If we can understand how having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil confuses us, would that understanding help us in the moment? That is the goal of this post, to describe our confusion and to then have the emunah to push forward with choices to be like or with Hashem rather than enact confusion of mind.
It is important to remember the two emotions that our higher soul experiences at all times. The first is love for Hashem knowing that Hashem’s loving presence fills all the worlds, that He is the root source of all kindness and the soul of creation. The second is awe for Hashem, that He can think of something and it comes into existence. His thoughts are not like our thoughts. Yet His thoughts produce our thoughts, meaning that He fills our thoughts with His lovingkindness, even when our thoughts do not feel lovingkind.
Why do we have painful thinking? Our higher soul knows that although we can be like Hashem or with Hashem in doing His Will, we can never ever be Hashem. We can make all the effort we want, but outcomes are Hashem’s realm. Our souls know this, and it is a source of lack that is a constant stimulation for jealousy of Hashem. This jealousy and yearning to be a creator like Hashem Himself is what motivated Adom and Chava to ingest from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Although Hashem planned it this way, so that we would have real free will and be able to polish away the confusion of mind to reveal the love and kingship of Hashem, the battle is very real.
In our unconscious, the lack of being Hashem is a real lack we feel. Because of this, our natural thinking, which is rooted in the yetzer hara and self-consciousness, is constantly reading the “cause” of our distress as coming from the various people and circumstances in our lives. Imagine if we understood that the cause of the pain is our inability to accept that we are only able to be like or with Hashem, never a Creator equal to Hashem where our wants and thinking come immediately into existence, even if we do “everything right.” What happens when we become frustrated for not getting what we want? Do we look to blame someone? Do we say something hurtful? Do we experience despair? These tendencies reveal that what has happened is that the whisper of the yetzer hara “explaining” our unconscious feeling of lacking the ability to be Hashem has taken us into darkness, farther away from being with or like Hashem. The more difficult our childhoods were, when we were vulnerable and dependent, and the more neglect or abuse we experienced, the more difficult this is because it is complicated by added layers of concealment beyond the ways Hashem naturally hides.
Thus, if we can accept the reality, that we are created beings Hashem designs to be like Hashem revealing His love and kingship, or with Hashem performing His Will obeying His Torah and revealing His Kingship, we have an answer to what pains us, if we can get the concealments placed over us out of the way as well.
The answer is first of all that what pains us is a message from the yetzer hara trying to capitalize on the reality of our lacking the ability to be a Creator like Hashem. The yetzer hara’s role is evil, to bring us to the darkness, to suckle off of our life force, and then accuse us and take our life. However, the yetzer hara’s purpose is for us to pass the test, and instead of following it’s despairing messages into darkness and spiritual death, we can recognize the opportunity to devote the lovingkindness hidden within everything, including the hurtful thoughts we might be having, to revealing Hashem’s lovingkindness and kingship.
How can we do this? Firstly, we must know that we are made in His Image and that our self is our G-dconscious self. Our ego is not our essential self, but ego is rather filled with a pure chesed and a gevura that is hidden in the imagination of self-conscious thinking that we can unify with our higher soul and with which we can fortify our heart to love and have awe of Hashem.
There are two important steps thus far.
Step 1 is to accept the reality that we have jealousy and pain because we are not Creators like Hashem, Who utters something and it comes into existence, Who thinks up something and it happens. We can never be such an amazingly creative being, even though we can emulate Hashem and perform His Will thereby being a channel through which Hashem’s lovingkindness comes into the world and His Kingship is seen.
Step 2 is to understand that the image the yetzer hara is showing us and the painful messages, guilt, shame, hurtful talking, feeling insulted, the need to be afraid or angry and more, are not our essential self and have nothing to do with who we really are! These emotions and thoughts DO, however, contain a potential that we alone can uniquely return from the side of the kelipas to the side of kadosh, and in so doing, we are given the opportunity to receive a unified flow of Hashem’s lovingkindness to fill our hearts in the place of the spiritual energy previously encrusted with messages from our natural reactions and survival instincts.
Our survival depends on Hashem alone.
These two steps taken together help us to not get ensnared in our biological makeup of survival instincts or our natural egoistic self-conscious thinking.
