At a 39 +3/4 birthday party in Philadelphia last night (Jeff is prepping for 40), I meet old friends and make new ones. Like these two cool teachers who work with 7-11th graders in a local private school and tell me about sex-education and what it takes to do it well and effectively with today’s kids who’ve been exposed to the seamy side of sexy way too soon (they do it with honesty, looking the kids in the eye, but providing opportunity for anonymous questions) And then this guy says hi to me and looks me in the eye – as in – stares at me, intensely. I stare back. It’s not exactly ‘making eyes’ – it’s definitely more like ‘staring’. and we keep at it for quite a while, occasionally I smile or giggle. He keeps it mostly straight. 5(!) minutes later or so we start to talk. And yes, it turns out that this guy, interesting and handsome artist – likes to look in the eye, a lot, and has been doing it since he’s a little kid, and it’s always been a bit weird but that’s just who he is and what he does. Few stare back, he tells me, so that when somebody does – he really looks back…
Face to face, eye to eye: in many ways this is the goal, the destination of this 5-0 count. Up on the mountain of mythic revelation the Divine is exposed, revealed, temporarily, as close as possible to face to face, eye to eye, human consciousnesses encountering the subconscious reality that is God. briefly, before giggling or smiling or blown away to death: too much.
This intimacy is what Sinai represents for me. God, if you’d like is just another word for ‘intimacy’.
SO with this guy, who I will see again or not, but will hopefully befriend and get to know, I was reminded of relaxing and looking back. Seeing, as they say in Avatar, as a way of greeting: I SEE YOU.
Today is day 20. Yesod of Tiferet – the foundation of beauty, the grounding of the heart. If I remember to look in the eye, simply present, the foundation of being will be stronger, my being firm in what is. It’s like sex education – start simple, honest, eye to eye, teach them about the sacredness, the fragility, the gift of intimacy and all its baggage..
Today’s task: in some random conversation – stare, softly but with intent into the eyes of the other – a tad longer than ‘usual’ and ‘see’ what happens.
And tonight, in Israel, it is Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day – the dead are counted: the fallen soldiers and victims of terror. The memory of the fallen is the foundation of the living. Yesod of Tiferet. I look them in the eye tonight – my fallen friends, and remember. and honor, and thank.
30 to go.