One of the things learned from growing up by the ocean are terminologies and experiential understandings of the ocean waves. As an avid beach lover, our family would be at the shore all day into evening, high and low tides, rough and calm waters. We learned how to dive through the waves if a big one was coming so that we would not get tumbled by it. We learned how to catch a wave and get a ride to shore. We learned that when the lifeguards closed the beach it was because there was a dangerous undercurrent, a riptide, that people are not strong enough to break free from.
Understanding all the forces at play, it made sense to enjoy the waves but never to go so deep as to not be able to stand up again and touch ground.
The water and its currents are forces to deal with.
Chesed is often corresponded with water. When Hashem makes the world, there are the upper waters and the lower waters. And there is a firmament separating them. Water is chesed, and from water comes life.
Hashem sends us chesed through breathing a soul into us that is in a continual breath from Him. And Hashem in His Chesed to us gives us a body that He Creates. Into this body formed from the elements of the earth, Hashem breathes the soul.
The forces of the earth are under the control of the yetzer hara, whose goal every moment is to sweep us into the depths of the sea like a riptide carrying our chesed towards its natural uses. However, the purpose of the yetzer hara is to that we can learn to keep our feet on the earth and pass the test, so that we can bring a revelation of Hashem’s kindness and kingship into the world. Only by being alive are we able to experience the joy of being connected to Hashem and knowing the pleasure of doing so.
Each of us is a complete universe yet by recognizing the truth about our interconnectedness with Hashem, together we are able to reveal Hashem. And doing so brings to visibility His kindness and kingship, which is the purpose for which He creates the world.
So how do we do this?
When we are suffering, it is because our life force comes into our being and is immediately drawn into the riptide, with a feeling of heading to the deep dark bottom of the sea. We know where we are headed and we do not necessarily believe we can pull ourselves out. The waves are crashing all around us and our best thinking is telling us what we need to do to survive.
Meet the yetzer hara.
And answer it. Answer it with a breath and a cry. Hashem, I feel like I am being drawn against my will into the dark because of the natural reactions that I am experiencing …name each one, describe it, tell Hashem when it started in your earliest recollection, what its pattern has been, where it takes you, and your recognition that this is a natural response that you no longer believe is your essential self because you know that Hashem is all good and that He is with you and that He loves you and that you love Hashem for giving you life and this very moment to bring spiritual matter to the side of kadosh. Thank Hashem for giving us feelings, albeit fallen feelings, to now bring back to Him with a yearning to be with or like Hashem. Tell Hashem that even with the feeling that what we just asked for is not authentic, that with the convincing strength and disbelief associated with clinging to that whisper, we wish to fold that spiritual energy into being with or like Hashem right now and to please help us. Please take all the bitter feelings that are coming from thoughts and use their strength as a medicine for building our ability get our feet on the ground of kadosh and Torah so that we may be a vessel to properly serve Hashem and experience the delight of being involved with His kindness and kingship.
As we do this, the riptide of the yetzer hara that is otherwise storming the shores and sweeping us away begins to become a regular undercurrent, a softer and even a shallower force that we can see its limitations compared to the tremendous vastness of Hashem as our foundation instead. Our feet hit real foundation and the experience is inner joy and Simcha.
May these words be a comfort to anyone who is in the throws of challenge, to anyone whose life feels like it is being swept by currents beyond our control. It is not beyond Hashem’s control. He is stronger, eternally loving, and ready to help. Stop, breathe, cry out as a beloved child, describe, pray and ask for His Help in being connected to Him by being like and with His Kindness and revealing His Kingship.
Our feelings matter because they are created by Hashem and His Way of creating nature.
We matter because Hashem is creating us every moment from His Love for us and He only does good so therefore, despite how many negative message we may tell ourselves, we are essentially good, made in His Image, even if we need to grow in being able to express that inner essence.
Tell Hashem how you feel. It is okay to feel. He creates the yetzer hara. He does not expect us not to have one. He just wants us to tell Him about it and ask for His Help. Doing so reflects a proper understanding about the creative power of the gift of speech that Hashem gives us as well as the real free will He gives us. If we don’t get hung up on how uncomfortable we feel and judge ourselves and others because of that discomfort, then we can bring the medicine from its storage in the physical realm under the yetzer hara to the light of kadosh and revealing Hashem’s love and kingship.
Please send feedback in the comments section of this post as you try and have successes. It will be strengthening for everyone, IYH.