Friday, 21 August 2009

The Time for Repentance Is Now!

This week, I have been mostly scanning Zo-har..

Oh heck, are we there already? The start of the month of Elul (Virgo) in the Kabbalistic calendar. The time for repentance is now! Repent now and your sins may be forgiven on Yom Kippur - the Day of Judgement!

The Day of Judgement! The day when the Great Celestial Santa evaluates every one of us and decides whether we have been Naughty or Nice ("I've been good! I've been good! Honest, guv!"). And then what? Do we go to Heaven or Hell? Can we be forgiven? Does He really see everything? Like, EVERYTHING?

It all sounds a bit Fire and Brimstone, but actually, it's all in the translation.

For one thing, the word Repentance implies that the power of forgiveness lies with God - that all we have to do is say "I'm sorry" at regular intervals and all of our sins will be forgiven and we will be allowed in to the Kingdom of Heaven. Which leads to the assumption that we can do what we like as long as we are sorry afterwards and the only reason to apologise for our sins on a regular basis is because we don't know when or how we are going to die. It doesn't imply anything about changing our behaviour so that we have less to ask forgiveness for - as long as we feel sorry, maybe He will take pity.

Kabbalistically, it's all about energy. I don't picture the Creator as an old man with a white beard sitting there in judgement, but a force of unconditional love constantly wanting to share. There is no question as to whether this force wants to forgive us - the energy is constantly available - we just need to earn it. The month of Virgo happens to be the time when this Light is the most easily accessible - when correction of our actions brings the greatest reward.

Everything is based on the Laws of Cause and Effect. What you put out there, you get back. The great Jedi Mind Trick of the cosmos is that you never know when you are going to get it back. If you 'plant a negative seed' (e.g. kick the dog, poison your best friend, bitch about somebody behind their back) then this could come back at you instantly (the dog clamps its jaws on to your leg and won't let go), in a few months (a long spell behind bars) or in the next lifetime (not having any friends despite being a really lovely person). It's a great explanation for all of the crappy things that happen in your day to day life which you probably feel are totally undeserved. And also the reason why I have no friends. (And yes, I'm sorry for kicking the dog - I will never kick another dog ever. As for the poisoning, my sinuses were blocked and I couldn't smell that the salmon was off. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it).

The month of Elul is an opportunity to go back in time and 'undo' those negative seeds - to look in to the past and take responsibility for all of the times where you caused upset, where you weren't your best self, where you judged others, reacted in anger or held yourself back. Realise where you went wrong and understand what you could have done differently - and how that might have affected your outcomes. And work out what you can do in the here and now to make things up - whether apologising to the people you hurt, or helping an old lady cross the street when usually you wouldn't have the time. Whatever you normally do for reasons of selfishness or fear, change it. In fact, even altering your smallest 'bad' habits (e.g. the number of sugars in your tea) is a sign of willingness to change.

Crap, my days are going to be unrecognisable. Did I tell you about my constant issue with procrastination? No? I'll probably fill you in tomorrow...


  1. So I good time for me to move forward then, but in a Kabbalistic way? I am dreading this month actually. So much I could have done better in the last year. So many times when I have fucked up, acted badly or haven't acted at all. Bleurgh. I hope the creator hasn't been watching too closely. I doubt he would be impressed. xx

  2. Interesting. But do you not think that making such an issue of looking back at one's past actions in order to "undo negative seeds" takes attention away from judging current actions which is where quality of life really exists. By concentrating on current actions I can make a positive impact on those I interact with. By pondering over past actions I withdraw into myself.

  3. Good comment Alan. The quality of life that we experience today is based on the amount of 'chaos' in our lives, which comes from previous reactions in this life and previous lives. Undoing the negative seeds from the past reduces the number of things which were due to come back and bite us, reducing our chaos and improving the here and now.

    However, contemplating and correcting the past doesn't mean ignoring the here and now - because it is in the here and now that we are planting seeds for the future....

    So this is effectively the month where we can additionally remove negative actions from our past as well as working hard on improving who we are in the here and now. That's why this month is such hard work - but the effort is rewarded, and so it is worth it.

    Real spiritual work isn't sitting in a cave contemplating your navel - it's 'work to be done' and it's hard. And the deeper you go, the harder it gets.