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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Circadian Rhythms

The body moves in rhythmic cycles, physical energy ebbing and flowing, like the tide, raising and lowering according to time and temperature and light and all sorts of indicators that cause us to respond to our environment.  We respond with hunger or sleepiness or alertness or emotion.  Every day our circadian rhythms, the biological and physiological cycle,  informs and influences how we engage with the world.

And there are spiritual rhythms - spiritual cycles - as well.  As Ecclesiastes/Koheleth so well puts it, "Everything has an appointed season, and there is a time for every matter under heaven."  A time to be born and a time to die; a time to sow and a time to reap; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to be silent and a time to speak.

We can each feel our own internal physical rhythms, but how aware are we of the spiritual rhythms?  Of the pull into silence and solitude and contemplation?  Of the pull inviting exploration to develop the gifts with which G*d has entrusted us?  Of the pull seeking a new way to understand old problems?  The soul pulls us toward the places needing attention, just like sleepiness pulls us toward rest each night.  And we ignore the pull of either sleepiness or spiritual renewal at our own peril.

Next time you feel the internal pull, give it a try.  Disengage, even for a little while, from everything that seems so pressing, and see what that pull is pulling you toward.  Like our circadian rhythms that give us cues and clues about how to successfully navigate our physical world., the spiritual rhythms tell us when to start or when to stop; when to face or when to withdraw; when to engage or when to detach; when to push forward and when to retreat.

In the ocean of life, these rhythms are the waves, carrying on them and between them and below them the meaning and wisdom that we need.