R. Geoffrey A. Mitelman has an interesting post on his blog at Huffington Post, about “Conscious Judaism”:
I found the post very interesting and inspiring, because how many of us are really conscious on a deep level, on how we live our lives? Of course, most people would tell you that they are aware of what they do, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t hold so.. Take a ride with the bus in the morning, watch people watching TV and so on, we might be conscious of our choices on a higher level, but on a more regular level it isn’t so..
One thing that I experience a lot, here in Israel, is the hope for miracles.. People are looking for “big” miracles outside ourselves, G-D doing great wonders and so on, while clinging to the belief, that as long as we’re doing as we’re told, then we – personally – are okay with G-D..
But that isn’t so.. The real miracle, the greatest miracle doesn’t lay out there, but much closer, in ourselves: We are the image of G-D, that is the greatest miracle we can find, and yet we ignore that and go on with our daily lives, totally lacking awareness of our own amazing potentials in this world..
R. Bahyah Ibn Paquda, Z”L, talks in his “Hovot HaL’vavot” about two levels of commandments, the outwards, which is the visible actions, and the inwards, the commandments dealing with our consciousness, and wonders why – at his time – that there hadn’t been written any books about the latter, thinking that maybe they weren’t that important.. But no, on the contrary, he discovered they indeed were important, that without them, the outwards duties would basically be without any worth..
Also the RaMBaM, Z”L, touches this subject many times, among other places in his letter to his disciple, R. Yosef ben Yehudah, Z”L, where he warns against people like Ali ibn Shmuel, the Gaon of the Babylonian community at the time, who was a bitter enemy of RaMBaM, Z”L:
…because this man and those like him among even greater men of former times, religion is nothing more than a way to avoid major sins, which is how the common people view it. They do not believe the duties of moral habits to be part of religion, nor are they as careful about what they say as men of piety are.
RaMBaM furthermore focused on the Lifnim MiShurat HaDin, as being the foundation for Din, which means that the spirit of the law is above the letter of the law.. When you’re doing the law only to do the law, you’re basically breaking the law, and render it useless.. Kavannah, that is, intention and awareness is what is supposed to be behind your actions.. You have to understand and know why you’re doing what you do, not just doing it..
Many others have written books and letters on the subjects, but I want to keep it short..
We need to be more focused in our lives, be more aware of who we are and what we do, and not only in relation to ourselves, but in general.. R. Avraham HaKohen Kook, Z”L, wrote about the three Loves in his “The Moral Principles”:
The heart must be filled with love for all.
The love of all creation comes first, then comes the love for all mankind, and then follows the love for the Jewish people, in which all other loves are included, since it is the destiny of the Jews to serve toward the perfection of all tings. And these loves are to be expressed in practical action, by pursuing the welfare of those we are bidden to love, and to seek their advancement…
That is, it isn’t enough just to focus on doing the right actions, but instead to have the right intention, to love, and act from that.. We are not placed as private being in this world, on the contrary, “man is a social being,” and we need to be aware of this, and “express them in practical actions,” in order to fulfill our roles as conscious beings in this world.. Only then can we become deserving of better times, the coming of Moshiah, may he come speedily in our days..
The change for a better world, begins inside the being wanting to make a better world, starting with changing himself for the better, becoming aware..