Yom Kippur (YK) is known as “The Day of Atonement,” although one can “atone” on any day of the year.

Some, emphasizing God as “The One” and only Reality, have read the title as “At-One-Ment” — the day on which we “re-unite” (as it were) with the One from Whom we have only been separated in our own finite, mistaken consciousness.

YK is marked by fasting for 25 hours (from sundown on one day until after sundown on the next), confession and prayers asking Divine forgiveness.

Yet, YK is really focused on the future, despite confessing sins we’ve already done.

YK always follows RH — the day on which we acknowledge in our hearts the “Kingship” of God. “Kingship” is part of the personal aspect of God.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi writes regarding the “personal” aspect of God:

“…on the highest level of evolution is He whose power, joyfulness, intelligence and energy are unlimited. All-knowing is He, all-powerful is He, all-blissful is He, almighty is He who dwells on the highest level of evolution.”

(The Science of Being…, p. 277)

This could be said to encapsulate the affirmations we’re meant to internalize on RH.

In this knowledge, most fully achieved when the mind transcends thought, we can become aware of our shortcomings.

Yom Kippur, then, can represent that awakened awareness in which we recognize all we’ve been doing and thinking that has obscured to us the Truth of our bliss-filled existence in God (so present in our minds on RH).

YK isn’t a day of regretting the past (although there’s an element of that).

Rather, it’s a day of purification and self-examination in order to cooperate more fully in the future with our own evolution.

Maharishi taught us that our evolution includes increasing right-action.

Perhaps we could say that YK is the day on which we examine whether we’ve been “taking it as it comes” and, if not, how we might better do so in the coming year — like learning to float means learning to do less needless effort and instead, “allowing” ourselves more to be supported on the water — whose only desire is to hold us up.

As Rav Kook taught us:

“We do not need to rebuke our past, or punish ourselves for it, we have only to transcend it, to live a better life in the present and aspire to an even better one in the future. When we permit repentance to bite too deeply into our soul, we are simply inviting moroseness and unhappiness in the name of atonement. We are, in reality, making atonement more distant by making ourselves miserable. Man attains the height of his [her] own perfection through joy.” 

(Kook, Rabbi Abraham Isaac; Abraham Isaac Kook; Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser, trans.; Paulist Press; p. 212-3)