A Bedtime Meditation/Prayer of Forgiveness
Building on the writing of my teacher Zalman Schachter Shalomi, I offer a prayer for every night of the year. It is particularly appropriate for 9/11 as we pray that Americans can let go of their desire for revenge and move to a higher level of consciousness, abandoning the fantasy that somehow "homeland security" can be achieved through militarism and dominating others (as the U.S.
Administration and its hired guns in Iraq are trying to do).
Let us pray for the healing of the fear and trauma that guides the policies of the U.S. government and many of its leaders. It is also appropriate for Ramadan and for the Jewish High Holy Days, days when we search our deeds and contemplate how far we have strayed from our highest God place within. We know that each of us is deeply imperfect, and though we have been wronged by others, our spiritual traditions teach us to move beyond whatever anger we've experienced to a place of forgiveness. We must start that process by forgiving ourselves, also, for not being all that we wish we could be, and for losing contact with our holy God place within us.
Our injunction for this period is: "To thine own God self be true"--but this can only happen if we stop incessantly judge ourselves for how we have failed on that path. Ironically, self-transfsormation which is the goal of this period of inner introspection can only work if we forgive ourselves. But then we must move on to forgive others...even others who have not yet asked for that forgiveness. Imagine how blessed our world could be if that path of forgiveness became part of the reality of America's relationship to the world, Israel's and Palestine's relationship to each other, the Muslim world and the West's relationship to each other, the Chinese and Indian and Western relationships with each other. And from that forgiveness we would move lovingly to change economic and political arrangements that are oppressive or hurtful both domestically and internationally. Well, we may not be able to make all this happen in the next few weeks, but
one place we can start is by using this prayer every night of our lives before we go to sleep.
Many blessings to you, and I humbly beg your pardon for any ways that I have hurt, offended or otherwise transgressed in relationship to you!
Rabbi Michael Lerner
Y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha, Adonai Eloheinu velohei avoteinu, shet'hadesh aleinu shana tova um'tuka. (May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors, that you renew for us a good and sweet year) God's peace on the sixth anniversary of 9/11/01.