Imagine for a moment that you were immortal. How different would life be?
Things like failure or the thoughts and opinions of others wouldn’t seem so daunting, would they? Instead, if you suddenly discovered that you were immortal, there’s a good chance you would feel a sudden infusion of possibility. Limits would disappear… because, after all, you’re not going anywhere, right?
This is the energy of Shavuot. It’s a day on which we are given the opportunity to experience a taste of limitlessness. To recommit ourselves to living our best life full of blessings and abundance. Shavuot connects us to what kabbalists call the “revelation on Mount Sinai.” The name itself is a code word for the perfect union between the Light and the physical world.
Because that’s what occurred 3,400 years ago in the desert: the connection between the heavens and the earth manifested in the receiving of divine wisdom. As a result, each year at this time, we enter a state of pure potential, where anything and everything is possible–even the idea of immortality.
I know what you’re thinking: How can anything–let alone anyone–be immortal? That goes against every scientific fact and law that we’ve learned. Yet what we know about the nature of life (and, for that matter, of death) is only a tiny glimpse of what lies in the unseen realms.
As for science, we have only begun to scratch the surface of the immortal aspects of our physical universe. For instance, we learn that stars are born and eventually die. But do they, really? The solar energy, radiation, chemical projections, and elements emitted by stars travel through time for billions and trillions of years. And those ejected from “dying” stars become the building blocks for new stars and heavenly bodies, as well as for any life that may exist in the cosmos. In fact, according to NASA, “From the carbon in our DNA to the calcium in our bones, nearly all of the elements in our bodies were forged in the fiery hearts and death throes of stars.” No matter who we are or where we come from, we are each and all made of stardust! And that’s only the physical aspect of our “immortality.”
Our words, our actions, and our creations have the potential to render us immortal, at least in the humanistic sense of the word. Who hasn’t heard the name Plato, even though he lived over two thousand years ago? Who hasn’t heard a sonnet or a play by Shakespeare? Or read a poem by Emily Dickenson? Or admired the works of the many great artists who have long since moved on from this physical realm? We leave remnants of ourselves in our children, our work, and in our very way of being.
We can peer into that sense of the eternal, too, at any time through our spiritual studies and practices–whatever they may be. My husband Michael expressed his own experience this way: “When I am connecting to the Zohar [the teachings of Kabbalah], what I am actually doing is shining down the Light of Immortality to that aspect of my physical body, my soul, and the world…” Our spiritual work helps banish the negativity, chaos, and fear in our lives and realigns us with the Light in all its expressions. And the more we infuse ourselves and our work with that Light, the longer our creations in this world will shine on.
Ultimately, Shavuot serves as a powerful reminder that we are forever in partnership with the Light of the Creator, and that the limits we perceive in our lives are often not real. They exist because we’ve believed them into being. Consider this: just a short 130 years ago, if you had told someone that humans would soon be flying in a machine above the clouds, you might have been shipped off to the asylum. But here we are, with around 2.5 million passengers boarding planes every. Single. Day. So much for those limitations, right?
Likewise, how do you know what you can or cannot achieve until you try? This is a time to set aside your “don’ts” and your “can’ts” and peer through the lens of anything is possible!
From this viewpoint, our challenges and seeming setbacks become opportunities for transformation. By paying attention to what we tend to resist and working through those areas, we become stronger, more resilient, and more capable versions of ourselves. And even one hurdle surmounted helps our resistance to growth and change fall away.
Rav Berg often said that “Consciousness is everything.” The limitless consciousness of Shavuot is potent beyond measure. Whether we think of immortality as a literal possibility or as a metaphorical tool for our own and the world’s evolution, by tapping into it, we ascend beyond our lives as we’ve known them. We begin to recognize and embrace the infinite parts of ourselves–the aspects of our being that are everlasting!
And we come to realize that everything and everyone we meet also share a spark of that eternal Light: the same one that shone into every past… and that will shine into every future yet to be.