Remembering Our True Nature

Right now I’m in Chicago, sitting on the bed in my hotel room. This past week has been hectic for me because I started off in Boston, trotted up to Ithaca, and then ended up here in the Windy City. When my life starts to get crazy it’s easy for me to lose sight of myself. To become engrossed in getting from point A to point B, finding something to eat, and accomplishing everything on my to-do list. My mind gets wrapped up in the mundane and I forget who I am.

Tonight I passed by the Holy Name Cathedral on North State St. and I felt compelled to walk in. Even though I’m Jewish I love Cathedrals and feel no compunction about attending other people’s religious services. (Even if I have no idea what’s going on.) I sat in the very last row and soaked in my surroundings. The high arched ceiling, the wooden pews, the stained glass windows, the maroon robes of the choir. I allowed all my cares and worries of the day to ebb out of me as I looked at the magnificence that lay before me.

As I sat in the last pew wearing my bulky lavender winter coat, my shopping bag next to me, the choir sang the introit:

Ad te levavi animam meam: Deus meus in te confide, non eru bes cam: neque irrideant me inimici mei: etenim universi qui te exspectant, non condundenttur. Ps. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstra mihi: et semitas tuas edoceme.

Which translates into:

Unto you have I lifted up my soul. O God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame; do not allow my enemies to laugh at me; for none of those who are awaiting you will be disappointed. V. Make your ways known unto me, O Lord, and teach me your paths.

At the end of the introit, the choir at Holy Name just kept repeating the word “animam” over and over again. Animam is a Latin derivative of the word for soul. The closest I can come to sharing my experience with you all is this YouTube video from some other place:

As I listened to the choir chant “animam” again and again I was reminded of my true nature, of who I really am. I remembered I am more than this body, I am more than this mind, I am more than this life. I remembered I am that. I am that song, that music, that person, that feeling of expansiveness, that indescribable spiritual something that separates the mundane from the celestial. I am that.

It was such an awesome and lovely reminder and I sincerely hope when others are entrenched in the hustle and bustle they too will gravitate toward something that gives them a feeling of expansion, whether it’s a sunset or a gorgeous piece of music. It’s easy to get caught up in it all but we are so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It’s just a matter of remembering.

I dream of a world where people know who they truly are, know they are more than flesh and blood and bones. Where people know they are magnificent, divine creatures capable of anything. Where people sprout metaphorical wings and soar above the clouds coasting on a spiritual high. A world where people see magic in the everyday and feel expansive and uplifted at all times.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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1 comment… add one
  • John Dec 9, 2009, 4:31 am

    The peace I've found in churches and cathedrals is amazing. I used to work in downtown Seattle and had a lunch hour from 9-10AM (I worked 5AM-2PM). I would walk up the hill to St. James cathedral and just enjoy the peace. Sometimes there would be silence, some times the choir would be practicing, some times the organist would be practicing, but I always found myself at peace. I am amazed by the moments that remind us who we truly are and pray every day for the mindset to "see the magic in the everyday".

    Thanks for the reminder!

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