On a mission trip to Haiti I was told that Haitian slaves sold their souls to the Devil in 1791 to overthrow their French masters, and they continue to suffer because of that. Is this true?
Rabbi Rami: When we imagine that the only way black slaves can overthrow white slavers is by aligning themselves with the Devil, we are saying that freedom is satanic. When we say that Haiti suffers because of Satan rather than colonialism, corporate greed, and political corruption, we are saying that justice is satanic. Helping Haiti is good, demonizing Haitians while doing so is devilish.
I’m a long-time meditator, yet I’m no closer to enlightenment now than when I started. What practice will bring me enlightenment?
None. Enlightenment is the realization that each moment is an expression of eternity, and every being is a manifesting of the One Being the way every wave is a manifesting of the singular ocean. When you truly know this, enlightenment is irrelevant, and you will simply do justly, act kindly, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8) because there is nothing else you can do. Practice being enlightened rather than g …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
To comment on this installment of One For the Road or submit a question, email the editors. Questions may be edited for length and clarity; all are published anonymously.