Yesterday we meditated “May your name be holy,” as in, “… hallowed be thy name.”
We wondered about “holy.” What is holy?
Some said holy has to do with the attention. What is attended to becomes sacred. Also, what we pay attention to has a way of seeming to pay attention to us: we are included. Others pointed out that when we have an experience that counts as holy, it makes us not only well and whole, but overflowing, so that we want to speak about it or share the radiance in deeds. (Think Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo”). Some said that when a moment feels holy, it becomes special and leaps into distinction from the norm, or renders the normal abnormal.
The name, as we have seen in earlier weeks, is not “Father,” which starts this prayer. Nor is it LORD. LORD just stands in for the real name, YHWH, letters never pronounced in Hebrew but that appear 8,000 times in the Old Testament and that actually mean “Be” or “To Be” -- right in line with the divinity’s self-definition as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14) and Jesus’s many I AM statements in the Gospel of John.
Steiner pointed out that we can never hear the word I, used by someone else, to designate ourselves. We might be a he or a she or a xe or a they or a you, but we can never be I for someone else, and we ourselves never designate someone else as I.
Except in this case.
If we were to say and mean the name of the divinity, which is I AM, we would find ourselves saying I both of that universal being and this local being as a single being.
Next week, that will be our central focus: to pronounce the unpronounceable name -- not out loud, and not in any language of words, but to mean it in our hearts.