Tag Archives: Israel
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God and Conflict
Wednesday I returned to Tzfat (Safed) Israel from Raanana, which is north of Tel Aviv. That night I was scheduled to interview Philip Hellmich, the Director of Peace at The Shift Network with whom I have been working with for the past year on The Summer of Peace 2012 event. In September I was a featured presenter of the event. The focus of my presentation/ experience was healing the rift between Abraham’s sons, Isaac (Yitzchak) and Ishmael. Ishmael is the father of Islam and Isaac of Judaism. The event is available at: https://www.marknaseck.com/be-a-light-unto-the-nations-summer-of-peace-2012
The interview with Philip was focused on his new book God and Conflict: A Search for Peace in a Time of Crisis. Wednesday was launch day of his bestseller book campaign. We had a fantastic time doing the interview. He shared his experiences in Sierra Leone, Africa during his time in the Peace Corps and after when he went to visit during and after the civil war there. He went on to speak about the inner paradox of deep peace and love that he felt as a result of his deep meditation practice of 2 hours per day and the heart wrenching experience of seeing his friends and loved ones adversely affected when their villages were sacked by child soldiers. Philip’s desire to do something about the unrest in Sierra Leonne took him on a deeper inner journey that transformed him at his core.
Philip shared with me the ability to allow these 2 dynamics to co-exist within him. Being asked to speak at the United Nations in September is a testament to his success in mastering the ability to feel deep love and peace and to act in the world as an ambassador of this peace.
During the interview I couldn’t help but feel that there was a bigger picture for this time with Philip than I originally believed. I was right, the following day I learned that a war broke out in Gaza, Operation Pillar of Defense. After months of the constant rocket barrage to Sderot in southern Israel from Hamas in Gaza, one of the rockets landed in a further urban community resulting in Israeli fatalities.
In my personal life, I recently connected with a new friend that I opened my heart to via sweet phone conversations and SMS messages. I was looking forward to meeting her next Sunday. Saturday night I wrote her a SMS message and went to sleep around 10pm. I woke up at 3am. At 3:33am I receive a SMS reply from her stating that she had been called by her commander for emergency reserve duty in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and that she was en-route to the south. I was in shock … I prayed for her and her brother who was with her as they both went to serve. Her last SMS was “Thanks, saving battery”. She didn’t know when she’d be able to charge her cell phone once she got close to the border of Gaza. From that point I didn’t know when we would have communication again, at least on the physical plane. When I awoke I was in a deep meditation and prayer experience holding the space that they be safe. In those moments I felt connected to The Divine and to my friend. Before going to sleep that night I wrote another SMS to her saying that she and her brothers are in my prayers and I ended the message with May Peace Prevail. I don’t know if she had any battery left to see the message, never mind reply to it. Not knowing if she was engaged with her work in the mission was another reason she may not see / reply to the message. The sensation of being helpless came upon me, so much sadness. I had seen photos of the damage done and the pain others experienced from injuries and loss of life. I cried.
I just let the sensations / feeling flow through me, it was quite intense. Earlier in the morning when I was in prayer and meditation I was also communicating with my new friend suggesting to her to keep her body open and fluid to allow many paradoxical energies, feelings, emotions to move through her so she can stay healthy and strong and not allow these energies to get stuck inside and cause dis-ease. When I began to cry I realized that I had also been saying those words of advise to myself.
Philip transmitted to me the awareness of how to do this so I can remain in a grounded and balanced state and continue to be present for myself and others, doing my work in this world and staying healthy. And at the same time, NOT shutting down or closing off to any uncomfortable feeling / sensations which would make me less effective in my life.
Get your copy of God and Conflict today and receive an Inner Spring Cleaning Healing free gift from me at; http://www.godandconflict.com/campaign-nov-14th
God and Conflict explores how conflict is a natural part of our human experience and a catalyst for spiritual and societal evolution. It is the way in which we respond to and work with conflict that ultimately determines our personal and planetary evolution. ~ Philip Hellmich
Conflict is gift from God and the seed we can grow into new heights of consciousness.
Many blessings to you and your loved ones,
May Peace Prevail
Wandering Jews: Former Tucsonans thrive in new locales
Mark Naseck is an internationally known lecturer, practitioner and teacher in the holistic healing arts.
How long did you live here? How often do you return to Tucson? Do you still have family or friends here?
I lived in the Tucson area for 13 years, in the Tucson Mountains on the west side, on the east side near Sabino Canyon, Patagonia and Bisbee. In Patagonia I was connected with the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center and the work of Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Later I worked at Canyon Ranch as a yoga, meditation and chi gong instructor. I created the famed “Shamanic Journey” service that is still thriving and facilitated an experiential lecture, “Energy ConnectionTM,” giving guests an understanding of how holistic/alternative / energy-based therapies work based on the science of quantum physics. I also taught yoga and meditation intensives at Miraval Resort and Spa as well as a one on one private healing experience called “NamasssageTM.” I left Tucson in February 2010 to make aliyah to Israel. I have not been back to Tucson since making the move to Israel. I have many friends in Tucson.
