May learning and insights from reading this be dedicated as an aliya for the neshamas of my parents Rota Devorah bat Gavriel Leib and Yisroel ben Shlomo
The only Being that gets everything He Wills is Hashem. When Hashem Wills something, it appears and is all good and all loving and all just.
When people want something, we may or may not receive it. When we do not, we feel very frustrated. Our neurology when we do not get what we want and feel frustrated is called a stress reaction. That is when we say “Thank You.” Why thank you?
Thank you means that we comprehend that we are a connected creation, connected to a Being that has deemed this moment of “no, not really good for you” and its resultant stress, as a needed test. Immediately upon saying thank you, we have stated our intention to remove obstructions that cover over our feeling of love for Hashem and for our constant yearning to just be with Hashem.
Where do the obstructions come from? Very often when we do not feel Hashem’s surrounding love and are not in touch with our constant yearning to just be with Hashem, our imagination shifts to building on an egoistic self-interest based on how we think we should appear in order to secure our happiness. Why do we turn towards clinging to an imagination that is self-interested rather than connected to Hashem? Deep in our unconscious mind, we suffer from the consequences of no longer being in Gan Eden where Hashem and His Love are apparent. We made a mistake. We lost consciousness of the Divine love and presence in our life, even though at all times it continues. Instead we develop coping mechanisms based on believing in our autonomous independent existence. listening to our natural survival instincts and experience whispering what powerful steps to take to reach our immediate objective.
“Thank you” reminds us that we can arouse in our hearts the same love we had when His Love was apparent, even though in a moment of stress we do not naturally feel that love for Hashem. Hardly. Yet that is what “Thank you” can do. It adds back into our consciousness the real perspective that we need to begin to help us recover from the stress and begin to feel calm and happy again, a true happiness that will help us have inner peace as well as eternal bliss. Inner peace comes from now regulating our behaviors according to Torah and Hashem’s 13 Attributes of Mercy. Eternal bliss is the experience of connecting to Hashem’s kindness for all eternity knowing that we did so during our lifetime, when we have free will.
Hashem, like a good parent, is interested in our success in building eternal life, one of bliss. He says “no” sometimes so that we remove our false beliefs about where happiness comes from. He says “no” sometimes to help us heal coping mechanisms developed to defend ourselves from labels and judgments put on us when we first experienced “no” as two year olds and wanted our parents’ love and approval. He says “no” sometimes so that we see how gratification of self-interest, although sensory-pleasurable, dissipates our spiritual potential from connecting to His Kindness that is for eternity to ephemeral accomplishments that do not last.
Hashem loves us and does not wish for us to fall into despair. Saying “thank you” is the rope with which we can pull ourselves out of the grips of despair. By resetting perspective to Hashem is One, and feeling love for Him, we realize how He has given us real free will to step momentarily out of our healthy or unhealthy egoistic self-interest or broken patterns, bond with our yearning to be with Him, and then return all our spiritual potential to our heart. In so doing, we “sacrifice” ourselves. That helps us develop our heart into a vessel that can reveal Hashem’s 13 attributes of mercy. That helps us comprehend what our mind and heart are built to do for us, for the world and for our eternity.
The obstructions over our consciousness of Hashem’s love for us and our yearning for Hashem are filled with forces that stem from the same forces that maintain the elements of the world, earth wind water and fire. Ultimately, by affecting the forces within through saying “thank you”, there is a positive influence that also comes into the world, affecting the elements of the world itself. We serve Hashem in our moments of stress, overcoming the forces of nature, out of love and yearning for Hashem, and bring inner peace as well as create positive influence throughout the creation.
The more we understand our uniqueness and what tempts us towards self-interest, the more we can step up to the plate and say “thank you” and really use our free will as we are created to do.
Rabbi Nivin (www.newchabura.com) has a belief notebook chabura where we write down our beliefs, see how they are false, write down the true belief, and re-orient our minds more quickly. This is the work we are here to do, temporarily for 120 years, to take the spiritual potential given to us and turn it into eternal life.
“Thank you” is a breath we can take to help us in every moment of stress and frustration. We lift ourselves from the grips of despair to a place of connection to Hashem where we perceive our mortal existence in proper perspective and purpose.
May we grow in wanting only Hashem in our hearts. May our efforts bring a new light to the world.