I and Thou
There is a Hasidic tale that tells of a much- revered Rabbi who dies and is met at the gates of heaven by God. “Who goes there?” he is asked. “It is I” he replies. He is denied admittance and told to go meditate on the correct answer. After six months he returns, and once again he is asked the question and gives a similar response, only to be sent away again.
After a year of prayer and meditation he once again stands at the gate and when asked, “Who goes there?” he responds, “It is Thou.” Immediately, the gates of heaven open.
What a beautiful reminder of our oneness with Spirit. As we open ourselves to prayer and meditation we come to see our own divine nature. We erase the line between I and Thou and see our connection not just to Spirit, but to everyone who crosses our path. In essence, we become the prayer we pray. We don’t express love, we become love. Our faith transforms us so we are a living beacon of light to all.
In life we have hardships. We get sick, we lose jobs, we lose loved ones, we lose relationships, these are all real human experiences. But they are not our highest truth. We can rise above them when we remember our highest truth which is simply we are one with God, inseparable. The only thing we ever need to heal is our consciousness.
I believe that Jesus’ time in the wilderness after his baptism is all of our stories. He overcame temptation because he was centered in God. We too, can overcome any temptation or difficulty when we remember that our connection to God is our highest truth. As Rabbi Shoni Labowitz wrote, “Holiness cannot be seen yet it sees all. It cannot be touched, yet it touches all. It cannot be heard, yet it’s melody sings throughout creation. It is both of the world and in the world. Holiness is being in union with God and encountering spiritual union in all dimensions of life.
Jesus’ realization, of who he was, Ernest Holmes tells us, was so complete that it became impossible to tell where the being of Jesus began and the being of God left off. Meister Eckhart wrote, “Our bodily food is changed into us, but our spiritual food changes us into itself.” In other words, as we develop our spiritual practice we become the practice. The line between prayer and all our other activities gradually dissolves as the I gives way to the I Am.