Following in the same format as yesterday’s writing, I’m bringing in three perspectives, including my own. M is the original text from Pirkei Avot (above), RS is Rabbi Shapiro’s commentary on the original text, and G is my voice drawing on both. All three offer messages to hold onto.
M: Who is wise?
One who learns from everyone…
RS: People are unique but not different. What makes you happy may not make another happy, but happiness itself is the same. Observe the behavior of others and learn what brings harmony and what brings discord.
G: We don’t choose what we learn. We choose to be open to being taught. There is something to learn from everyone and everything, each lesson adding more depth and understanding to our lives. That is what brings us closer to each other.
M: Who is strong?
One who subdues oneself…
RS: The self cannot subdue itself, for the self that is subdued is only a projection of the self doing the subduing. This is only the spiritual cleverness of narrow mind. Rather, see that “you” can do nothing. When this is known, narrow mind naturally and effortlessly opens to spacious mind, and then there is nothing to do.
G: In other words, be aligned with who you are in every moment (especially the more challenging ones) and “being strong” won’t even be a part of the equation. The strength is in not needing to exert it.
M: Who is rich?
One who loves what is..
RS: Wealth is based not on what you can hold, but on what you can receive. Loving what is, you receive all that is, and rejoice; loving only what you want, you still receive all that is, but recoil.
G: Dayenu, “what is” is enough. If we can live in the Dayenu, we will always be rich.