One of the benefits of emunah is that we really come to trust that our survival is in Hashem’s hands and that the job description of life is a spiritual one that we can choose in every moment.
The sensory reality of our traumas and challenges form the ability for us to experience our survival instincts as if it is up to us. Surely even the most proficient of us know this to be inherently false, although the more systems and information we have the more we feel as though we are doing our full adult responsibility and everything we can as far as we can go.
But we are not in control nor do we live forever.
Our survival is simply NOT in our hands and all the circumstances, characteristics, emotions, thoughts and responses that we go through our entire lives provide us with the opportunity to begin doing the work of life as Hashem intends it – that upon the wings of love and awe of Hashem, we use free will to draw His Mercy into our hearts, calming our physical nature and radiating outward into our speech and deed. We are doorways for mercy and love. What gets in the way? The apparent existence of “I” with the responsibility of survival in my own hands. And everyone feels this way. Insurance, security systems, air bags, organic food….everything is to take care of our health and wellbeing to the degree that we can! No one argues with this as wise.
The problem is that our instinct to survive is so strong more gets put into that category. And if we had trauma in our background, or abuse, everything triggers our reaction as if our survival is at stake. Not only that, all the thousands of years of persecution of our people made sure that our parents and grandparent and great grandparents all had coping mechanisms to manage their survival…..handed down coping mechanism upon anxiety upon post traumatic stress disorder to us. Built in to the conduct role modeled for us are all the generations of evolving wisdom on how to make it in a world of adversity.
And now it is our generation, with bus bombs, terror tunnels, nuclear threat, senseless killings, hatred, and more. What more coping mechanism could we possibly add? What intellectual understanding can we bring that will assure survival?
Survival is not in our hands. Emunah IS in our hands. For those who just choked, kindly stay with me…no dismissing emunah please!
The survival instinct has no use for emunah whatsoever. It wants to protect us using the methods of the world we see.
The survival instinct’s methods in the world we see though simply can only go so far. And if we rely on these and close out emunah, we are actually closing out the ability of mercy and real survival to come through us. We are not here alone. We do not have autonomous independent existence. Our lifetime is to serve as a doorway through which Hashem’s mercy can be seen in this world. We have real free will. It is real. We can choose or not to have awe in how Hashem has created the world, with each one of us thinking that the drama of our lives that compels us to direct our life force for our own happiness and survival based on the externalities of the world we see OR we can sum up all of our experience and have insight that we can actually open a door for Hashem’s mercy to come into this world through offering our subjective self in personal prayer to Hashem beseeching Him to please accept our hearts as a vessel through which His Mercy would shine instead.
As soon as our bodies calm down, we realize we brought something from our higher soul into our body. The more we do this, the more light.
We transform the darkness of the world through our free willed choice to submit our “I” as an offering to Hashem in prayer, an offering to be a heart through which Mercy can be seen instead of our brokenness. We invite Mercy into our lives by realizing the truth – we can attach our survival to the Source of survival . Our instinct to survive then becomes sweetened with mercy and our connection to Hashem strong with the very nature that before torments us.
May we choose to offer our hearts as doorways of mercy recognizing the futility of pursuing anything that would otherwise continue to rationalize bringing damages into the world on the basis of it being necessary for survival. No damages are necessary for our survival. Torah, prayer, and emulating Mercy are the functions we can fulfill every second through free willed choice and our survival is up to the Source. There are no guarantees But every second we can strive to choose truth over confusion of mind, a little more today than yesterday