New Jersey Jewish News speaks to Jay Michaelson in advance of his talk at a local JCC:
Joy and sadness, like light and darkness, are part of a continuum, Jay Michaelson argues, and our culture’s obsessive focus on one or the other — in the feel-good teachings of pop psychology or the morbid predictions of doom-sayers — is misleading.
He makes that case in his new book, The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path (Ben Yehuda Press) and in his widely varied roles as teacher, commentator, and activist. Whether dealing with the loss of a loved one, the looming menace of global warming, or the battle for equality and justice, Michaelson insists people live fuller and more effective lives when they open themselves to both the positive and the negative.
“‘Faith sees best in the dark,’ remarked Kierkegaard in one of his sermons,” Michaelson writes in The Gate of Tears. “Ordinary sadness, everyday melancholy, the quiet, small pains of life, as well as the more profound losses that are part of human life, are the places in which the real spiritual work takes place.”
Michaelson will discuss this approach on Thursday evening, Feb. 25, at the Birnbaum JCC in Bridgewater.