I missed the experience of the sacred. I missed the sense of communicating with a higher power. I missed the experience of the divine, the thing larger and greater than we are.
Listen to your dreams.
Nanda Devi is known as the "bliss-giving goddess," though the Sanskrit word "ananda," at the root of her name, is better understood as "contentment." Being an atheist, I seek the mountain more than the goddess, though the two are inseparable. Despite my disbelief, I have always appreciated the spiritual resonance of the Himalayas.
For five days members of the most diverse religions not only co-existed, but created community together. How was this possible? There was no proselytizing. And the conversation was intentionally inclusive.
"Man and woman were created in the Divine image. Male and female God created them." Each year we reread the story of creation. We return to our story of origin as a signal that Rosh Hashanah is all about returning to our truest selves -- or as we say in Hebrew, tshuvah.
Words hold great power. They are the symbols of life, of language, of all that we know and feel. They give expression to our lives, our souls, our deepest longings and strongest emotions. The skill of using the right words is a potent force.
Wherever you live in the United States, it is likely that you are within a short drive of sacred ground. You may be standing on it as you read this. But the threats to sacred lands are global.
We have to remember that the same banks responsible for so much of the financial strife, confusion, and crisis are guided by social forces. When we believe our financial systems are beyond our control, we neglect our responsibility to those most impacted by its flaws.