What was your favorite thing about Tucson? What have you missed most about living here?
My favorite thing about Tucson is the weather. Having grown up in Boston where there is snow and many gray sky days, Tucson’s sunshine was very attractive to me. More important, it was in Tucson that I began to connect deeply to my Jewish roots. In 2005, I met Rabbi Michael Shapiro, a teacher and musician from Scottsdale who frequently spoke in Tucson. He inspired me to deepen my studies in Israel. Via the web I found Shalom Rav Yeshiva in Tzfat. I then visited Tucson’s Israel Center and Moshe Babel-Pour, the shaliach, suggested I take a two-week pilot trip to Israel.
I went home and booked a flight. When I boarded the plane I was pleasantly surprised, shocked actually, to find Moshe Babel-Pour on the same flight. The plane arrived in Israel at night. As we passed a Tel Aviv skyscraper with Hebrew letters I said to myself, “I’m home.” And then I thought, “Home? You’ve never been here before!” In Israel I visited Bnei Brak, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Tzfat. I knew Tzfat was where I wanted to be. It is is a very charming, quaint, romantic, spiritually charged place. Ancient Judaism and Kabbalah have deep roots in Tzfat. On that trip, I decided I was going to make aliyah. Six hours later I received an e-mail from my landlord telling me he was going to sell the house I was living in and that I needed to move. What instant confirmation of my decision!
Friends and family ask if I miss all I left behind on the other side of the puddle. I miss my friends and family more than anything. But I am so happy to be in Israel and to experience a whole new world that satisfies me on a very deep soul level that is quite hard to put into words.
What big changes have occurred in your life since you left Tucson?
The biggest change is living in a new culture with a new language. I told my friends back home that many times I felt like a helpless baby. For the first six months, I needed help doing everything, even the most basic things like calling the phone company.
How were you involved in the Tucson Jewish community? What did you learn or experience in Tucson that has most affected you in your present life?
I attended services at Chabad on River, classes and retreats with Rabbi Michael Shapiro and his Scottsdale Torah Institute and served on the board of directors of Rabbi Miles Krassen’s organization Rain of Blessings while he was living in Tucson. My good friend Tsipi Goeta-Kreisler is the person who connected me with these amazing people and institutions. She and I met at a conference on spirituality and consciousness in downtown Tucson in 2004.
I always had a love/hate relationship with Tucson. I was guided to go there in 1996 after working on a film set in Los Angeles, where I was a raw food chef for a director. After the film shoot, I went to San Diego where I had a dream about a wave that destroyed houses on the beach, but the dream also included many people seeking me to teach them about making wheatgrass juice and sprouts. I had always been concerned about earthquakes in California. When I woke up the next morning, I went to a metaphysical bookstore and looked at a map that was supposed to show what the land would look like after an earthquake. Tucson was on the other side of the San Andreas fault and would be the new San Diego. Two days later I was in Tucson. The first year I lived there every day I would ask myself, “Why are you here? Why did you (God) want me here?” I preferred places like the Caribbean or Hawaii, with the rain forest’s lush, in-your-face beauty. Eventually, I began to find the subtle beauty in the desert and as I reflected on my outer experience I began to see a reflection in my inner experience. The place inside that I didn’t think beautiful or worth loving slowly became lovable and worthy of my attention. Tucson is the home of the world famous Gem and Mineral Show, my favorite event in Tucson — and, like a rough raw gem that needs to be cut and polished in a rock tumbler, Tucson transformed me. My soul has been polished and its sparkle restored!
When I made aliyah, I arrived on May 3, 2010, which was Lag B’Omer and the celebration of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the man who is attributed with saving the Jewish faith and writing the Zohar, the ancient text from which Kabbalah is derived. When I look out my office window or sit on my porch I gaze right at his memorial where thousands come every year on Lag B’Omer to pray and receive blessings from his soul.
The prayer Ana B’Koach was written by Rabbi Nechunia ben Hakanah and has profound mystical significance. Rabbi Nechunia ben Hakanah was a tanna who lived about 2000 years ago, and was the greatest known esoteric master of his generation. The prayer Ana B’Koach contains 42 words, the 1st letters of which form the mystical 42 letter Name of G-D. The Holy Divine Name of 42 letters is discussed extensively in the Kabbalah, and is described in great detail in the Zohar and the writings of the Ari z”l. These 42 letters are associated with 42 stages in the process of our spiritual development. These stages are the secret of the 42 places mentioned in the Torah where the nation of Israel camps during the 40 years in the Sinai Desert before entering the Land of Israel. There are 42 lines in each column of the Torah scroll paralleling this process. The prayer is divided into 7 verses of 6 words each. The 1st letters of the 6 words in each verse also form Divine Names. These 7 names together with the 42 letters are a total of 49. 49 has many mystical associations in the Kabbalah. 49 corresponds to the 7 lower emanations of the Tree of Life, each containing all 7. We have 49 years between each Jubalee Year representing a new era of freedom, 49 days in the counting of the omer, and 49 hebrew letters in the holiest of prayers- SHEMA YISRAEL HASHEM ELOKEYNU HASHEM ECHAD / BARUCH SHEM KAVOD MALCHUTO LEOLAM VAED. These stages are associated with the spiritual work given to creation to work towards reaching the place of pure giving and unconditional love. This work brings us to the 50th gate of BINA (state of pure love), which brings the revelation of G-D’s bestowal of infinite goodness to all creation. Each verse of Ana B’Koach contains 6 letters of the 42 letter name, which are Kabbalisticly divided into 3 groups of 2. These Holy Names correspond to the 2 wings with which particular angels cover their faces, 2 wings with which the angels cover their legs, and 2 wings with which the angels fly. The wings are associated with LOVE and AWE. The prayer is painted in a circle corresponding to the teaching in the Kabbalah that the circle dance is the holiest of dances. When dancing around in a circle, each person takes the place of every other person- the realization that we are all one soul. The 42 letter name is used extensively in Kabbalistic meditations and spiritual unifications. The prayer Ana B’Koach is included in the daily order of prayers and is found in the Siddur (prayer book). One possible translation of the prayer is as follows:
ANSWER US WITH THE STRENGTH OF THE GREATNESS OF YOUR LOVING KINDNESS AND UNTIE OUR SORROW.
