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Healing the Earth through Faith and Action:

An Interview with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 by: Jared Rosen and David Rippe

Reprinted from

Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi is the sage of a worldwide movement of Jewish renewal who encourages a meeting of his tradition with the psychological, ecological, and spiritual revolutions of our age. As the founder of the P'nai Or (Children of Light) religious fellowship and the rabbinic chair of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi has inspired and guided a movement for an observant, deeply traditional Judaism that is at the same time gender-equal, environmentally aware (he coined the phrase "eco-kosher"), nonhierarchical, and grounded in renewed liturgy. We asked the Rabbi if he believes there is a spiritual flip underway. "When you go deep into meditation, you can arrive at the place where you can feel and hear the pain of the planet. The earth is sick and has emphysema as far as the atmosphere is concerned; blood poisoning as far as the water tables are concerned. So the issue is not so much transformation as healing. The first step is a change in our awareness, to realize that we are not at the center of everything, but rather, the planet is the center and we are like cells of that great organism.

"One thing any individual can do is to find time to be disconnected from the onslaught of the media. We are so constantly barraged by what the media are demanding and telling us that we never connect with our soul. That's why I'm so excited about our Shabbat. If you have a Shabbat where you don't turn on the TV and you don't make phone calls and you stay in a place where you can be in touch with your soul, that makes a great deal of difference. I feel it's not so much what you do in meditation as it is the fact that you're not faced with the barrage of the media. I don't think people can wake up as long as they're in the trance."
The Rabbi believes that we can find the wisdom we need across the generations. "I think our mother, the earth, is making us aware of the needs that she has and one of the needs that she has is for us to act on our wisdom. Elders are the wisdom keepers. Yet the wisdom of the past cannot handle the complexity of our life today. You take a look and see how kids take to computers, for instance, and it's really amazing. They can handle a lot more complexity than we can. And I think that's a wonderful thing. There is an arousing. There are children coming down to earth; they speak of them as the Indigo Children. And that's just wonderful. There is a new spiritual sensibility emerging, but if you have ever seen a butterfly trying to get out of the chrysalis, it's an agony, a struggle. It's like a birth. And that's why in Judaism we speak of this as the birth pangs of the messiah. If you collaborate with it, it goes more smoothly."


Friends of Water thanks newstarget, the Rabbi and the interviewers.
You can learn a lot at newstarget, and make a contribution.

We heartily support the views expressed above. 
Unplug; choose you own sources of information and make your decisions.

It appears to us that there is a shift underway.
The old ways are trying hard to hang on by increasing control.
The emerging is struggling to find ways to express itself.
Be part of the change.

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A Thanksgiving Message

Love is everthing.
Service is the way.
Gratitude is the key.

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Corinne notes a kayaking analogy for life:

It's when the water is roughest,
that you most need to pay attention -
 and work your paddle correctly.

"Going with the flow" has its limits.

      Dip your paddle in and get to work.

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Summarized from 
                                 The Three Hermits
                                                            A folk tale by Leo Tolstoy 

On an island there lived three old hermits. They were so simple that the only prayer they used was: "We are three, Thou art three - have mercy on us!" Great miracles were manifested during this naive prayer.

The local bishop came to hear about the three hermits and their inadmissible prayer, and decided to visit them in order to teach them the canonical invocations. He arrived on the island, told the hermits that their heavenly petition was undignified, and taught them many of the customary prayers. The bishop then left on a boat. He saw, following the ship, a radiant light. As it approached he discerned the three hermits, who were holding hands and running upon the waves in an effort to overtake the vessel.

"We have forgotten the prayers you taught us," they cried as they reached the bishop, "and have hastened to ask you to repeat them." The awed bishop shook his head. "Dear ones," he replied humbly, "continue to live with your old prayer!"

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The earth does not belong to us.
We belong to the earth.

Chief Seattle

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Making the Ocean Jealous

from a talk by Martin Prechtel

We just shared in the joy of a talk by Martin Prechtel.  He spoke in Portland Oregon at The Looking Glass, an independent bookstore.  Martin likes to support stores like this, and other independent people and efforts.  He told us a story of making offerings into the water. 

Martin Prechtel is a leading teacher, writer and original thinker informed by serious study, and rich experience.  He holds and conveys a deep understanding of topics at the heart of life; topics that seem to be infrequently even spoken about.  He is exceptional for his eloquence and wealth of expression.  He conveys the 'pre-modern vitality' in any language.  Martin was raised in a Pueblo village in New Mexico.  It was a delight to listen to him and learn from him.  As lovers of language and stories, we enjoyed him and his talk on many levels, and feel very grateful for the gifts he gave us.

Martin has lived in Guatemala, where he served the Tzutuljil Mayans, instructing the young people in living out the meanings of the ancient stories through the rituals of adult rights of passage. He helps people in many lands to retain their diversity while remembering their own sense of place in the daily sacred through the search for the Indigenous Soul.

One of the many stories he told us was of making offerings into the water.  He had frequently done this into the ocean, and people wondered why this time he made the offering into the river.  The reason was to make the ocean jealous so that it would send mists and clouds up to the river.  This happened and needed rain came to the dry land where he made the offering.  It rained for three days.

Give a gift to what is real.

More Flow Writings.....

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