Parshat BamidbarNumbers 1:1 The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai…
God spoke to Moses “in the wilderness.” We can understand this to mean not that God and Moses were physically present in the wilderness, but that God used the wilderness itself to speak to Moses. We already know from Moses’ encounter with the burning bush that Moses was a very close observer of being-ness as he walked in the desert. This passage reinforces and extends the idea that insight is speaking to us from the very nature of the way things are.
Being in a wilderness is very different from being in a garden. To create a garden, we work to shape nature to our own goals – food, or flowers or shade or a grassy place to sit. In the wilderness, we abandon our human plans and give ourselves up to marveling at the awesomeness of creation. This passage teaches us that, rather than trying to shape our thoughts or emotions into some acceptable, pretty, and productive plan, we should simply pay close attention to the wild, spontaneous processes that move through our bodies and minds. Watching carefully and with loving acceptance, we may eventually discern the lessons that life is always teaching.
May we learn to be careful, quiet observers of the wild “is,” hearing in that wilderness whatever it is we need to learn.