It's popular to begin a spiritual path with an intellectual practice, one that helps the mind begin to understand the nature of the Divine. Human beings have spent millennia writing books, exploring practices, and meditating on mountaintops to even begin an understanding of the Divine reality that is beyond our comprehension.
For many centuries, enlightenment was all about the brain.
Can I comprehend God's essence? Probably not, but I can try.
Can I imagine myself in the image of the Divine? Let me write a book about that.
But what about imagining ourselves in the Image of the Divine, by recognizing that we, truly, intrinsically are Divine.
Knowing that a body made up of carbon composites that come from the Earth, flowing with blood that is the Waters of this plane, is infused with a Breath that powers us from the Ruach - Wind - Spirit - of the Divine, and is fired up by a Soul that is a Spark of Divine. With these four elements, we are who we are, and our Bodies are just as sacred, Divine, real, as our souls.
The world is changing, and so are we. Our practices need to evolve, beyond sitting on a meditation cushion or poring over ancient tomes in the library.
Our practices need to encompass the body, involve the Divine spirit that flows through the physical particles of our being, and allow them too to be infused with the Divine, in a real, sacred, tangible manner.
It's in the walk we walk. It's in the talk we talk. It's in the food we eat. It's in the dances we dance. It's in the prayers that flood our heart, gut, throat and mouth, through song, chant and dance. It's in our intimate relationships, the sacred sexuality of intimacy with intention. And it's in everything we touch, taste, hear, see or feel.
In the spiritual community today, there is talk of the rising of the Divine Feminine. In the Jewish ancient traditions, the discussion of "the End of Days", the "Future that is to Come", a utopian period of global peace, bliss and fulfilment, is discussed as the days when the Shechinah - the Divine Presence - will be manifest throughout the universe. When the world will be filled with the knowledge of the Divine, like waters cover the sea. When the Shechinah will rest in Her dwelling place, the human body and the physical corporeal earth.
Shechinah is a term that is Feminine, and throughout Kabbalistic teachings, refers to the exiled, sometimes-estranged, feminine consort of the Divine Masculine, Kudsha Brich Hu "the Holy One, Blessed Be." Shechinah is the term that refers to the Divine Presence of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, the presence in the Tabernacle, and also stems from a root word that indicates closeness and presence - in Modern Hebrew, a "Shachen" is a neighbor.
The Shechinah is not Divinity that is far. It is not the Spirit that you access by meditating on a mountain for ten days. It is the Divinity that is palpable and present through embodied action, the realm of the feminine for so long in our upside-down society, that is now becoming increasingly recognized as organizations realize that intelligence is not a sign of success.
Empathy is. Compassion is. Collaboration is. Communication is. The ability to integrate. To interact. To physically create. To contain. These are the harbingers of success, for one's personal life, one's career, one's relationships and one's creativity.
In the Talmud, it's said that The Shechinah rests when more than three people are present. Perhaps an indication of the power of collaboration! Throughout the Talmudic references, we can perhaps understand how Shechinah - as opposed to the Essence of Divinity Itself, "God", the 4-Letter-Name of the Divine - is embodied in our own acts, with us on this plane.
An embodied spiritual practice isn't easy, when these physical acts have been part of our programming so long, it can be hard to find the Divine within them. To eat with intention, to walk with divinity, to pray while singing or playing music, is a practice that takes time to cultivate.
And we're in the Genesis. Are you ready?