Alice Herz-Sommer, believed to be the oldest known survivor of the Holocaust, died Sunday morning in London at age 110. Her devotion to the piano and to her son sustained her through two years in a Nazi prison camp, and a film about her has been nominated for best short documentary at next week’s Academy Awards.
Previous article shared about Alice when she was 108 : :
“Unless and until a man embarks upon this quest of the true self, doubt and uncertainty will follow his footsteps throughout life. The greatest kings and statesmen try to rule others, when in their heart of hearts they know that they cannot rule themselves. Yet the greatest power is at the command of the man who has penetrated to his inmost depth.
There are men of giant intellects who spend their lives gathering knowledge about many things. Ask these men if they have solved the mystery of man, if they have conquered themselves, and they will hang their heads in shame.
What is the use of knowing about everything else when you do not yet know who you are? Men avoid this inquiry into the true self, but what else is there so worthy to be undertaken?”
~ Ramana Maharshi
Source : : shunyamproductions.com
Are you comfortable asking for help? Dr. Brené Brown, author of the book, The Gifts of Imperfection, posed this question to an audience. About one third of the room raised their hand. She followed up with another question, “How many of you would rather give help than ask for help?” which received a very different response; almost every member of the audience raised their hand. The difficulty we have asking for help in general points to a larger issue. Brown has spent years studying human behavior and has come to a startling conclusion: self-judgment makes us feel uncomfortable seeking assistance. “When you cannot ask for help without self-judgment, you are never really offering help without judgment,” she says, “because you have attached judgment to asking for help.” From a kabbalistic point of view, we understand how important it is to share and help others. When we do, is it possible that we are simultaneously judging those in need? Brown suggests that it is, unless we learn to freely ask for help without judging ourselves. Why do we judge ourselves? While we accept that it is necessary for us to share Light through acts of kindness and charity, we sometimes prefer to feel that we are above assistance, that we don’t need anyone’s help and can do just fine on our own. This fallacy is a detriment to our spiritual growth, for it inhibits our ability to connect to others and connect to the Light of the Creator.On the other hand, some of us feel that we deserve to be recognized or rewarded for our acts of sharing. “This undercuts the power of your action to connect you with the Creator, who is never searching for a reward,” says Michael Berg in The Secret. “Moreover, Kabbalah teaches that we acquire the limited happiness of physical rewards at the expense of true joy. This is precisely the reason that material gain never brings lasting satisfaction…So an act of sharing that contains a hidden agenda is not really a step toward the ultimate goal.” How can we perform acts of kindness, charity, and sharing in a way that allows us to move closer to this ultimate goal of long lasting fulfillment? We do this when we allow sharing to be a constant flow of give and take, when our Desire to Receive for the Sake of Sharing is greater than our Desire to Receive for ourselves. We do this when we leap at the opportunity to help others without judgment, not because we will receive anything in return, but because our acts of sharing bring more Light into the world. The biblical chapter, Chayei Sarah, demonstrates one such selfless act of sharing performed by a young girl. Abraham decides that his son, Isaac, needs a wife, so he sends his servant, Eliezer, to find one. Eliezer packs up a small caravan of ten camels with fine goods from his master and begins his journey. He arrives at a watering hole where the women of the village come to fill their jugs. With so many women approaching the water, he declares how he will choose the perfect match for Isaac, “Let it come to pass that the maiden to whom I say, ‘Let down your pitcher so that I may drink,’ and responds with, ‘Drink and I will give your camels water, too,’ be the one appointed for Isaac.” Before he even finishes speaking, Rebecca approaches the watering hole with a pitcher upon her shoulder. Eliezer hurries to her and implores her, “Let me please drink a little water from your pitcher,” to which she quickly offers him water. When he quenches his thirst, she says, “Also for your camels will I draw water, until they have finished drinking.” She then draws more water and makes sure that each of the camels are satisfied. She doesn’t hesitate to help Eliezer. Furthermore, when he and his flock are satiated, she extends her home as lodging for Abraham’s traveling servant. In Secrets of the Bible, Michael Berg pinpoints exactly what makes Rebecca’s actions so extraordinary, “Most of us share, but how many of us share with the consciousness of a servant? I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, our answer would be almost never.” Like a servant, Rebecca leaps at the opportunity to help. Eliezer knows she is a fitting partner for Isaac when she shows her willingness to be a servant through her sharing. Helping others while silently judging their need or while hoping to receive something in return disconnects us from the Light of the Creator. Kabbalists have known this all along; when we help others selflessly and without judgment we strengthen our connection to the Light and grow spiritually. When we realize this and let a desire to share Light be the impetus for our actions, we are able to truly connect to others and in turn, connect to the Light of the Creator.
See more at http://livingwisdom.kabbalah.com
by Robert Adams
There was once a young girl who was brought up in a house of prostitution. This was her destiny, at the time. She couldn’t get away from it. But she used to pray to God: “Oh Lord, if I must go this route, be with me. I’m not praying to change my life, if this is my destiny. But I’m praying that your strength and your love will always be with me.” Now across the street, there was a so called Guru, and he used to stand in front of the market place, telling everybody they’re consciousness and absolute reality, preaching and screaming. This went on for years.
Finally the time came when they both died and they went before God. And God told the girl: “You have to go back to the earth, and you have to be a Guru” And he told the so called Guru: “You have to go back to the earth as a snake.”
And the man said: “How come Lord? I extolled your virtues to everyone. I told all the people they were consciousness and they were absolute reality, and you send me back as a snake. What did I do?” And God said: “You have no heart. You come from the talking school. All you did all your life was to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. But this girl gave me her heart. She surrendered to me. She didn’t bemoan her fate. She just wanted me to be with her during her trials and tribulations. And I gave her the strength to carry on, so now she is free. But you still have a lot to learn. So you have to go back as a snake.”
This makes us think. What are we really doing with our lives? We read lots of books, see lots of teachers, have a lot of head knowledge, but how many of us have given our hearts to God? And God is not far away. God is really the Self. But in order to contact that Self you have to have a lot of humility. To feel God’s grace means you have to surrender completely, have a lot of humility. You have to have the attitude: “I know nothing, you are everything.” This kind of an attitude will set you free. And yet, how many of us have an attitude like this?
Many of us think of becoming self-realized but then we become proud, and you actually become more egotistical than you ever were before. We have a holier than thou attitude. This will never do it. One surrenders to God, and they have no other life. They realize that whatever they do, it is God doing it. Therefore its good. They never complain. They never think of their problems. They think of others and their problems, rather than their own. And the other one realizes that the I is responsible for all their problems, and for their existence. So they trace the I back to its source, to the heart, and they become free.
Therefore if you see a teacher who thinks they are better than anybody else, and they seem egotistical, be careful. True Gurus never take on a teaching role at all, and they have very little to say. After all, what is there to talk about?
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