Passover has more to do with questions than answers. It’s telling that those invited to ask the Four Questions central to the seder are children. The young are free to ask what we as adults no longer question.
Passover asks us on a symbolic level to reflect on our internal state of freedom and to consider all those in bondage.
Oppression takes many forms in the world, including poverty and exploitation. For most of us, who are fed and free to vote, travel and express our opinions, the most egregious bondage is self-imposed. We may move wherever we choose and associate with whomever we want, yet the cage of our mind rattles with feelings of anxiety, grief, sadness, insecurity or depression.
We are free, but we are stuck. We are blessed with sight but fail to see the deepest truth of our divine nature and the divinity inherent in every particle of our world.
The Hebrew word for truth is emet, which combines the first, middle and last letters of the aleph-bet, as if to say all the world is truth, all the world is sacred.
At this time of year when we reflect on our state of freedom, in the world and within ourselves, it’s apt to ask when and how we tune in to an inner feeling of freedom, appreciation and awe.
It may be helpful to reflect on what keeps us wired, stressed and oblivious. Often that happens when we’re unconscious, on autopilot, when we fail to listen or fail to notice.
But who among us doesn’t have the freedom to look up from an iPhone, set it down, and take note of a flower, a dog, a cat or the sun glinting off the water.
We are free to the extent that we can direct our focus. One can read the news or watch it on TV until one sees nothing but the worries of the day. One also can stay informed and have the awareness of when to pull away and to pause with a deep breath, a walk in nature or a few minutes of silent meditation.
We too often forget that what we share with our partners, children, friends, neighbors and colleagues is our inner state. Before we open our mouths, they can perceive our stress or our contentment.
My training has been in Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old integrative system of health that encourages daily pursuits such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, essential oils, herbs and proper nutrition as the path to health and fulfilling relationships. The intent is to quiet the mind and in that stillness to perceive the qualities of the heart.
One key lesson from Ayurveda is that by shifting our daily habits and routines, we can replenish our health and spirit. Passover asks us to reflect on our lives and our responsibility to help others who are not free.
What I discover again and again is that when I don’t feel free, I have little to offer others. But when I nourish my inner state, I am aware of my ability to nourish and uplift anyone I encounter.
Gedalia Genin helps women get unstuck and free from stress, anxiety, depression, grief, loss and hormonal imbalance using natural modalities. Contact her at www.gedaliahhealingarts.com or 404-528-1483.