Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Shonah tovah u'metukah. Have a good and sweet new year!

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Although I'm not Jewish, I do share a deep spiritual bond with the Jewish people. I can learn a lot about my relationship with God by meditating on the meaning of today's great festival:

  1. Mercy. Yes, God judges me, but God weighs my good deeds against the bad using a scale that measures mercy, not sin.
  2. Forgiveness. I can't forgive others if I can't forgive myself. Reflecting on my regrets over the past year is not a cause for shame, it's an opportunity for forgiveness.
  3. Gratitude. When I reflect on the year that was, I can see the many blessings I have received, many of which I discovered in the midst of hardship, not absent them.
  4. Patience. Everything I did in the past year--the good and the bad--no longer matter. What truly matters is that I can begin living a life of love, mercy, and compassion.

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with our Jewish sisters and brothers with this following meditation. You just might see where you have experienced God's mercy, which will sound like a shofar in your heart.

Take a moment and remember that you are in the the presence of God.

Pray for freedom. Ask God to show you what is truly important. Let God guide this meditation. You may want to repeat the following mantra until your mind feels calm, still, and free: May I decrease Lord, so you may increase.

Review the year that was. What are you most proud of? What has brought you joy and fulfillment? What was your biggest disappointment, something that you regret the most? Your mind may be flooded with many images. Focus on the one joy and one disappointment that brings the most noticeable or resonant emotions.

What was your experience of God in this joy? What was your experience of God in this disappointment? These questions will help you accept your joys and disappointments with humility, as equal opportunities for experiencing God's grace. Forgive--and ask for forgiveness--for anything that needs forgiving.

Finally, look forward to the year to come. What changes do you need to make to be a person of love, mercy, and compassion?

Close the meditation by thinking of someone you love, someone you like some you feel neutral toward, and someone you dislike. Wish each of these people a good and sweet new year.