The first day of counting the From the second day of Passover until Shavuot, Jews count seven weeks – seven times seven days – to commemorate the period between the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation at Sinai. When the Temple stood, a certain measure (omer) of barley was offered on the altar each day; today, we merely count out the days. is Lit. Kindness It is said in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) that the world stands on three things: Torah (learning), Avodah (worship), and Gemilut Hasidim (acts of kindness). she’be’Hesed, lovingkindness within lovingkindness. We begin the journey after redemption with a reminder of the flow of pure, Divine love, a flow that is ever available to us, yet only when we open to receiving the flow. How do we open the channel to Divine love? Given how quickly we can become constricted and closed off, the way to open the flow often seems mysterious and unreachable. Yet, it can also be quite simple. The first step is believing that it’s possible to open to the flow. The second step is to open the channels from below and above.
Here is an exercise adapted from my studies with qigong master Daisy Lee (qigong is energy cultivation, a discipline that originated in China). While it’s ideal to do this exercise outdoors, with your feet directly in contact with the earth, it can also be done indoors:
1. Stand upright, as you are able (if you are not able to stand, use your imagination to align yourself).
2. Close your eyes. Feel the soles of your feet connecting with the earth and imagine that a root is connecting the soles of your feet to the heart of the earth.
3. With your imagination, allow the flow of nurturing earth energy (which you may see as light) to enter your feet and rise up through your legs, pelvic area, abdomen, heart, throat, and head. You have just received Earth energy.
4. Now open to receiving Heaven energy through the crown of the head (the point at the top center of the head where babies have a soft spot). Imagine that a line is connecting from this point to your unique star directly above you in the Heavens and open to receiving the flow from this star, down to the crown of your head and then around the outside of your body, curving below the feet like an upside-down heart, and then rising up and entering through the midline of your body.
5. Place your hands on your lower abdomen and notice how you feel. In my experience, this alignment through receiving love from above and below creates a sense of calm empowerment.
Image by D’vorah Horn from her set of Omer Practice Cards (2016).