In every moment, what is our highest aspiration?
Torah teaches us that our purpose is to reflect Hashem’s lovingkindness into the world, like the moon reflects the sun. The moon has no light of its own.
In this moment, do I seek to reflect Hashem’s lovingkindness and/or His Will as expressed in Torah into this world? How do I know that I am sincere in aggrandizing Hashem and not some unconscious or semi-conscious impulse that has hijacked my thinking and is deceiving me?
This is the topic of behira. It is a battlefront. We have one thing on the battlefront, and once that has been conquered, we move to the next deception.
How do we do battle with our deceptive thinking, our imagination that rationalizes and justifies and assures us that we are “doing the right thing” all the while not taking on the challenge in our impulse and thinking that IS the real task?
What questions can we ask ourselves to see who we are serving?
Perhaps these might help. Is all that I am feeling in a category having to do with my value or honor? Or in a category having to do with my lovability? Is either of these categories at the root of all the distress I feel?
Let’s say I am not in touch with either something having to do with my value or honor or something having to do with my lovability as being at the root of the emotional storm I may be experiencing. Try to say out loud the belief that is at the root. Write it down. Rabbi Nivin teaches in his Belief Notebook module that when we write it down, we often see the falsehood in it.
Keep saying the belief out loud in emotional language until the falsehood surfaces. Now ask again, Is all that I am feeling in a category having to do with my value or honor? Or in a category having to do with my lovability? Is either of these categories at the root of all the distress I feel?
What is the true belief according to Torah? Write that down. Rabbi Nivin teaches that reviewing our false beliefs with the true beliefs beneath them each day can raise our consciousness to them so that they don’t hijack our thinking automatically, giving us behira where we may not previously had behira.
But now what? We HAVE that false belief as part of our neurological system, in our brain. We don’t want to feel shame or blame because of it. Rather, we wish from that very neurological reaction to have the wherewithal to reveal Hashem’s lovingkindness instead of reacting naturally. From that same place in our mind, we can ask Hashem to purify us so that we may, instead, serve Him as a channel for lovingkindness, pulling back willingly our false belief out of love for Hashem and a yearning to be with Him by being with His Value.
He who comes to be purified will be helped..it is the admission, the recognition of falsehood, the desire to cleave, and the sincere prayer to be purified so that we may reflect Hashem in our speech and deeds which are the effort we make in relationship with Hashem that shifts us from involvement with natural responses to spiritual progress in fixing our middos and dayos. Success is up to Hashem, Who loves us and is waiting for us to make this choice and answer.
We can be the physical vessels through which Hashem is reflected into this world. If we choose it, deeply, on a plane of the real constant unconscious impulses of lack in value and love. We do not have to run after rectifications from sources in time and space who we think are responsible for our anguish. No. We own the challenge of returning the compassion with which Hashem forms our bodies and fuses our soul to the body back into kadosh service of Hashem, taking it out of the realm of tuma, impurity, that is natural and unrectified by our choice to make this effort. The entire world is filled with Hashem’s compassion. There is no other Power. Even when we are in the throws of a stormy situation, all the might is compassion that is from Hashem, albeit covered over. It is for us to remember that and cry out that we do not want that compassion trapped in this matter but rather we wish for that compassion to be given to us so that we may reflect it as lovingkindness into this world. We choose love of Hashem, which places us in the flow of Hashem’s lovingkindness, and that opens the door for Hashem’s lovingkindness to reach into the dark place where compassion is trapped and extricate it, unify it with our choice to reflect His Love, and return it to us. This is the avoda of shema Yisrael Hashem elokeinu Hashem echad.
Once we know with clarity that there is nothing but Hashem Whose utterances form physical entities including thoughts and all circumstances yet are filled with His Compassion awaiting us to strip off the shells covering it (because of the utterances), our opportunities abound.
The other day someone was so distressed and taking it out on me in a very mean spirited way, picking a fight, attacking me. I understood what to do. While the person was screaming at me over the phone, I began my prayer, Hashem, there is tremendous might coming across the phone from this person and in my reaction to being spoken to in such an upsetting way. I know that all of this is filled with Your Compassion and I wish for all the compassion in the mighty emotions to flow to You and be reunified with revealed lovingkindness and returned into my heart and the heart of this person so that there can be healing and light. All I want is You Hashem, I wish for Your compassion animating this to please be unified to you and revealed as such rather than covered over by all of this distortion. I kept this prayer going. Eventually the person said how remarkable it was that I stayed so calm and did not become hurtful or rejecting and how much that meant to the person, who then told me the dump was because someone had upset her. Now you may question whether I should have taken better care of myself and hung up or not allowed the dump. Me too. But that is not the point of why this story is being shared. Look what happened, something far beyond just a stormy interaction and a maneuvering to be self-protective, as important as that is. By recognizing an opportunity, something visible of Hashem’s lovingkindness made it into the other party’s experience.
Unfortunately, our inner dialogues often are as brutal as what I described above. We drill ourselves with condemnations, blaming ourselves and shaming ourselves until we feel even worse than whatever triggered us. We may have panic attacks, anxiety attacks, asthma attacks and more. There is a message we are telling ourselves that can be as cruel as the example and we can’t hang up the phone!
We can recognize the opportunity and unify our souls and refill our mind with Hashem’s lovingkindness and bring that to our hearts, speech and deeds.
Is the area of our distress coming from a lack of love or respect?
Once we spot how the designer of images has been able to fill us with visions of jealousy, desire and craving for honor from the inception point, that impulse of lack of love or respect, we can work our way back to Hashem. Love Hashem immediately pulls us back to kadosh.. And simultaneously, once we are connected to Hashem’s root attribute, we are reconnected to true value. All better!!
Had Adom loved Hashem more than wanting to show Hashem how much he loved Him, Adom would have chosen to remain with Hashem rather than eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But here we are and it is up to us to reach the level of Adom before the sin and then go on to loving Hashem so much we yearn only for Him and not for any aggrandizement of anything but Him.