Rabbi's Thought of the Week
Shabbat Parashat Balak – 19-20 July, 2019
HaMakom held its Summer One-Day Meditation Retreat last Sunday at the Jewish Vegetarian Society – it was so wonderful that Jay joined us from EBMC.
During the retreat I shared a powerful teaching from Victor Frankl, a brilliant Jewish philosopher, psychologist and spiritual teacher. He writes as follows:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
I love this quote because it reminds me of one of the most important aspects of our own ongoing development. I think Frankl is saying that we, all human beings, have the ability to learn to respond to events with deeper and deeper levels wisdom and compassion, rather than to react automatically in ways in which we normally react due to our past conditioning. Note the distinction between ‘responding’ and ‘reacting’.
Easy to say. Hard work to put into practice. This Shabbat I invite you to observe how you respond/react to events that you find unpleasant or annoying (hint: they will often involve your relationships and communication with other people). See if you can find a little more space and time before you respond and then ask yourself this question:
“How can I respond to this person or event in a wiser and more compassionate way?”