Often throughout the day we are faced with moments where we kjnow what the right thing is to do or say but instead we follow a pattern that seems to just take over instead. We feel like victims to ourselves. Getting to the root of how in the moment to know what is the thing we want to do and using real free will to overcome the compelling habits, patterns, emotions, and mistaken ingrained beliefs is important in order to reveal who we really are over the natural urges.
The guiding intellectual principle is that we are beings of light in a body that covers it.
The blocking principle is that all of our heartfelt intellect is from the experience of exploring and being in a world of time and space based on our perceptions and cause and effect understandings.
The being of light that gives us life for 120 years has no body of its own.
We have real free will to choose if the body will be operated by what the inner being knows or by what the heart feels.
The goal is to use free will and prayer so that our heart comes to feel what the being of light wishes to express because the being of light is in constant connection with Hashem Who is all love. When in our heart we unblock whatever is keeping out the ability for the love and compassion of Hashem Who is King to flow through to our emotions, our speech and deeds make it possible for that compassion to have a positive impact on the world in the obvious ways as well as far reaching ways.
How can we change our hearts? How can we ever change the way we feel?
Daily verbal introspection, where we speak out loud about our struggles in Hashem’s presence, describing it in detail and beseeching Him to please lead us in the path we want to go, which is the way we understand the Torah principle or attribute of mercy that our soul wishes to express over the natural urges, is the process.
Pre-requisites to verbal introspection are:
- we have to at least intellectually understand that we are souls in a body and that our soul is eternal and that our life is to acquire eternity through the performance of Torah and mitzvahs
- We have to know that all there is in the world is Hashem and that He is the only being that actually lives and that we are woven into that reality even though we have limited intelligence and mortal lives
- We have to understand the real free will that Hashem gives us
- We have to understand the creative power of speech is formative of influence that helps us…our words form something that is there for us to lead us in the way we choose to go, hopefully towards being a being of light
- We have to understand how much Hashem loves us and understands our confusion of mind – He creates us so that we encounter these challenges so that we can shine light into the world. He believes in us and He loves us totally no matter what.
It is therefore important to see how deeply this struggle goes. What is the first thing that happens when we make a mistake? We confess and regret it. Lets go deeper. If we confess it and regret it and ask Hashem to forgive us and we have a plan for the future fine. But what if we beat ourselves up for days? What if in our inner dialogue we call ourselves names, treat ourselves poorly, becoming distracted and intimidated by our own internal messages to ourselves?
Why would we do that? Why would we give messages to ourselves that cause us to not be able to function, to feel badly about ourselves?
What is happening is that the patterns of cause and effect that were learned in early life and that are imprinted on our heart’s memory are urging us to believe their truth over the truth that we are beings of light who have real free will to choose our response and with emunah that we are following Hashem’s design for when we make mistakes, do teshuva and move forward. There is something we don’t trust….either that it is enough to restore what in the world we see we feel we want, or that we will be forgiven by others or by Hashe, or that we are deserving of any kind of love or closeness, from others or from Hashem.
The real encounter to which Torah and mitzvahs is being asked to be brought now is to this subconscious inner dialogue. “I know what the right thing is to do but I feel compelled to do this anyway and I don’t know how to choose out of it. I must be a weakling, a bad person, etc.” and we beat ourselves up thinking that will get us to stop the heartfelt learned urges. It never will. Why? Because we are created to encounter the part of our soul that is trapped in the physicality of that response, the cognitive energy itself, and return it to Its Source through clinging to truth, to Hashem’s compassion, to His middos of tolerating insult, overlooking faults, bearing the burden of confusion of mind, forgiving, casting sins into the sea . In that moment, we are able to arouse love in our heart for Hashem knowing that our real function is not the apparent circumstance over which we are berating ourselves, but rather the encounter with our soul to return what is whirlpooled in our body oriented experience to its Source, out of love and awe for how He has created the world and with emunah that this IS the proper use of free will and speech that help us acquire during our limited mortal lives an existence for eternity where we will feel the joy of connection with Hashem.
When we are frustrated with ourselves and see we don’t listen to our better judgment and fall prey to our bad habits over and over again, and we beat ourselves up, what chance is there that we won’t do that to others? How would we ever think that another person who has caused us distress would regret it and change to do mitzvahs simply because we point something out? We all know that is not what happens, that it just becomes a fist fight of words and who is right and who is wrong with emotions flying. And nothing changes.
There is a well known phrase that says if you want the world to be a better place, be a better person.
Believe in our inner being as a soul that is made in Hashem’s image NO MATTER WHAT. No matter what we have been through. No matter how ensconsed in a destructive pattern we have been. The Torah tells us we are beings of light because there is no life other than Hashem. He is the only thing that is alive and He gives us this existence.
When we experience negative self talk, speak out loud to it and say something like “Is that going to bring me wellbeing? Will that give me self-respect or the experience of love and closeness with others? As our internal negative voice becomes more externalized from our heart, cry out to Hashem that we wish to return this lost object of our soul to His Service. Place a true Torah thought, such as the shema, a simple statement that Hashem is King and we wish to unify and sanctify His Name, Hashem’s attributes of mercy in our mind. In that moment, we wish to receive that compassion and truth upon the place our imagination has become trapped by a false negative pattern. Believe that our emunah connects us to Him and we are opening to receive His compassion that will reabsorb what is trapped. Further ask that our imagination be attached only to His Truth so that we may bring that in to our speech and deeds. Infuse it, imprint it in our hearts, because we love You Hashem and wish to be part of making it possible for Your Mercy to be revealed in this world.
Each time we see that we can appeal to the light within us by connecting to Hashem, our understanding of what it means to be alive and how we function to bring light into the darkness will grow. From there, when we have an interaction with another person who we feel has wronged us or needs rebuke, will we not more likely see them as beings of light and appeal to that part of them? Instead of resorting to the default natural urge of verbal fist fights, imagine appealing to the light in them.
I know you to be a person who cares deeply. May I tell you something? Or,
I know you would never do something on purpose to upset anyone, so I am afraid to tell you something out of fear of hurting your feelings when I know it is my own shortcoming that is causing me to be upset a little, but I also know that you would want to know and make a correction on something if you could that would really help me out.
Imagine if we spoke to ourselves that way in verbal introspection, appealing to our hearts to forgo patterns that are damaging? Would we have more strength and confidence to choose truth over our own destructive powers?
How about we all try. What is the worst that could happen…..love and peace?