RECEIVE THE SONGFULL PRAYER OF YOUR PEOPLE. RAISE US UP AND PURIFY US IN YOUR AWESOMENESS.
PLEASE! GREAT ONE, MAY THOSE WHO SEEK YOUR ONENESS BE PROTECTED LIKE THE PUPIL OF AN EYE.
BLESS THEM, PURIFY THEM, SHOW MERCY ON THEM, YOUR RIGHTOUSNESS ALWAYS BESTOWING.
POWERFULL HOLY ONE, IN YOUR ABUNDANT GOODNESS, GUIDE YOUR CONGREGATION.
ONE AND ONLY EXALTED ONE, ENLIGHTEN YOUR PEOPLE WHO YEARN FOR YOUR HOLINESS.
RECEIVE OUR CALL FOR HELP, AND HEAR OUR CRY – THE ONE WHO KNOWS ALL MYSTERIES!
[BLESSED IS THE NAME OF G-D’S GLORIOUS MAJESTY FOREVER AND EVER IN ONENESS]
from Avraham Lowenthal at https://www.marknaseck.com/store/category/art/kabbalistic-art/avraham-loewenthal/
In the Ana B’Koach Prayer Hakham Nechunya Ben Hakanah wrote a special prayer with forty-two words, the initials of which comprise the forty-two letter Divine name.
“We beg You! With the strength of Your Right Hand’s greatness, untie the bundled sins. Accept the prayer of Your nation; strengthen us, purify us, O awesome One. Please, O Strong One, those who foster Your Oneness, guard them as the apple of Your eye. Bless them, purify them, show them mercy. May Your righteousness always recompense them. Powerful Holy One, with Your abundant goodness guide Your congregation. One and only Exalted One, turn to Your nation, which proclaims Your holiness. Accept our requests and hear our cry, O Knower of all mysteries.”
Hakham Nechunya wanted to be able to pronounce the unpronounceable, to call out and call forth the reality of the whole, in order to deal with the stubborn sins that keep us stuck.
One of the Kabbalistic explanations of the prayer, Ana B’Koach – בכח אנא, suggests that the number forty-two is associated with the process of ascent, whereby we elevate the material context in which we live. Ana B’Koach corresponds to the forty-two letter Name of HaShem that prophets used to meditate on in order to go into a state of prophecy.
Hakham Nechunya specifically asserted that if you properly understand how to use the forty-two lettered name as a key to seasons and time, that this key reveals a lengthy period of time between the origin of the universe and the creation of man. In his view, the universe is thus not a mere few thousand years old as the text seems to claim on the surface, but is 15.3 billion years old, the very age arrived at only recently by the estimates of modern astrophysical theories of the big bang.
Whenever the concept of forty-two comes up, it usually alludes to an opportunity to become more spiritually elevated, to return to what we were before the fall. This is why the prayerAna b’koach is found in all siddurim before Pesukei D’Zimrei (Introductory Psalms), and Lecha Dodi erev Shabbat, and at other times that promote our spiritual elevation. And, as the Kabbalists point out, Ana b’koach is made up of seven stanzas each with six words, whose forty-two letter acrostic alludes to the forty-two letter Name.
HaShem created the world with this forty-two lettered name, and it facilitates a Jew’s endeavors to ascend spiritually from level to level. For this reason, every morning as we prepare to ascend spiritually, through prayer, we recite “Ana becho’ach” before “Eizehu mekoman.” Likewise for the ascent through the minchah prayers, before “Ashrei” we saykarbanot (portions dealing with sacrifices) and conclude with “Ana becho’ach.” Before going to sleep we recite “Ana becho’ach” in Kriat Shema al Hamitah, since the neshamahprepares itself to be rejuvenated and to rise to a higher spiritual sphere. And on Friday night, after reciting six Psalms corresponding to the six days of the week, as we prepare to enter the holiness of Shabbat, “Ana becho’ach” is also recited.