This is the day of Tiferet within Tiferet, balance within balance. On this day, I am thinking about how keeping my life in balance is directly related to working to create balance in the world around me. Paradoxically, I find that when I focus on making the world better, it is my own inner life that is healed.
In the early 1980s, I remember seeing a documentary film called Koyaanisqatsi with a beautiful soundtrack by Philip Glass. The strange name of the movie comes from a Hopi word meaning, "Life out of balance." The film contained no narrative or dialogue, no words at all, just images of American life, from the beauty and grandeur of mountains, deserts and valleys, juxtaposed against the hectic, fast-paced, and frenetic life of cities and suburbs.
To me, the film was a beautiful metaphor for a Jewish teaching about balance within balance that comes from this day of the Omer and from this week's Torah portion (Emor). We have an obligation and a need to live in balance within ourselves and with the world around us. If we take everything around us just for ourselves, we will exhaust the earth, wreak havoc upon our society, and corrupt our own souls. The Torah commands:
On this 17th day of the Counting of the Omer, I make a commitment to act to keep myself in balance, to keep my relationships with others equitable, just and balanced, and to respect the natural world around me. May this be a day in which you bring balance to your life by balancing your sacred relationships with others and with the world.
For the introduction to the Counting of the Omer, click on this link:
The First Day of the Counting of the Omer