What then do we do?
Emunah means that we have the faith to know that we are never here alone, that we are creations given the power of speech to cry out to Hashem and to tell Hashem that we do not want to move towards our natural responses because we love Him and want to see the King, see Hashem’s love and kingship. Hashem knows that we have a yetzer hara so why don’t we? Hashem knows that we are not who the yetzer hara whispers to us that we are….that we are a piece of Hashem Himself blown into bodies in order to have contact with such opportunities to unify the Holy One with the Divine presence that fills our painful experiences, so why don’t we know this?
It is incumbent upon us to develop trust in these steps and have the emunah that Hashem is really all there is, that He is the only being that is actually alive and that He is giving us contact with an ego and a body in order to serve Him by bringing the spiritual energy from the grips of the kelipa to kadosh.
And when we do serve Hashem in this way, Hashem knows what we long for as bodies and mortal beings, and He makes His will our will. There is only Hashem to trust, there is NO OTHER.
Surely we are not the ones running the world. Hard to admit, right? Who rules the roost?
How can we reach emotional clarity that Hashem runs everything, albeit He gives us real free will?
In each moment when we struggle with our perceptions and the drawings that the yetzer hara tells us might be happening designed to bring us to action, especially action that might do damage, we are serving Hashem with love and awe. When we remember that are essential self is at all times aware of Hashem’s constant lovingkind presence and His Kingship, we can push through the deceptions that would kidnap our true identity and trap us in a self-consciousness that keeps us in the dark.
What choice do we have really? How far has our natural thinking brought us towards peace and well-being? Without steps 1 and 2, we are imagining that the source of the pain we feel is coming from people and circumstances in time and space. While we might become triggered and in touch with the true source of our pain – that we are not Hashem, that we are only limited creations who cannot control the world – because of a stimulus from a person or circumstance, Torah tells us that this is merely an opportunity to unify the Holy One with the Divine Presence. Are we accepting this role or do we push forward with the whisperings from the yetzer hara and our ego, telling us to take control, to not let that continue, etc.
Emergency first aid is to bring Hashem into the picture and unify the Holy One with the Divine Presence, namely the spiritual energy trapped in the imaginings of the self-conscious heart.
Being in a body and experiencing life is the greatest opportunity a soul can have. Only while we are in this world can we act to serve Hashem and unify the Holy One with the Divine Presence, the Shechina. In order to do so, we have to re-direct the forces within our inner world, correcting our middos from being self-conscious to being G-dconscious. And that means understanding the unconscious lack that trips us before we even realize we are headed towards self-consciousness. We must be on red alert to the whispers of the yetzer hara who takes the real lack we have regarding never being able to be a Creator like Hashem and offers its own words to describe scenarios regarding why we feel so sad and how it is this one’s fault, or that one is to blame, or other damaging and negative messages that form our thought patterns over time and build an image that we mistakenly think is us, the real me, the vulnerable dependent broken me that has to defend itself from attack rather than be “found out” or revealed as imperfect. THIS IS NOT WHO WE ARE! THIS IS THE LANGUAGE OF THE YETZER HARA THAT WANTS TO TAKE OUR LIFE FORCE FOR ITSELF AND KILL US.
So let’s not fall for this any more.
What are the fears and negative images that pain us the most? Can we detect that they are rooted in either not feeling unconditional love or not feeling like we have real value? If so, then we can answer with the truth, that Hashem’s love is constant and unconditional and that we at all times have value because we can use free will to choose to be like Hashem or be with Hashem by performing His Will. There is nothing but Hashem, so how could it be that anything He Creates which is all Hashem does not have the value of being connected to Him?
May our new understanding of who we are and what Hashem wants from us help us step towards revealing His Love and Kingship in the world and step back from thinking that we are in control.
That said, when we take on this avodas Hashem, we really do lead spiritual energy from where it is snared to a place of being released to form positive influence, and that does give us a great deal to contribute towards the outcomes Hashem brings.
May we think deeply on this, find the places in our hearts and minds to apply this, and take steps to really change the world. Because Hashem gives us real free will, ironically, it actually is up to us!