Last week’s column on how Stoney Nakoda wisdom counters racism drew some amazing responses. Yes, it’s all about diversity-in-harmony, beautiful like a fine flower garden.
Jeanne Hammer writes: “The answer is so simple. If we would only stop and look around us, there is beauty everywhere, whether in people or nature. We are all God’s children.”
Wendy Allison Barnes, quoting her Baha’i Faith founder Baha’u’llah, adds: “Ye are all fruits of one tree, the leaves of one branch, the flowers of one garden.”
That’s all because of the Divine Spark in all the creation, the late David Lertzman shared with us in our May 13, 2021 column following his death from an apparent bear attack while out running near his home in Waiparous Village.
This past Saturday, many of his admirers gathered at Beaupre Hall to celebrate David’s life and legacy. Around talking circles, in heartfelt conversations, and in music, we renewed our appreciation for his Judaism-informed understanding of our roles as “Divine partners in creation” in healing our broken world. In that spirit, allow me to revisit his letter I ran a year ago:
I FIND MYSELF reflecting on the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, the restoration or healing of the World, as a model for personal development in service to the Earth’s greater good. Yet, how can this be done with the diffusion of such cruelty and suffering across our beloved Planet? Judaism teaches that sin is collective. We are all responsible for the World, including the problems we witness and experience whether or not we feel we have created them. We must start with ourselves and look within.
Turning within is ultimately about returning to who we are at our Core, our true Self, the Divine Spark of Sacred Mystery within each of us. During the 16th Century in Safed, Israel, Rabbi Isaac Luria popularized the idea of Tikkun Olam. He taught that nothing in this World is without a Spark of the Divine, which is the Core and Essence of every being. Our purpose is to liberate these Divine Sparks in all we do, revealing the beauty and true nature within elevating our Soul and all those we touch.
Two centuries later, the Baal Shem Tov taught that good can be found and celebrated wherever and within whomever it is encountered. We are led, as it were, to seek these Divine Sparks who have been waiting for liberation, perhaps since the dawn of Creation. Thus, wherever we go and with whomever we meet, we bring and foster Tikkun in all we do through our thoughts, words and deeds.
When I hold back, when I diminish that Divine Spark within for whatever reason, the World becomes a dimmer, less bright place. The World needs you to shine, to be true to your inner nature, your authentic Self. In giving that gift to the World, you will be giving it to yourself. What greater sense of purpose and call to service could there be than as a Divine Partner in Creation?
A HIGH POINT in our time together at Beaupre Hall was David’s wife, Sarah, singing a selection of his compositions. One, in particular, says it all: “I’ll carry you always in my heart. / All life is a circle. / We are all together. / I’ll carry you always in my heart.”
And we’ll carry you always in our hearts, too, David. Thank you.