Giving Birth to The Beloved

Elul 25

The new year is just days away, practically crowning like a nearly newborn baby.

Labor pains are increasing, and we're looking forward to the Rosh Hashanah post partum endorphin rush. 

Elul is intended to be a time of thorough, rigorous, demanding spiritual reflection. It is said that the Hebrew letters E-L-U-L refer to the phrase "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li," often recited at weddings and inscribed on jewelry. It translates as "I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.

From an Elul perspective, what do the letters E-L-U-L really stand for? And how is it reflected in our spiritual practice?  Perhaps it's about loving ourselves as the beloved.  Self love is a phrase that gets tossed around in a self-helpy way, so much so that it almost has negative connotations. 

Arrogance is not self love. What I am talking about is extending lovingkindness to and cultivating compassion for ourselves.  In doing so, one often experiences feelings of inner calm, centeredness, freedom and egolessness. 

Elul is an invitation to some internal housecleaning, to clear out anything inside of us that stands in the way. I think this might be what Buddhists mean when they talk about non-attachment.