— Reflections on a conversation with a Rabbi — by Ali Hale Tilley
I am but a small raft
In an endless sea of wisdom
Searching for ‘Truth’
In the shimmering stars and migration paths of birds
Clouds in the night sky whisper universal secrets
Filling the fabric of the Self setting sail
The small raft in this short poem represents the relationship between the spiritual teacher and student. The student can use the teacher’s words as a type of rudder.
The sea of wisdom is the vastness of human thoughts and beliefs: past-present-future. Peak experiences elevate feelings, while self-doubt creates troughs that bring learning.
The Truth is the source of all mystery, often depicted as the Holy Mother, Heavenly Father, Prophet, or Word from a holy book. Yet, Truth is open to interpretation and corruption.
Shimmering stars indicates spiritual illumination that oscillates between the brilliance of spoken words and peaceful darkness of silent introspection.
Migration paths of birds suggest movement, journey, spiritual flocks, group formations, and the determination of the individual to follow a chosen course.
Clouds are part of the past narrative, where the faith of a New York Rabbi was tested and the Universe spoke to him in words that were inaudible yet profound. Clouds also signify visions and the imagination.
The fabric of the Self represents the material universe, which contains all matter and sub-particle matter. In yogic philosophy, the material universe is called prakriti or Maya.
The Self setting sail indicates the Inner Self is a navigator that holds onto the teacher’s understandings of universal secrets to navigate the empty Void. The Void is unstated in the poem and yet is filled with potential. The student navigates the Void through diligent practice, eventually becoming the teacher.