One Saturday, I was in a real big hurry, racing down Magnolia Drive, NPR on too loud, important thoughts in my head: Love money marriage Prada shoes retirement planning.Suddenly, there’s a young Hasidic boy chasing a ball in front of my car.I stop fast, real fast, squealing, people-look-up-from-their-newspapers fast.The boy?Picks up his ball, smiles and runs back to the curb.
I crave faith like that.Not the one that has me facing 100-degree Angelino heat in a black wool suit but the one that has me facing danger with a smile.I crave that one.
I always have. I’ve read the Bible four times, four different translations. I studied Kabbalah – before Madonna made it vogue. I studied yoga and meditation and drumming and chanting – anything that would get me out of my head and into some other place.
I went to a yoga retreat and could not, COULD NOT, achieve Eagle pose.Tiko, the instructor, was one of those small, freakishly wiry men of no discernible age.I was resisting, I could feel it, which made it even more embarrassing.“Carline, Carline, Carline.” I closed my eyes and tried to focus.“You lack concentration.”Well, now you’re just making me nervous. “I should not affect you.Downward facing dog!”I changed position, Tiko pulling up on my hips.“Carline.Are you breathing? The breath is your chariot to the self.”What?“Your chariot waits for you and you do not want it.”Yes I do. “Then you must be open to receive it.”
Oh, Christ, I’d done the receiving work soooo many times, open, open, open, receive, receive, receive, blah, blah, blah.“Whatever.”
“Cobra!”I slid forward, hating this one, hating Tiko, hating everything.“You must receive the practice.You do not do the practice, you receive it.”
“What is it that you want?”I looked up at him from cobra, arms straight, back arched, chest open. “I want God.”
“Then you must let God come to you.Child’s pose.”
I pulled back into a tight curl.
“Carline.Keep breathing and at the end of your life is a palm.”
I’d drifted away for a moment there.What?“A palm?”“Yes, a palm.”
I was flooded with the old familiar sense that there’s a code to the divine and I just don’t have the key.“What kind of palm?A date palm, a coconut palm, a banana palm? WHAT?!”
Tiko crouched down next to me – I couldn’t see him, but for all his flexibility his knees cracked like shotguns.I turned my head.He held out his hand.
“A palm.At the end of your life is a palm.”
A palm, a big huge hand to catch you.We are each a universe in miniature.God is becomingness.Kabbalah teaches us how to shatter without being destroyed.Your chariot waits for you and you must receive it.
The search for God is its own kind of faith – In not giving up, in believing that what you seek you will find.God knows my intention.“The leap into the arms of Christ is more difficult for some than others.”