Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tshuva Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry
On the surface this would seem odd, especially as in popular English-language culture the notion of Tshuva is commonly understood to indicate the word "repent." After all, what's more Elul-ish than repentance? The problem with repentance is the connotation of condemnation, and few things (if any) are less loving than condemnation.
Tshuva is less about repentance than it is about return - returning to one's original pure self, the essence of which remains untouched even when covered with the dirty schmutz of sin. To disconnect from the world of falseness, self-deceit and ego gratification, to sever the connection to knee-jerk negativity, to change one's default setting from self-pity to loving gratitude - this is Tshuva. Tshuva means never having to say you're sorry - no apologies needed here, the gates are wide open, the Everlasting Arms are spread wide to receive us, the Healing Wings of the Most High are unfolded to shelter and shade us from harm - especially the harm we do to ourselves with our negative self-talk, punishing perfectionism, and lack of compassion.
If anyone deserves an apology, it is our own precious Soul against which we sin by denying our own truth, negating our own power, diminishing our own light, subsuming our own passionate truth, being anything less than completely authentic. But the Soul does not want to hear plaintive platitudes. Actions speak louder than words. Your Soul longs for your embrace, not your rejection.
Return again, return again to your Soul ... with deeds, not mere words.