To Judith Pasternak – for truly seeing, for living your life from the simple truth and always returning to it, for being with me along the path, for knowing how to say Yes, fully, because this is where all of the walls collapse and we live in infinity.
To Noa Golan – for a true partnership that speaks everything that needs to be said, that never loses touch with love or with what there is. For allowing things that need to be moved to be moved, for knowing that from this place we will see, we will breathe, we will allow what needs to end to peel away and disappear, we will allow what needs to begin – to emerge.
To Smadar Noga Waisman – for bringing ancient wisdom in her voice, for her precise perspective, for obeying the nature of things, for her knowing silence, recognizing that we are not the creators, but the participants.
To Shira Jacobson – for knowing truth’s beauty deep in her soul, for creating this book anew when translating it to English.
To Ayala Argaman Levi – for her intuitive wisdom, for knowing what we have been called to see and to where we are headed before we even saw it. For her uncompromised wish to see and live our true nature and walk the path of truth.
To Uri Shahaf – Some people bring out the light in others. they see the person in front of them, their soul, their beauty and the gift they come to share. Then, with their wisdom and skills they bring this beauty to the world. Thank you for your attentive ear which stays open and full of love and good will even when when spoken in a strange language. For your devotion, sense of humour, hard work and professionality. For the joy and creativity and your smile which makes hearts smile.
To all the wonderful people whom I coached and was coached by. For listening, wishing, seeing and remembering. It is a great blessing to be with you. It wouldn’t have happened without you.
To my children – Yonatan, Roni, Daniel & Maya and your spouses Keyla, Shani and Nadav, and my grandchildren Alma and Itamar. For the endless love which flows from you to me and to the entire world. And for remembering who I am, even when I myself forget.
Thank you Ruthi. For the great gift which is You. For the endless love that flows through you in everything you do, for your generosity, the joy of creativity, the deep listening and wisdom. Your honest wish and total devotion to this mysterious light which connects us all and everything, create a space around you – a space in which miracles accrue. It is a special gift to be a part of this space and to take part in its bright expansion.
Opening Words and Intentions
I am grateful for words and, at the same time, I know that words are never the essence. They give testimony to it, they lyricize it and they praise it. They express it and allow it to be seen in the world, in our minds and in our senses, but they are not the thing itself. They simply cannot be.
I will use some words here that might sound or remind us of words from which we have tired or wish to distance ourselves. Sometimes I will use words that might sound philosophical or raise doubts in you. There you might want to approach with tenderness, listening to the space between the words, letting the words enter you and do to you what they will do – and then listen and see your soul arrange what has been said in the beautiful way that only it knows to do.
In our world and the culture in which most of us live, there is quick, often inaccurate, often misleading use of language to describe the spirit. Words and wisdom that can only be understood from a place of silence, humility, slowness and surrender are often stated with determination, aggression, judgement and an attempt to control. We have grown tired and cynical towards this language, often even disgusted by it, because the inaccurate use has both hurt us and destabilized us, filling us with doubt to the point that we have questioned our own beauty and strength, and that of the spirit to which we were drawn in the first place.
This book comes to speak the nature of things. To convey life and the world, not as the interpreting mind or the stories we tell describe them, but in their original form – the essence of which is to learn the difference. These “things” are not static images; they are not just what we see with our eyes or grasp with our mind or senses. These things are motion; they are wisdom that can be felt and known only when we say “yes” to living not according to our thoughts.
Who am I, if not my thoughts or the story that I am used to believing?
What is motion, if not shifting something from place to place or state to state?
What is truth, if not theory, the “right” thing, or a new identity?
When the book is read with a desire to be understood, it won’t be.
When the book is read with a desire to decipher and extract, it will not work.
When these words are read with the feeling that I must know whether or not I agree with the author, I will find myself returning to my mind, again and again, and will be unable to truly see.
If I ask for a method, I will miss the precision, power and practicality that lie beneath the words.
This book is being written from my current level of awareness. It seems as if that is all one can ever do. Sharing, as I’ve learned, is the true expression of love.
Woven throughout the words of this book is the wisdom of many people who I have coached or am still coaching, people who wish to be attentive to this mystery. What has emerged is like a fountain from which numerous forms and perspectives have flowed forth, because such is life – one nature in an infinite number of manifestations. I think that in order to really read it, we are called to experience it with our body, from deep within. There lies true knowing. The book does not say much and it doesn’t reveal anything new to the soul and its wisdom, because the truth is simple. And yet, it may bring incredible blessings to the person asking to see and live this simple truth in his or her daily life. That’s the way it is for me.
This book consists of two sections. “Part 1: What Really Is – Knowledge” conveys the knowledge and describes the different ways it moves through us and we through it. At the end of each topic or process in Part 1, you will find links to relevant examples in “Part 2: Living What Really Is – Personal Accounts”, stories of men and women who have experienced or are experiencing the same topic or process in their daily lives. These men and women can be your partners, helping you to connect with the same motion that is beginning to occur within you, even if you are not yet sure how to describe it. Reading about their experiences can help you find the words to describe something that is already inside of you – even if you don’t quite know yet what to call it or how it fits with what you do know.
On the first anniversary of my father’s death, I couldn’t find the right words to describe how I felt. I looked for them amongst others, hoping that they would express what was happening within my own heart. I found them in the verses of The Beloved, the wonderful Persian poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī:
Listen to the story told by the reed,
of being separated.
Since I was cut from the reedbed,
I have made this crying sound.
Anyone apart from someone he loves
understands what I say.
Anyone pulled from a source
longs to go back.
The flute’s melody, says Rumi, would not be heard if not for its yearning for the reed; without it, the spirit could not pass through.
With deep love,
Ruth Bar Shalev