“Come Up to Me On the Mountain and Be There,” Wednesday Wisdom (Exodus Part 4)

Today I want to talk about a verse that seems simple at first glance but has simply blown me away this summer.  In Exodus 34 God says to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there.”

At first glance this seems like the school of redundancy school (maybe you’ll get that joke later).  If Moses ascends the mountain, why on earth would God also bother to specify that he “be there,” or “present himself there” as indicated in some other translations of Exodus 34:2?

The answer as one brilliant rabbi suggests is that people often spend great effort in climbing a mountain, but once they get there, they’re not there, they’re somewhere else.

This principle has absolutely revolutionized my life.  Through some very unfortunate and painful situations this summer I realized that I was not fully present.  I was constantly either somewhere else mentally or buried in my technology.  This has radically changed my interactions with friends and family.  When I am with them now, the technology goes away, and I make a conscious effort to focus and listen intently at all times.  A special thanks goes to my amazing sister for giving me the incredible book Active Listening. 

So may you be fully present in all that you do.  We’ll focus on this topic more in an upcoming series on Mastering the Art of Living.

For now remember that “You are already where you need to be.  You need go nowhere else.  Feel it now in the moisture on your tongue.  Sense the effortless filling and emptying of your lungs, the involuntary blinking of your eyes.  Just an inch or so below your sternum where your heart beats.  That is where the Makom (place, or name of God) is.  Right here all along and we did not know it because we were fast asleep, here in this very Makom.

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