The Whole Megillah…
Learning from Purim and Mindfulness
Have you ever been in a situation where you were afraid to reveal who you really were?
Have you ever felt as if you were wearing a mask and dressed like someone else?
Do we become the masks we wear?
The story of Purim tells us of yet another rescue of the Jewish people but in a most unusual setting where people are dressed in costumes and masks so as to be disguised, where things are not what they really seem to be. Purim is about a masquerade. And today we continue to retell the story by dressing up and going to synagogue carnivals to read the Megillah, shake gragers and stomp our feet, play games, win prizes and participate in loud and fun entertainment! Jews know how to party!
“Happiness breaks boundaries,” so our sages tell us. Often, when we are really happy, we loosen up and may do things out of our comfort zone, breaking down barriers that separate us from our everyday life. We all love to be part of the party in the moment, but imagine if our joy was not just an occasional external behavior but rather a happiness that removes our mask and party clothes and allows us spiritual growth, lasting contentment and an authentic state-of-well-being.
Mindfulness is defined by researchers as “the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment.” If one were to engage in a Mindfulness Practice, you would become aware of breathing techniques, realization of your present attention, body awareness, self-awareness and regulation of emotions. These techniques help to cultivate authenticity, clear thinking, lower your blood pressure, improve the immune and brain system and minimize pain sensitivity. Not a bad way to live with purpose and meaning!
Raised in a society where we want approval for our actions, we learn at an early age what will get us positive reinforcement by accomplishing certain tasks, achieving noticeable goals, appearing in public with well-bred manners, going to the best schools, knowing the right people. But how often do we create a false-self in order to present the person others want us to be? Do masks/facades appear? Do we send mixed messages in our intrapersonal relationships, in our work place, to our children? When looking in the mirror, is there ever a sudden realization of “Who am I really and what do I really want?” Do we become the mask we wear?
Through a Mindfulness practice, one can become aware of the places where we get stuck that prevent us from moving forward and seeing what negative patterns of behavior we have, while retraining the brain to think positive and forward, to live in the moment with no judgment and forgiveness and to find ways to be one’s true authentic self.
The celebration of Purim reminds us to look behind the mask and discover the real person. Mindfulness can only enhance our daily lives to help make us our true self for long-term health, happiness and well-being. Try it!
Your authentic self can liberate you…
As a Baby Boomer Bubbe who still feels 18 but has four grand kids to prove this is the 21 Century, Sandra writes to leave a legacy for the next generations. Her belief that these precious kids need to know their cultural and family’s past in order for them to live their future is all the muse she needs!
She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Cross Cultural studies, has written a family history, personal memoir and is completing her first novel.
Her grandmother’s journey to America and life is her source for her deep belief and love for Judaism.