This poem is part of an article on Humanistic Jews and Mussar that will be published in the Summer 2023 issue of Humanistic Judaism magazine.
Mussar and Humanism on a Walk
By J. Bruce Hillenberg, Ph.D.
There is splendor and gratitude everywhere.
There and there and every way I look.
I pay attention with silence and patience.
I walk softly to honor the earth below and the skies above.
A relaxing feeling ensues as I appreciate the generosity of nature.
This confirms that I must reciprocate the favor in small and meaningful ways.
I stroll and acknowledge with humility that nature and our community are one.
My pace picks up a bit—oh, that is what the masters mean by enthusiasm.
Then I realize my mind has been quiet—a lesson on equanimity.
And the forest around seems so, so organized—the softness of order.
Then a leaf presents itself—colors ablaze—the power of simplicity.
Finally, I rest for a moment by a tree, gently leaning on the trunk—ah, moderation!
Yikes, on a simple path through the forest I recognize what compassion and goodness feels like.
I silently stroll on.