I have always been a pretty passive person, just letting life come to me then deal with whatever comes; I am not completely passive, I see myself as a counter-puncher in a boxing match—life throws a punch and I must try to parry the punch or sometimes I get hit, I even go down for the count but I get up. One of the ways I have dealt with the opposition throughout my life is learning to live with less and be satisfied with the essentials. Since the majority of my work as a writer and scholar are accomplished in my head, I need very little.
Since turning seventy, three years ago, life has felt different; life is still a struggle but my energy is going up instead of down; my past life sort of faded away and a new one arose, instead. The Torah teaches, seventy years is a lifetime, more than seventy is being old and old goes until you die. This demarcation line allows one to look back at life from a place between life and death. In this respect, my life has taken a positive turn and keeps turning in that direction. I have come to understand, life is not about right and wrong but rather of meriting good.
One of the things about merit, there is merit in Heaven and merit on Earth, then there are those who merit both and those who merit neither. The tricky thing about merit is, one could use their merit in Heaven for merit on Earth, which can be a difficult reality when physical life ends and spiritual life begins. Anyways, a lot of good things have been happening to me and I am trying hard to merit the people I am meeting and the events happening. I am beginning to have a little following in LA, which is no small accomplishment.
I have become involved in a place downtown called Love Yoga Center and Live Food Cafe where I can read cards and get to know the people of this family of friends. They have been operating for ten years not far from skid row where they make time to feed the homeless. Though they have many practitioners and artists, they do not have an elder dispensing advice. For me, the necessity of being in a family of people where I can teach is essential to my well-being. At my age, every day is not just a blessing, but a miracle. A lifetime is seventy years and I am living even longer.
Life is not about how long you live but what you do during your life. As one gets towards the end, looking back on seven decades, life looks different. The precipice I have transversed over my life is frightening; looking back from this peek of years, I shudder the think but at the time, it was just life. Every now a again, the fog of my mind lifts and a clarity comes into view. Wow, what a strange life I have led. My life is not ending, my life is culminating.