I’ve always love the synergistic connection between holiness and wholeness. Many of us embrace the holistic paradigm, seeing the whole as more than the sum of its parts. In theory, we should see ourselves as whole and holy (and each holy me as part of a whole and holy us). But more often we go though life scratching at our most annoyingly repetitive parts, and forgetting to use our better and stronger ones.
In a wonderful old Woody Allen image he’s clutching a piece of land, bequeathed him by his Russian serf father. It’s about the size of a cupcake. But it’s “his” and he holds it fiercely. Preserving that small patch is like tending your ego self in your current lifetime. It takes lots of work to keep it whole. And to make it healthy And, oh yes, to become holy, or at least holier than you might often feel.
This week’s reading is about paths to holiness. My lazy person’s gripe with Leviticus has always been that’s all about rules. Rules and regs. Laws and rules. Do’s and don’ts. And then more and more of them. Mostly they’re a great collection how to treat one another, moral compasses, aimed at creating strong and civilized community, though some feel arbitrary. There’s certainly lots to remember, let alone follow
As lapsed addict Nurse Jackie, Edie Falco admits to her sponsor, I have a problem with authority. Most of us do. We display varied responses, from rebellion to sucking up. Mostly we create complex, idiosyncratic dances to convince ourselves that our moral virtue is intact; then we scurry home with our paycheck, promotion, kudos, or whatever we needed from authority.
But what if, instead of being opportunities to rebel or feel guilty, those rules and regs were useful and helpful? If they created a path pointing exactly to the sense of grace that you seek?
Sure, they’re a minefield of chances to screw up. But what if you could envision a whole/holy you on the other side? Someone worth the effort of becoming. That’s the bait of before/after pics in weight loss and gym membership ads. Follow this holy carrot to a new and better you.
But what if by being just a little holier, you could actually become that you?
And what if, instead of being forced, ruled, or regimented into the process, you moved towards it. If instead of shirking or shying away from the path, you embraced the doing?
I have a friend who says, Don’t start a diet unless you’re really excited about it. What if you got excited about tending your small patch of you?
You know your stuff (which I call karmic homework) and I know mine. We probably have some good guesses (and probably some wrong ones) about each other’s. But what if we actually lived in a way that helped us get to where we wanna go? What if we followed the rules and they helped?
My lessons for the next phase of my life: Get excited about my karmic homework. Enjoy doing it. Do it well. Trust where it’s leading me. How’s that sound to you?