Everyone struggles with myriads of feelings and challenges. Behind our feelings is a thought, and behind the thought can be an unconscious instinct or subconscious pattern that feel to us like a sensation. The sensation is a reaction to something built into our nature, and that generates a thought that comes to our mind. From that thought, our emotions flow, and from there our actions and speech.
Because we are unaware of what leads up to a thought coming into our mind, and sometimes we are unaware even of that thought but only of the emotions of anger or fear that thought may generate, it is important for us to comprehend our makeup so that we can build solid flooring and create for ourselves the ability to reach deeper in making meaningful choices regarding what we project into time and space.
We all know that sinking feeling in our stomach. It isn’t a thought. It is a sensation, and immediately our mind scans, what is wrong? What is the danger here or what is the disappointment?
For now, let’s go towards the sensation.
That sensation is coming from a part of our makeup that has a koach. We want all of our koach, all of our strength, to be used only to learn Torah, pray fervently, or do acts of kindness emulating Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy. This is the meaning of the Shema.
That sensation is a part of our soul that is coming through to us in a constricted form through the physical being, our body and its makeup. There is strength there. In the moment we experience it, our processing mind, our native intellect, begins scanning for what is posing the danger. But we have a real choice, and that choice is to activate emunah in Hashem and realize that we have the opportunity to clean off the foundations of the world, water, fire, wind and earth, by exercising emunah and clinging to Torah , avoda and chesed. Doing so communicates to Hashem our love for Him and our desire to fold the koach, the strength, that He sends to us through our body and submit that strength too to His Service. Our desire is for Torah to be the intellect that generates our emotions and speech and deeds.
The horn of a ram is used and the first step is to knock out the cartilage. Once the cartilage is removed the horn can be bent and molded into a practical shape. Then it is hardened with cold running water. Then its looks are improved by sanding it down and adding curves. To be blowable it needs a hole from end to end, all the way through. Then the shofar is polished. And then it is checked to see if it can be blown through.
The sensation that we experience is like the cartilage with one difference – the vitalizing experience will become the strength of what we are able to deliver into the world through free willed choice to properly train it in serving Hashem.
The most important thing to understand about all of this is the role of prayer. We cannot move ANYTHING of our nature without Hashem. Prayer forms the spiritual being that leads us in the path we want to go, and each time we express our yearning for the distressing energy to instead be directed to serving Hashem, we gain more consciousness and more free willed choice the next time we are faced with that same sensation. Hashem gives us spiritually what we ask for when we use our speech and free will in this way.
The body that we have can have a depth from the deepest place in the world and through working with speech and deeds, we can bring a channel for Hashem’s light to be seen in this world.
We choose who we are. It takes effort, but that effort, each time we use emunah, prayer and free will because we yearn to reflect Hashem, is part of cleaning off the foundations of the world and maintaining the creation in a positive way.