Let me offer you a small experiment/challenge for this upcoming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The purpose of this experiment is to see if it changes the way you experience your time in synagogue during this most important time of the year. Just this one year, perhaps even just for one service, try the following:
Try to become more of a participant and less of a critic. A participant immerses him or herself into the experience. A participant suspends the skepticism and tries to get the most out of the moment. Whereas a participant experiences, a critic examines. A critic studies the experience to determine its flaws and weaknesses. A critic compares and contrasts the moment they are currently in with other moments to determine which was better, more fulfilling and more meaningful.
There is a place for critics. They give us movie reviews on the radio and write reports on new restaurants for the newspapers. There is even a time for the critic in the life of the synagogue. Yet, in the midst of services perhaps might not be that time.
If you strive to be more of a participant during the High Holidays in synagogue you might even get more out of the time you are there. You might walk away inspired and transformed. On the other hand, maybe it won’t change anything for you. The only way to find out is to try. So give the experiment a chance and see what it does for you.