I was interviewed by Alan Levin for his book, Crossing the Boundary, on spiritual leaders and teachers born into Jewish families who became known as teachers of other spiritual paths.
I’m honored to be in the company of such luminaries as Krishna Das, Sharon Salzburg, Allyson Grey, Ken Cohen, Starhawk, Martin Lowenthal, and others I very much admire.
My interview took place early in the project, back in 2011, well before the idea for the interfaith Israel trip that became the Heart of Faith Pilgrimage 2013 was even a glimmer in my mind’s eye. Perhaps it helped sow a seed for that trip that blossomed in the years after we spoke.
The interview gave me the chance to reflect on the unique contributions of my Jewish heritage. There are so many that it was hard to get them all in one interview / chapter. I consider it so very fundamental to who I am in the world and what has shaped my life and thinking, even as I have personally evolved into someone who identifies primarily as being on the mystic’s path: the quest to know God directly.
My Sadguru (in the Indian tradition, the one who leads you to Liberation), Sathya Sai Baba, had a saying that caught my attention a long time ago: “It is good to be born into a religion. But it is not good to die in one.”
Within the deeper framework of his teachings and the teachings of all great mystics, it has a clear meaning: your spiritual life must evolve beyond dogmas and dictates, to direct experience of divinity. If you die with your spirituality un-examined, if you have described the honeypot but never tasted the honey, you have missed a great opportunity for your soul.
The true root of the word religion is re-ligare: to reconnect. The same goes for the meaning of yoga: union with God.
For some, that union can all be achieved by digging the well in the backyard. For me, it required leaving that yard and exploring the wide world and multi-faceted vocabulary of the Spirit.
At the end of the interview Alan asked me questions about my relationship to Israel, and my reflections from that time are in my chapter. Now, in 2014, post-pilgrimage and many world events, some of my answers would incorporate newer experiences and perspectives.
Visit the Crossing the Boundary blogsite to get a taste of the chapters, and to purchase the book.
Excerpts from my own story in Crossing the Boundary are featured on this page.