One of the benefits from understanding the root forces of nature, earth wind fire and water, is to see that these roots exist in every created thing, thought and emotion. Hashem creates us so that when challenged, we have a fight, flight or freeze response, an automatic negativity that brings us to judge and possibly do something damaging. This is a description of our limbic system and natural survival instincts, but these are NOT the yetzer tov. Torah teaches us that the inner existence of everything is Hashem’s compassion, hidden within His Spoken Word that forms the appearance or existence of the creation – every circumstance, every thought, every emotion is a creation of Hashem and conceals His Compassion.
Hashem Himself is unknowable. Yet through His Creation, even though He is concealed, there can be a connection to His Compassion whereby His Compassion can enter – if we empty out a space for it to come in. Our experience of His Compassion in such a way is called bitul, where we nullify the presenting thoughts and emotions that swirl us into self-focused thinking in favor of finding objectivity and His Compassion through this bitul.
With all of the various themes on anger, fear, desire, craving for honor, and urges to speak inappropriately or hurtfully, is it really possible to find that there is a common root from which, if we find it, we can regulate our thoughts and emotions towards bitul and revealing Hashem’s compassion?
IF we are willing to do so, we are free to choose to see our anger or fear as fire. We are free to now forget the circumstances in favor of discerning the great opportunity we have to remove the husks (whatever conceals that everything Hashem does is for our best) from some fire! This is NOT to mean that the circumstances are good for us. It means that the circumstances that put us in touch with the fire are how Hashem is giving to us a good – the opportunity to redeem ourselves from whatever in our nature conceals Hashem’s compassion in that firey moment. We have the opportunity to bring the element of fire within us into a needed balance. That is the good of the circumstances, not the details themselves.
How do we put out fire? We can use water, we can throw dirt on it, or we can try to blow it out with wind. Thus, by bringing love for Hashem into the picture, or by yearning to stabilize the yetzer tov in our heart instead of hurtfulness, or by speaking out loud to Hashem with love in our hearts to please help us, we have a plan for asking Hashem to please help us to not want to act on the urges and impulses that we naturally feel.
Here is an example. Someone was supposed to be here at a particular time and not only didn’t come, but didn’t call. How many times does this happen through out the world every minute – our natural reaction varies, but most generally probably includes frustration, worry, maybe some anger, and maybe some insult or resentment. What has really happened? We lost connection to the true reality of the world, that Hashem is all loving and that He loves us this very moment and that all is well and that this is for our ultimate best. We do not feel Hashem’s love! This is the first important recognition that we are being asked to interact not with the circumstances but with the root forces…the goal at all times is to regain our footing and our connection to feeling Hashem’s love, the true reality. Instead of thinking the judgments and condemnations we might naturally feel, we see that our natural side is running blindly into a brick wall at fifty miles an hour and we stop…fire fire. How do I reconnect to the true reality instead of my subjective reality? Hashem is sending this, I need to balance this fire.
After we have “put out the fire” through emunah (faith) bitachon (trust to act on that faith) and love for Hashem a few times and the body experiences the wonderful joy of connection as well as the relief from the stress it otherwise feels from its natural negativity, the body leaps into the avoda and begins to feel the pleasure, much like salivating for a tasty treat ahead of eating it! With the body willing to self-nullify, the flow of emunah, bitachon, love for Hashem and bitul becomes more and more what our hearts pursue in the moment as the better choice.
With a heart that holds love for Hashem to receive every moment, it becomes easier to spot when something disrupts our connection, and that momentary disruption then spurs us to translate our emotions back into the root forces to regulate ourselves and regain connection so that we may once again be vessels to reveal Hashem’s compassion, the greatest simcha (joy) from our inner being and pleasure for the body that there is. From there, our subsequent actions now reflect something of Hashem into the world beyond what we actually do, because we have made an effort that Hashem then affects.
When we are struggling and we tell Hashem that it is our will to not want what our urges and impulses want naturally, that we love Hashem and wish to feel His Compassion so that we may reveal His Compassion, our effort to feel our negativity alongside love for Hashem, out of our emunah is what Hashem wants from us in the moment. In that moment, we offer to Hashem the negativity concealing the spiritual divine material flowing through us, our akeidas Yitzchak, our first born child.
It feels like the whole “me.” But it is not.
We bring forth the emotions, emptying our hearts into the Infinity of Hashem’s loving arms, all the while loving Hashem and comprehending that we are heading toward bitul and reality. It is totally safe to feel every drop of the emotions, while thinking and remembering that Hashem is loving us and that we are totally safe and that the pain and hurt is an implosion and not the actual spiritual reality, for spiritual reality is all compassionate and good from Hashem’s perspective.
When we understand our reactive patterns and spot them before acting, and we seek the root forces to see what Hashem is putting us in contact with to redeem, we become less focused on the circumstances themselves. Hashem is in charge of all circumstances as well as outcomes, not us.
We are in charge of doing what Hashem requires of us in the moment. A moment of fear or insult is an opportunity to serve Hashem by redeeming spiritual content from something concealing Hashem’s compassion. We redeem it by our effort to ask that it be redeemed. Hashem answers, as a giver, as a benefactor. We are the ones blocking Hashem’s compassion from being revealed. We are the shadow blocking His Light. When we take life force and focus on ourselves, we are harnessing compassion intended to be revealed for our own purpose. This is the natural condition. The more we see when we do this, the more choice we have to serve Hashem and experience true simcha and internalize in our heart the joy of our inner being instead of the persona we otherwise pursue.
When challenged and we are pained, try to notice how our inner messages blow through our mind, a wind. See how these cause us anger or fear, fire. Or perhaps we are noticing what we feel we need to be happy. Water. And perhaps we feel trapped, stuck, sad. Earth.
Now, with emunah, love Hashem from the heart, for He is giving us the opportunity to will a change in the root forces He uses to create the world. Feel how that love for Hashem slows the wind to gentleness. Experience the subduing of anger or fear as the mind and heart have awe in the bond between them. And see the sadness melt into joy as the simcha of the inner being stabilizes in the heart instead of feeling stuck. This is how consciousness may be used. And we grow in it.
In every moment of experience, we have the emunah and bitachon and love for Hashem to balance the root forces and create positive influence through our real free will. It takes consciousness to nullify our first impression, our self-focused interpretation, to move past the urges and impulses filled with natural responses under the pull of the yetzer hara’s ever-present attempts to siphon off our holiness for its own strength. We move past through consciousness that these urges and impulses are there to be re-filled with awareness of Hashem, rectifying our characteristics as well as being a willing partner in revealing Hashem’s compassion through the root forces of nature.