I am that I am, that hears the cries of the world…
This is what Moses hears when he encounters the Divine at the Burning Bush in Chapter 3 of the Book of Exodus:
Ehyeh asher Ehyeh
V’et Tzakatam Shamati
My teacher Rabbi Jeff Roth combined these verses from chapter 3 of the Book of Exodus into a beautiful translation and chant:
Ehyeh asher Ehyeh, Sho mayah tzakot
I am that I am, that hears the cries of the world
This is who we are. We are beings who hear the cries of the world. This is what it means to be a human.
But this is hard. It hurts too much to see and feel the suffering and pain of the earth and all beings. It’s overwhelming. Still, I chant these words in the hope that a little crack in my protective shell will open.
That crack of awareness came one day as I got into my car. I heard and felt the cries from the fuel I was using, the air I was poisoning, the traffic I was part of, the danger to pedestrians, the mining of materials needed to fix and build and oh my…this small moment of awareness threatened to overwhelm me. Just getting into my car and opening to the cries was too much!
I am that I am that hears the cries.
The cry was: Let the car go.
It was so clear.
But how do I do that? I have always had a car!
I am that I am that hears the cries
A few days later I got a call from someone who heard I wanted to let my car go. She worked with a young family who was struggling and needed a car.
That day my car went, a family was helped and the earth was grateful. But even more: I lost a little weight, I got fitter , my life became richer as I slowed down and had to walk or bus everywhere, I saw new neighbourhoods, connected with more people.
Our sacred texts teach us that whenever we look and listen to the suffering of the world, it is our human nature to respond. When we act in accordance with our deepest truest nature, we know what to do.