|A series brought to you by Secrets My Grandmother Told Me: A Wisdom School|
And so the countdown began on the second day of Pesach, counting 49 days, a journey of seven full weeks…
Tiferet – Compassion
by Rabbi Nadya Gross
Our journey began in overflowing love, the attribute that makes everything feel possible and good: Chesed – on the right hand. Yet the energetic flow on the Tree of Life teaches us that the love must be contained and given direction so that it remains healthy and does not overwhelm. Thus, Gevurah – the left, restraining hand appears. The right side of the Tree is flow and force, the left side contains and defines. This week we bring our right and left hands together at the heart. Tiferet is the attribute of harmony, beauty, compassion.
In yoga practice, the anjali mudra – bringing both palms together in front of the heart space – symbolizes honor and respect for oneself and the universe. It expresses love and gratitude: Namaste. This is not a surprising coincidence. For me, this confirms my understanding that the Tree of Life is the scaffolding of all Creation – the template for our being. The attributes on the center of the Tree, like Tiferet, are where the attributes of the right and left come together in dynamic relationship, seeking balance and harmony.
Tiferet is glorious: the perfect balance of love and safe boundaries harmonizing beautifully and bringing compassion to life. Compassion, sitting at the base of the heart, is the seed for right relationships. It blossoms into caring for the most vulnerable amongst us, for animals, for trees, and gives rise to actions that protect and defend the safety of all Creation and its creatures.
Sitting at the center of the Tree, Tiferet invites me first of all to have compassion for myself. To meet what is true and real about me – the good and not so good – with tenderness and acceptance. When Gevurah and Chesed are resonating in harmony, judgment gives way to a gentle holding of what is, like a mother embracing her errant child and assuring them that they are loved, no matter what. The more I am able to meet my own human flaws with compassion, the more readily I can receive others in that light, the more I become a channel for honor and respect, and meet each moment with deep gratitude.
This week I want to practice compassion with focused intention. I invite you to join me:
- Give your inner critic the week off.
- When you notice vulnerability in yourself or another, meet it with tenderness and hold there.
- Be present to what is, and expand your perspective beyond your own experience to include all that is there in that moment, feel the resonance.
- Take a walk in nature and sing praises to the beauty you see.
- Exercise radical self-care.
May we be blessed to seek and find balance this week, and to live in Tiferet.