The great mystic and visionary, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, emphasizes the importance of doing teshuvah (self-transforming practices) in order to complete and enhance our preliminary attempts at teshuvah. In doing so, according to a Talmudic teaching, we can reap the benefits of two worlds, “olam ha-zeh” (this world) and “olam ha-ba” (the world that is coming). This can be understood in several ways. First is the foundational teaching that whatever we do to reflect on our deficiencies and to correct them always arises from the specific perspective of our current level of development. Since every perspective is itself relative and provisional in regard to yet higher possibilities, we need to see beyond any sense of present attainment and begin to envision what still lays ahead, “the world that is coming.” In this way, we can transform our self-transforming into something even more evolved.
The old-paradigm approach to teshuvah places particular emphasis on refinement and improvement of the “individual self” and its relationship to other “individual selves.” That is the teshuvah of “olam ha-zeh” (this world) and has served us well within the parameters of previously established levels of consciousness. But what of the teshuvah of “olam ha-ba” (the world that is coming)? To begin to attract the future, we need to turn ourselves in the direction of a more evolved self-model. We can think of this turning as a shift in awareness from thinking of ourselves as separate, rigidly defined, particulate selves with distinct borders to bringing into greater clarity a sense of ourselves as inter-active, inter-dependent, co-creating waves equally participating in the Ocean of Totality (YHVH).
Teshuvah on teshuvah (correcting our correction) is not another level of the teshuvah of self-criticism and seeking forgiveness for the uncomfortable and regrettable effects of our apparent and isolated particularity (which remains nevertheless a necessary precondition for most of us). Rather it is an unfolding, embracing, turning beyond mere particularity towards recognition of the way(s) that we are already present within the Great Ocean within which we are all inter-participatory waves.
In Elul, the focus is on preliminary, particulate teshuvah, ridding ourselves of the tired, old, and outmoded selves of “olam ha zeh.” To enter the new paradigm of the New Year, we need to turn ourselves towards the higher teshuvah of “olam ha-ba” (the world that is coming). This means deeply focusing on a vision of a future in which our wave-like selves will literally be our “second-nature.” In this way, as we turn towards Rosh Hashanah, the “Head” of the New Year, we can refine our “Mochin” (high-command consciousness) toward greater awareness of the “world that is coming.”
I wish you all great success in the practice of recognizing and releasing into the most positive future form of the Divine Dreaming that is already present within our presence. May we have greater success in this coming New Year in cooperatively creating greater awareness of the ever-changing harmonies and melodies of all dancing wave-selves that collectively contribute to the incomparable beauty of the Ocean of Be-ing.
May you be written and sealed immediately in the Book of Life for the good that is coming.