In Jewish liturgy and writings, there are many names for God, several of which are considered too holy to say at all and some that are confined only to prayer. However, the name for the divine from the Jewish tradition that most inspires me is not one of those. It is the word Hamakom, translated as “the space” or “the place.”
What does this mean? For a religion that does not confine God to a physical form (the second commandment prohibits Jews from making a graven image of the lord), what does it mean that one name for the divine seems to tie god to a physical location? This is a name that’s seems to limit God.
But that translation is too literal in nature- for descriptions of God, in the Jewish tradition at least, are always metaphoric. What does it mean for God to be “the space”?
For me, this meaning is found in stillness- the stillness one encounters in prayer or meditation. It is the mental and heart space that is both entirely present and eternal at the same time. To be still so that one can hear the voice of the divine (or universe or whatever spiritual tradition in which you find yourself), is to tap into a power and energy that is contained within you and all around you in the universe.
The word, Hamakom comes from the Jewish tradition, but its meaning extends beyond the confines of the Jewish faith, or really any religion at all. Hamakom is about being present. It is about finding the space in yourself in which you can be one with something larger. It is spaciousness of spirit and mind.
How can we bring this space into our lives? For some the access road is prayer or meditation. For others it is exercise or quiet walks in nature and for others still it may be a generative space of creativity- music, dance or art. The key is that Hamakom can be found in each of us but is not contained solely within us. The access point must begin in the present moment but it simultaneously extends to the eternal. The point of entry is in the individual- the point of enlightenment is in connection.
Where do you find hamakom? How can you bring that space into your life?