into god self to make space for the world, and funneled god’s primordial light of creation into ten sefirot, (spheres). But the light was too powerful, and so the spheres shattered into millions of shards of holy light, which penetrated everything. They talk about “holy sparks” in even the most mundane objects. In effect, everything has a holy light, everything has a holy purpose. It’s just a matter of releasing it.
Quantum mechanics says that a quantum particle, (a photon, which is light), can be in two places at once, until it is observed, when it reverts back to one place. That is, when unobserved, there is the probability of different states, and they actually exist, but at the moment of observation, only one state is real. I asked my father, who is a physicist, to explain this and he said, “It’s simply this Becca, when you can tell where a quantum particle is, you don’t know when it is, and when you know when it is, you can’t tell where it is.”
“Ah. Thanks dad”, I said.
“What about time travel?”
“Well that’s not really quantum mechanics. It’s more to do with general relativity. Einstein didn’t like uncertainty.” (Who does?) “He didn’t like a god who played dice. You see quantum physics says there is real uncertainty. Quantum physics deals with the very small. Relativity deals with the very large and fast”.
I am trying to read “Alice in Quantumland” by Robert Gilmore. (In school one day, my daughter told her teacher she was interested in quantum physics, and the teacher very kindly made a present of it to us.) I’ve never read a book before that nearly sent me into a panic attack. Don't let that put you off. It's a great book. And I think I’m just fine now.
Thinking about quantum physics, is like unraveling your brain, and putting it back together again upside down. Much like studying Kabbalah. (This reminds me of my son’s idea of “a great experiment from Garfield. You get the brain of a gorilla- and put it in a pretty girl!”)
It seems to refute everything that common sense tells us to be true.
Life is a mystery. Life is uncertain. It makes one feel a bit wobbly to realize that.
Maybe that is the lure of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism says, “My doctrine is the answer. There is no mystery; there is only this one path to truth. Here it is. Kill anything that does not adhere to this idea”.
It makes people feel safe. They no longer have to deal with uncertainty.
The world is having a kind of existential nightmare at the moment. The news is too terrible to read. It is either fundamentalism running rampant, or horror stories of corporate greed, and corruption in high places, raping society and the environment. There are the sad and awful stories from Iraq.
City life is stressful. Everybody is running around like crazy, stuck in traffic jams trying to make meetings, trying to make ends meet, trying to meet deadlines, trying to get kids to and from activities. There aren't enough hours in the day for all this business. A yoga teacher of mine once instructed us, "It is important to take ten minutes of your day and just be still and do nothing. And if you don't have ten minutes, it's even more important."
We have to remind ourselves to slow down. Even schedule it into our day. Otherwise we will find no peace, only unconscious chaos.
I wrote a song called “Learn to Pray” really as a kind of comforting lullaby to myself, in a somewhat stressful time. It seems to be a kind of collection of ideas that were whirling about my head, all stuck into one place. “Learn to Pray” is an instruction to myself to slow down, and to be more connected, or to learn to be more connected, to the mystery of life.
When I sang it in Larry Klein’s studio, I was so in awe of him (I couldn’t believe I was working with this famous producer) that I was nervous, and you could hear it in my voice. It is a little tremulous. I pointed this nervous wavering out to him, and suggested we fix it.
“No,” he said, “Imperfect is okay. The subject of the song lends itself to a little nervousness anyway”.
So here it is.
Imperfect is okay. (That’s good news).
However, the musicianship on the record is about as damn near perfect as it could be.
On this track the musicians are: Larry Klein on bass, Hammond organ and keyboards, Scott Amondola on drums, Albert Wing on soprano sax.