Today in our group discussion, two women were sharing how the work of preparing for Pesach is exhausting and how the great majority of the work was falling upon their shoulders despite the presence of able-bodied teens and others who could be far more helpful than they are motivated to be.
Both women noticed the immediate natural response to go to blaming and that was the topic of discussion.
With a desire to not be damaging but rather to serve Hashem, here are the steps visualized in order to really clean our chometz! And to ask for whatever help is available in a way that gives Hashem nachas.
- The presence of unmotivated able bodied people stimulates a desire for help that is not forthcoming, and that brings to mind a strong force to try and elicit help, to control, to feel “martyred”, and to blame….notice that the focus of the animating force within is the “me”. Said another way, the true self, our awareness/consciousness, is being diverted to self-conscious needs and lacks. While these lacks are real and true, the downward pull is not the lack itself but rather the tendency of the force to swirl around the people who are not providing assistance as the cause of the matter. In whatever way help is to come, if at all, the realization is that the help we want be “clean” of damaging requests. Step 1 is to realize that Hashem is the cause of these people not being helpful and that the matter is from Him in order to elicit something from us!
- Step 2, after realizing that it is Hashem Who is causing us the lacks we feel, is to cry out to Hashem and describe the lacks and the movement of our life force towards clinging to blame, control or other destructive instincts and to tell Hashem that we do not want our life force to flow into damage and natural responses. Rather, we want our life force that is, in this moment disconnected from remembering that Hashem is One and all good, to be reconnected. We tell Hashem that we choose to be connected to Him, that we want the force of what we feel to reveal His Goodness and not the imagery that our natural thinking leads us to, to blame, to shame, to destructive talking, which we are 100 percent sure will not work in any event.
- Step 3 is to feel the force within what we are experiencing. Feel it as a force in our inner world and realize that we have real free will to direct that force not only back to connection to Hashem, but also to “dedicate” it for a specific purpose. Just like when we write a tzedakah check and we add a name for refuah shelama or leui nishmas, we have the opportunity to take the force within the negativity that we feel and tell Hashem that we wish it to be used to create bracha and healing for so and so that they may be able to have a breakthrough in whatever they need in order to see that they could be more contributive. In this way, we are literally giving our life force as a bracha to another, praying for them, and re-connecting to Hashem Who wants the same thing for the other but Who truly wants us to benefit by being the one to “direct the hose” of our life force for this purpose.
What we did was several examples pre-emptively of what could come up with different people so that we “inoculated” ourselves with a visualization of this thinking so that it will be nearer to heart the next time we are triggered…which we know will happen given the mix of things.
I hope this summary of the day is helpful. It is of paramount importance to understand what our life force is, and what it is for, and how we can “circumcise our hearts” of our self-conscious emotions and re-direct amazing force as bracha. There is no other Power. We are a manifestation of Hashem’s Divine creative energy and we do not have separate existence. When we long for Hashem in this way, we peel back our self-consciousness and are capable of revealing His Love, the basic root component of all the forces in the world. Once we emulate Him, that loving force has impact in the world in ways beyond the present moment’s circumstances.
This is the important thing for us to comprehend.
This is how we change the world. In our hearts. In our homes. In our communities. Through our prayers. Our heart-felt intent is invisible to anyone’s eye other than Hashem’s all knowing eye. But our subsequent actions are felt deeply as lovingkind, accepting, and educating.
Imagine being able to answer a teen complaining about a lack of your attention that you understand their feeling but could they please ask in a way that does not sound blaming, because that puts you into the grips of a negative response that is hard to deal with. Explain it would be less complicated for me if you could just ask for what you need and express the level of urgency you feel through a scale of one to ten.
May we all recognize how the life force within us is complicated by our subjectivity and be inspired by that reality to re-dedicate our life force through connection to Hashem into brachas, healing and revealed lovingkindness, and may the force released from that effort bring a new light to the world as a blessing for all.