When this memory would pop up in the past, I would push it away. Today, I allowed the feelings and memory to stay with me and as I meditated, I embraced the younger me and accepted the difficult journey that I had long regretted and resented.
In our Torah study following mediation, we discussed how the weekly Torah portion refers to Jacob at the end of his life by both names Jacob and Israel. Our discussion was rich with our own personal experiences and thoughts. Using Rabbi Shefa Gold’s commentary as our guide , we looked at the Israel and Jacob to describe those two parts of ourselves.
“Looking at your own Jacob, you might find certain qualities that seem to be wired into your personality. You might be a worrier or you might be impatient, argumentative, controlling or manipulative. When you begin to have experiences of expanded consciousness, you are given the name “Israel” and you take on a spiritual practice that proceeds from that new identity. But “Jacob” never really goes away. Through our practice learn how to manage that worrier, that impatient one, that manipulator. After many years of committed practice I realize that the voices of Jacob-within-us may never be entirely silenced, but as the Israel-in-us grows, those Jacob voices lose their power to compel and we are no longer tricked or trapped by their arguments.
When I receive the blessing of the knowledge of where Jacob lives within me, then I can recognize his voice and gently refuse his advice, looking instead to Israel, for wisdom, passion and courage for my journey.” (Torah Journeys, page 59)
I am no longer that lost college student. I have found great learning, achievements and successes in my life. And I am blessed to have found this incredible meditation class filled with women who are my partners in my spiritual and intellectual growth. In my prayers and actions, I will strive to be Israel and know that sometimes I am Jacob.