What is inborn in human nature is survival and an intellect able to create an image for itself. The more difficult our childhoods, the more complicated the tasks of life become because the image that we create for ourselves is often “violated” by circumstances. Why?
When we experience traumas, abuse, bad parenting, or other imprints on us at a young age, these become imprinted in our minds when our brains are still “wet cement.” As we grow up, concepts and understandings formed very early in life provide the platform for our interactions with others.
As the intellect and ego form, we decide what image we wish to project. Who are we? How do we believe we should be treated? How do we present ourselves? What are our goals and aspirations? All of these considerations compose the image that we choose to project. And when other people say or do things that contradict our image, we experience emotional pain and disappointment and become triggered to take an action to “restore” what we feel is lacking.
Getting to know ourselves helps us to look inside to see if what we are experiencing is a projection of the belief systems we developed early in life. If we are honest, it is imperative that we come to see that this is the case 100 percent of the time without fail. Our thinking alone is what causes us to feel lack and feel upset. The circumstances may need a solution, but our whirling emotions are coming from only one place – the projection of what it means that the image that I believe about myself has been violated by another or by circumstances. This is very good news because if I am causing my own misery, I can stop doing it!!! Rabbi Nivin has personal development chaburas that give tools to help.
With help from Hashem of course.
The whirling emotions are the experience of our tzelem elokim getting pulled toward a dark vortex built into the natural side of us that whispers in our human ear to believe and look to its logic and suggestions for our happiness – the question is will we cling to the competing inclination that Hashem has instilled in us by giving us free willed choice or will we cling to remembering that Hashem has glorified us with a tzelem elokim and that all glory is His and our role is to breathe that connection in and out, no matter how much our human nature wants to trap happiness in worldly matters. http://beyondanydoubts.com/2014/08/17/1538/
Once we begin to feel the lure of this dark vortex, it is important to immediately turn to the six constant mitzvahs to quickly swim back to the calm waters of kindness. When we Know there is Hashem and that there is No Other Power, and we feel drawn by a seemingly other power, namely our own human nature, it is effort that we must make in order to swim back to a place of knowing that Hashem is One. That is, in order to become a better vessel to reflect Hashem into the world, we have to make our physical existence more transparent, less solid!! We have to wipe off the beliefs that cause us to think that the image we project of ourselves is absolute truth. Absolute truth is that Hashem’s Glory fills the world. Our projection of our image is part of the way in which we are empowered to reflect Him in this world, but our true image is that of being tzelem elokim, made in Hashem’s Image.
Torah teaches us how to cling to Absolute Truth. When we understand how Hashem is all kindness and that everything is good, we can begin to breathe and begin the task of swimming away from the dark vortex that wants us to mistake anger, fear, hatred, violence, survival and destruction as spiritually satisfying so that it can pull us under never to be heard from again. Please see Tomer Devorah with Hisbodidus Cards
in order to find out what Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy are and how we can reflect them into this world. Why? Doing so is the only source of true happiness there is!
What Hashem desires from us is that we love Him, that we have a relationship with Him where we can have the awe to understand how to trust in His Divine Providence and thereby save ourselves from the vortex that is at the root of all human nature, and that we understand our functioning in the manner that He Designed, to create a nourishment for the universe every time we swim away from the vortex of the downward pulls back towards emulating His Attributes of Mercy. What we overcome with that effort is tremendous repair. Success is up to Hashem, but it is absolute truth that all He asks of us is to love Him, walk in His Ways and trust in Him.
How then do we comprehend the terrible tragedies we see in the world today, unspeakable inhumanity taking place at this very moment where women and children are being captured, raped, killed, beheaded, jailed, sold into slavery – totally losing the image and values that are unique to them. The vortex of human nature has no Torah in it. It is dark and it draws into it like a black hole whatever comes into the outer part of the whirlpool. The power of the vortex has as its ultimate Source the Creator of the world; however, being drawn into it is not a sign of spiritual effort. A sign of spiritual effort is the resistance we make to attempt to emulate Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy. When we have the faith to know that we are here to make that effort and to trust that He will do only good with us for having made sincere effort, we are able to maintain a sense of happiness even if, Heaven forbid, we lose our very lives. Rabbi Akiva is the epitome of the example of understanding that.
It is time for us to understand that the swirling emotions that we experience are resistable. When we stop pitting one against the other the inclinations, and instead we enroll the imagination of both inclinations to understand with all our heart and all our soul and all our might that all we want to do is reflect Hashem in this world, we rectify and make more transparent the illusion that there is any glory other than Hashem. All Glory is Hashem’s and He is All Good. Good in our eyes. In order to unmask that good, so that the good that is concealed in the appearance of tragic and horrifying and terrifying circumstances will prevail and the these tragic and terrible happenings will stop and instead there will be peace and well-being. Recognition that the choices of people like you and me in reflecting Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy into the world can help is crucial. If we want the world to be a better place, we have to be better people. To be better people, we have to emulate Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy. Reflecting mercy into the world brings us the pleasure of being the conduit of touching His perfection. We get to choose our eternal identity – are we going to unmask His glory by submitting our subjective image of who we are to the truth that we are made in His Image in order to bring Mercy to the world over the natural urges and ego-based desires? Or are we going to endlessly attempt to assert as absolute truth the subjective image that we have developed about ourselves based on the ideas formed in our minds when we were very young, one that inevitably will cause us to be drawn into the dark vortex of emptiness and falsehood?
The choice is ours. But first we have to know there is a choice, that life does not have to be lived clinging to that last rim of water above the vortex before we go under. We can ask Hashem to help us swim away from the vortex (we will need His Help) and away altogether from the whirlpool back to clarity, calmness, kindness and divine dignity.
Torah is the path. All its ways are peace. Passion is for Torah and prayer. When we make our self-image more transparent, we are able to reflect something far more divine into the world that then gives us a true image in this world and for all eternity. We are empowered to do great things in nurturing the world when we submit with all our heart to bringing out tzelem elokim as our true identity. We can step over the obstacles that try to draw us into the vortex by clinging to true identity and asking Hashem to help us. That effort is for a spirituality that will bring calmness, clarity, pleasure, and dignity.
Women interested in inspiration to understand the importance of trying to identify where we need to triumph tzelem elokim over our self-made image/ego desires and urges are invited to visit http://beyondanydoubts.com/elul/