Perhaps it is not out of love or awe of Hashem that those of us who have to search for a healthier natural identity work to be more comfortable in life, but when we have victories, the victories are signed with a pleasure of spiritual connection that validates the effort. After that, the work is for growing spiritual connection because the comfort and happinesses of time and space and ego, although still comfortable, no longer seem to be ends in themselves but rather outcomes of a Loving Gd Who gives freely to those striving to reflect His 13 Attributes of Mercy into the world.
What makes it hard work is that it seems like we are foregoing the basis of life itself, the “me”, the ego, the identity that we have known all our lives. When we change our relationship with our ego, it is not foregoing it. Rather, it is lovingly understanding its unrectified characteristics and helping to heal and soften and make joyous the interactions that previously present with anxiety, fear, anger, resentment, condemnation, intimidation or other negative experiences. When we submit ourselves, separate out our life force from the compelling image that we devise for ourselves, and reorganize all our energy to instead reflect Hashem’s Attributes of Mercy into the world, we come to meet the greater and finer and most pleasant part of us, our tzelem elokim connected to Hashem able to reflect Him into our actions and speech. The key to understanding how to recieve this pleasuer consistently involves subduing the imagination of the animalistic natural side of us that we have relied on since young to accomplish our goals. At first it seems undoable. But once we come to have experiential insight, the lower self works together with our choice to serve Hashem.
The fiercest opponents of the Jewish people are presenting themselves to us today. They are relentless and completely honest about their utter determination to destroy us and wipe us off the globe, nevermind out of Israel. Is there anyone who does not understand the determination, the will power, the dedication and organized effort, backed by rich sources, towards this goal?
Everything in the world is an expression of what is going on in the heavens. And with our free willed choices, we contribute influences to the manner that Hashem manages nature. Normal life has changed. Every day there is a barrage of missiles, sirens, injuries, and now some deaths, lo aleinu. How can we feel happy in the terms of worldly matters that we are comfortable with? Hashem has removed it. Heis shepherding us so that our natural desires for happiness will stumble upon the greatest treasure we have, serving Him. He wants us to find real happiness while we have free will. And real happiness is the determination, the will, the persistence, the emunah, and the trust, bitachon, that the swirling disappointments or ego victories that we are accustomed to and that have served us so well need to be upgraded to devekus, connection to His Attributes of Mercy no matter what. It does not mean we have been wrong. There is no value judgment for how things have been up until now. But in order to continue experiencing pleasure after the Moshiach comes when there will be no more free willed choice, we must come to use our free will NOW to make the choice to cling to middos harachamim.
We may have no idea how to do this. But we can still say to Hashem that we desire to triumph tzelem elokim over our natural urges, that we desire to become a person who is trying to reflect Torah and His Attributes into the world, in a real sense, even when we experience ego challenges and desires and negative reactions.
It is only people who are in the kelipas of taiva and gaiva who can unmask and reorganize through the soul’s power of emunah the energy, the Shechina, trapped in the mask of nature and connect it to nourish the universe through declaring Hashem Echad. When we ride the bumpy landscaping of our broken character traits with the emunah to release what glory is trapped there, when we yearn to draw in Hashem’s middos with a greater ability due to our effort, the system of light that we reflect grows and we come closer to Hashem by adding ability to reflect Hashem into the world. When we do this and experience the happiness of doing so, it becomes understandable as pleasure and reinforcing and we comprehend its truth. Until then, it may seem like a bunch of philosophy or theory. We are great beings, but we are greater than we know if we have not yet reached the experiential understanding of the pleasure of releasing the Shechina from the mask of nature in our animalistic makeup. If someone were dying of thirst and never heard of water and you told them about water and they drink it, they would be very grateful, right?
The experience of triumphing over the anxieties set in our brain when we were young brings relief and pleasure. If we get caught up in the meaning of what our negative characteristics are, if we identify with what happened, then we probably will remain trapped and in despair. To triumph requires Torah learning, prayer, emunah, bitachon, determination, will power, and experience. Hashem helps us. But if we believe that it is too hard or that we don’t have the power, if we think we are grasshoppers, or that the pleasure we have from having healthy ego and being successful in life does not compel us further, then we need to read Torah on the power of speech, on Adom being a being that can increase what he is, and on being a combination of soul and body designed to have the body serve the soul and Hashem. This service extends into the kelipas, where we are, for there is a strength in the peel, in the covering, that is our role to unmask and connect through Hashem Echad.
May we yearn to take a step into this journey and may that yearning be the effort to tip the scales so that we are deemed to be the generatiion meritorious for redemption.