What could the great 12th century sage Maimonides possibly teach us about life in the present day that would help us to overcome the violence we’re seeing now in so many places in the Middle East?
It’s his explanation about being careful to realize that nothing happening in the world is “by chance” or coincidental. He says that when we take seriously the teaching that everything on earth is in Oneness—within the one all-inclusive consciousness of the universe—we can come into the realm of this Oneness, and gradually cause our many difficulties to come into peaceful harmony.
In his book, Guide for the Perplexed, in the section on Divine Commandments, Maimonides explains a quote from the Torah:
“We must understand the passage, ‘If ye walk with me by chance’ (Vayikra/Leviticus 26:21); i.e. if I bring troubles upon you for punishment, and you consider them mere accidents, I will again send you some of these accidents as you call them, but of a more serious and troublesome character. This is expressed in the words: ‘If ye walk with me by chance, then I will walk with you also in the fury of chance’ (Vayikra/Leviticus 26:27-28). For the belief of the people that their troubles are mere accidents causes them to continue in their evil principles and their wrong actions, and prevents them from abandoning their evil ways.”
What Maimonides is asking us to realize is that NOTHING IS BY CHANCE! We’re not just physical human creatures who exist simply to survive. We’re conscious beings, and our consciousness is actually part of the consciousness of the universe. Maimonides is saying that we have to raise our understanding of who we really are, and what we really have within us that can strengthen us to overcome and survive any challenges we face.
Of course, such an understanding cannot come overnight. It has to be learned and practiced over and over again until it can be recognized in our daily lives. By studying with knowledgeable teachers, it can gradually become more apparent that there’s more to life than we can simply see with our eyes. Prayers and serious meditation can support this approach until we start to become amazed at this brilliant design of consciousness.
We’ve come to a time in the world when many more of us can take advantage of this enlightening process. While we keep it under wraps and don’t talk about it, we’re missing out on the wonder of life on this planet. Let’s take a lesson from Maimonides and begin to notice when things fall into place in ways we couldn’t have foreseen; then we’ll be able to realize that these coincidences don’t happen just by chance!
Supportive guidebooks by Myra Estelle: Awakening Love: A Spiritual Quest Into Judaism, and The Way The World Works: A Journey Toward Inner Peace.