Sunday, November 2, 2014
THE MASKS OF LIFE
The masks we wear at Halloween are not the only masks we wear. During our lifetime we assume many different roles and wear many different masks. Think for a moment what masks you are wearing at this time in your life. First, it might be male or female, then mother or father, sister or brother, friend or student, or maybe loner, the "nobody understands me mask," the mask of success, or any number of different masks.
Sometimes we wear several masks at the same time. But in order to find our real Self we have to take them off one by one. Some great Teachers have described this as peeling away the masks like you would peel the layers away from the heart of an onion.
One morning this week as I sat with my coffee watching the dawn brighten, I was thinking that at this time of my life, the "golden" years, it was time to start reviewing my life to see how many masks I could remove. I ask my Self, "How could I remove all the masks I have worn and get to the real me? "
I'm pondering this when my soul spoke to me in a very quiet voice. She said, "Abwoon d'bwashmaya." That was totally unexpected. "Abwoon d'bwashmaya." I don't know whether this phrase was in my mind from reviewing the meaning of "The Lord's Prayer" with the ministerial students a few weeks ago, or it was brought to my conscious attention from the depth of my soul's ponderings. For those of you who are not familiar with the phrase, "Abwoon d'bwashmaya," it is the opening to the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic.
I have also been thinking about perceptions and how one person's perception of any given situation can be quite different from our own. This led me to thinking about stopping to understand another's perception before rushing off into demanding our own perception is the only and right one and closing our minds even further to the Truth. What if we learned how to really listen to each other, not just to the words but to the rich symbolism of the words and their deeper meanings? How rich our own knowledge would become!
So why did my soul say, "Abwoon d'bwashmaya?" These words can be translated so many different ways and have a great depth to their meaning. The Christian translation is "Our Father which art in heaven." That is rather a flat translation but the opening words are so much richer in meaning. The sound "Ah" signifies the Absolute, the Only Being, the pure Oneness and Unity, the source of All Power. It is the root word for Abba, our personal father in Aramaic, the name that Jesus called God. It is also the root word for Alaha, the Aramaic word for God, literally meaning "the Oneness."
The "Bw" sound is a flow of blessing like a birthing, as if from the very depths, the heart of the Creator to us. The "Oo" is the breath or spirit that carries this flow. It is the Holy Breath that contains all the power and potential of the Universe. The "N" is the vibration of this creative breath from Oneness as it touches and interpenetrates form. We are the substance that this holy force touches, moves and changes.
"Abwoon" Holy Oneness, you bless us by birthing us from the very essence of your Being and we are enlivened by the power and potential of the whole universe. We are touched. We are moved. We are changed. We are the spark of your Holy Heart. Every time we breathe in, we remember who we are, your Holy Creation.
But there is more to "Abwoon." It is to be intoned within your own self. Say it a couple of times and find the proper tone that resonates with your own body. In Aramaic this is part of your real "name," God expressing through you as this tone, this vibration out into the universe. Let's practice saying it and see if you can locate your own tone. Find the tone that makes your body start vibrating.
The rest of the phrase "d'bwashmaya" completes the motion of divine creation. The root of this phrase is "shm" which means light, sound, vibrations, word or name. It gives us the picture of something that" rises and shines in space. "It is the entire sphere of a being. The ending "aya" shows that this shining, this brilliance, includes every center of activity, every place we see, as well as all the potential abilities of all things.
What a great picture! We intone the Holy Oneness which is part of our own being, our very name, and we are touched by the blessing of this creation. When we realize this we are changed and we remember that we are not material bodies but spiritual beings rising up to shine in the universe with everything we are and all the potential for what we may become.
Every time we intone Abwoon d'bwashmaya we claim our divine heritage as shining spirits of the cosmos. Close your eyes and intone "Abwoon" as you slowly inhale. Feel this Holy Oneness within you. Let it flow throughout your entire body combining with all the movements, all the vibrations of your heart and all your other body systems, until they vibrate as one. This is your powerful internal prayer that points you to who you really are – the breath of God.
Breathe in Abwoon, the Love of God, and breathe out the feeling and sound of d'bwashmaya. Feel the breath of God come into you as it does into the grass, trees, rocks and waters of the earth. Feel the One Source in this breathing in and feel the breathing return to all creation as you breathe out. Abwoon d'bwashmaya. Our breath feeds all other living things and their breath feeds us.
Change your breathing a little and this time breathe in feeling the sound Ah; breathe out feeling the sound bwoon. As you breathe in feel all newness and nourishment coming into your heart and lungs. As you exhale, feel everything old, everything that wants to be released, leaving with the breath. As you breathe in feel the parts of you that are not aware waking up and as you breathe out, release the joy of your awakening. Ah-bwoon. Ah-bwoon. Holy Oneness, we remember who we are! Holy Spirit, touch us again with awareness of the joy of our creation! Holy Unity, we are enlivened by the power of the sacred potential you have placed in our shining being!
Abwoon d'bwashmaya. We will never forget. We will remember. We bow in humble gratitude. Abwoon d'bwahsmaya.
I had no idea that when my Soul spoke these words, that she was teaching me about masks. I learned that wearing masks is all about expressing Love. Whatever mask I choose to put on to practice Love, my true self is always there, just as your true self is always there. Right perception is to see my true self and to see your true self no matter what masks we are wearing. One day we will be able to stand up as our true selves and shine with our sacred potential.
Remember the teachings of Abwoon d'bwashmaya. We are the shining breath of God expressing in this world. Stand up and be that Holy Child of the Light that you truly are.