Hatred is not spirituality. Hate hatred, not people. Blame our distance from experiencing the love and kindness we all long for on not pursuing the relationship with the Creator that He desires to have with us. Happiness lies in the pursuit of emulating the One who glorifies us with a tzelem elokim. It is a mistake to blame other people for our unhappiness even if their actions trigger the thought that generates our pain. It is the thought and not the person triggering the reaction that has to be dealt with. The thought is usually coming from something formed in us from a very young age that Hashem implanted there for us to be challenged with, to give us something to fix in our character. The thought and the reactions are NOT our identity. Our effort to do the work of the fixing becomes the basis for our eternal identity.
Every man is made in the image of the Creator. That means YOU. Reflecting His Goodness towards our fellow man indicates to the Creator that we love Him. Choosing to do so over the natural urges becomes our true identity for eternity.
There is plenty of darkness in the world. The good in each of us is very covered over in order to give us a choice in who we think we are. Are we able to nurture and nourish and reflect His Love into the world when we are faced with an insult or do we partially believe the insult? We can only nourish the universe with our choice to reflect tzelem elokim into the world if we are open to recognizing the truth that it is our thought and not another person that causes us to feel unhappy. The good news is that when we do recognize that it is our thought and not another, we are empowered to conduct ourselves in a way that can bring happiness. Isn’t it wonderful to realize that we are not our unhappy thoughts? Isn’t it great to realize that we are empowered to nourish the universe simply by choosing to emulate Hashem in the moment over the natural urges?
Yet blame and shame are powerful shaping tools that trigger the human reactions of anger and fear. We are so far away from experiencing the love of the Creator that our happiness has become kidnapped by worldly matters and therefore we are vulnerable to becoming dominated by those who blame and shame us, causing us to feel disempowered. Because we are human and all have to struggle with inherent doubts because of Hashem’s concealment in this world, it is important to be very careful not to shame or blame anyone, because the disempowerment to the natural reaction of being blamed or shamed is truly a stumbling block for anyone who has not built strong spiritual connection through a loving relationship with Hashem. That is truly all of us, unless we are tzaddikim.
The happiness of relating to Hashem helps us to recognize that the thoughts generated by blame and shame from others is not a path to follow. What is satisfying lies in recognizing the inherent unhappiness in pursuing the natural emotions generated by blame and shame. Instead, turn toward relating to Hashem and reflecting His Attributes of Mercy. Doing so puts the crown on His Head, releases the fire of the anger or fear and returns that passion to Torah, tefilla and emulating Hashem, for He is the Only Glory. He glorifies us so that we can make porous our egos and push with emunah to rectify something within the landscaping of our naturally developed intellect and ego that needs to be uplifted, and in the process help us develop the humility to reflect more of Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy.
We love life because while we have life, we can experience the happiness of reflecting Hashem’s good into the world. That happiness must be sought after like riches. No money, no oil, no ego victory, no domination, no political success, no lustful fulfillments – nothing – compares to the happiness that a person’s soul experiences when it is reflecting the Attributes of Hashem into time and space through our actions and deeds. No terrorist can chop off that happiness. Rabbi Akiva, whose name comes from aikev, heel, became the greatest Rabbi and his life ended with Hashem Echad and ecstacy despite his being burnt at the stake and his flesh sold in the streets. No one can kill that potential for ecstacy. Hashem is with every one of us and is waiting for us to seek out that pleasure, real pleasure, the joy of being in a loving relationship with the Creator.
Threats, disapproval, blame, accusations, hate, feuding, violence – it is all symptomatic of not truly comprehending where happiness lies. People want to experience the love and kindness and benefit that the Creator is sending – and only people are the delivery system for that.
When it comes to ourselves, we must recognize that it is our thoughts that cause us to feel unhappy, even if the thoughts are a reaction to a trigger by another person. If someone triggers us, it is an opportunity to relate with Hashem and rise above our firey reactions with emunah and prayer to find a solution consistent with Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy.
When it comes to others, we must recognize that our words and deeds might trigger negative reactions and therefore do what we can to be compassionate and prevent misunderstandings as much as we can. Towards others, we find only what we can learn from them and how we can benefit them.
Spirituality is far from devotion to the ego-goals of hatred and violence and domination. Ego goals require one to be up and the other down. Obviously this is not spirituality but a contest of images.
Spirituality is understanding that our physical presence in time and space is to reflect Hashem’s lovingkindness and mercy into the dark OVER our image and natural reactions so that He can be seen through our understanding actions and compassionate speech.
May we all see that with the free willed choice Hashem gives us, we can choose to push forward with emunah to build a world where we draw upon the glorification given to us, tzelem elokim, to reflect His mercy into the world. Doing so creates order and unity within nature, each one of us nullifying an instinct of separation unique to our individual personality.
And may we soon see a new light and peace in the world.