This morning I posted the above iPhone photo and message on Twitter.
Then I got a response from @SaraBlackthorne, a woman I began following recently on Twitter. She said,
@Brainmaker I don’t know what that is, but I really like it. Unsure why. Has a soothing and constant effect.
I looked a little further and found Sara’s lovely blog, Forest of Stories, and realized for the second time that she is inspired and informed by the Torah.
That’s when I decided to share this in a blog post. The reason I am soothed by the numbers in the photo has a lot to do with some rhythm of nature. The numbers are digits of pi, which I play with, memorize sometimes, and just look at a lot. (I say I’m a freak because I can occasionally recite about 600 digits of pi. That’s just freaky.)
The reason I’m looking at my pi strings today is to try to keep a little more balance in my heart and mind, so I can keep doing my work, in the midst of the many points of desperation on planet Earth today. I’m mostly sunk in the horror of northern Japan, and not paying attention to much else. But it doesn’t matter where my focus goes, the pain is in the atmosphere and I need constants, like pi, to help me keep my footing.
I feel an affinity for Sara because (for one reason) she mentions the Torah on her blog and on Twitter. I barely know what the Torah is, but I rely almost daily on a little book called The Hebrew Alphabet, gifted to me by my brother-in-law, Sam. This wonderful book tells the stories of the characters of the Hebrew alphabet, with interpretations by beloved rabbis. It’s so full of journey, and kindness, and, well, light.
In Jewish mysticism, it represents a cosmic messenger bringing movement and change into our lives.
And most curiously,
Yud connotes our inborn tendencies for both selflessness (yetzer hatov) and egoism (yetzer hara). According to the sages, the biblical commandment to love God “with all your heart” means “with both your impulses” — for both inner aspects can serve a higher purpose. In this sense, our yetzer hatov involves altruism, compassion and kindness; and our yetzer hara, the passion or personal momentum that, as the Talmudists observed, “leads us to marry, build a house, beget children, or engage in business.”
Ow, my heart
Over the weekend my distress over the situation in Japan reached a crescendo. I realized I had to do something definitive to help, and began to work on a plan to employ my creativity, my writing, my connections with others — and Yud — to implement a publishing project to contribute to funds for Japan’s situation.
Now to find the right connections to work with me, collaborate, and share this journey.
See how Twitter works? We find ourselves relating to each other, and sometimes realizing we are relatives. Then we may begin to act like caring family.
Thank you for responding, Sara.