The wonderful gift of life means that we are entrusted with a life force that is in constant contact with a physical world for the purpose drawing into the physicality something to spiritualize it. The power we have with which to work is ratzon, real free will. The tool we have is speech, peronal prayer. The guidance we have is Torah, chochma. And the raw material of the physical world that we have are our urges and impulses.
Our urges and impulses, which come from our perceptions, from what we eat, from the bodily needs, and from our natural survival instincts, became inter-mixed with zuhama because of the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, something within us insulates us from the actual true reality, the pure truth – Hashem loves us, He is One, and He is all Powerful and Ever-present.
The Arizal teaches that we are to develop a spiritual maturity where we are able to stabilize ourselves with awareness of Hashem so that our very body and urges and impulses have that expanded consciousness. While we may glimpse the truth of Hashem Echad, the body may or may not believe that its needs will be met. In the case where our urges and impulses do not fully trust, the body will grab the natural messages of the zuhama, messages of daas sitras achra, on how to “take” what the body needs to assure its survival. Just like a patient parent, when we experience such a reaction within us, it is up to us to regulate that reaction using Torah. How?
When we are experiencing ourselves driving as if in the dark at fifty miles an hour and we are aware that we have no idea what we are doing but that we are determined even if we cause damage because it is for our “survival” or for the accomplishment of our “goal,” take a moment and try to hear our inner dialogue. Why are we moving our muscles…toward where are we headed – towards our own eternal survival (based on following Torah) or towards the survival of the forces of darkness? If the latter, what is the lie, the slander, the lashon hara or the onas devarim we are listening to? With these two points clarified, that we are feeding the zuhama and listening to its lies, we now have a basis for prayer.
Yet there is one more step. The circumstances are circumstantial. What does Hashem want from us in this very moment? He is putting us in touch with physicality, whose root is earth, wind, water and fire, solid, gas, liquid or radioactive. Remember- we are here to spiritualize physicality? THIS IS OUR CHANCE! Fill our hearts with love for Hashem! He is entrusting US to recognize Him and to do something that will also inoculate us from the bread of shame for all eternity! We are, in our own unique universes, able to will something and ask that our nature change, something only Hashem can do, but our effort in willing and in our love for Hashem facilitate by opening the channel of His Love to give and heal.
“Hashem I want to not want what my urges and impulses want. The circumstances are generating within me a lack of water/vitality, a firey angry or fearful response, a firey insulted response, an earthly sadness or however we see our emotions boiled down to the root forces. THIS BUILDS EMUNAH IN THE CONCEPT THAT WE ARE A BRIDGE TO SPIRITUALIZE PHYSICALITY and empowers us to use our free will accordingly. I want to not want the negativity my soul is trapped to. I regret my past errors and see that my soul is trapped in something physical and I ask that You Hashem please redeem my soul from its constricted place and restore it to me in its essence, a feeling of Your love and mercy, a restoration of the life force You are sending me with awareness of Your Compassion.”
Try to discern a commandment, such as “I wish to do the mitzvah of “do not bear false witness” (this can apply to the negative judgments we may feel about another person or ourselves, because every person is made in Hashem’s image and therefore our judgment is not the whole truth and is in need of regulation) or do not steal (this can apply to issues with feeling dishonored, since there is no honor other than Hashem’s honor.)
When we see that “the wind” of our imagination is blowing the “firey” reaction of anger or fear through us, we can make a choice to bring some love for Hashem, water, nurture, vitality into our hearts to balance it. The more we do this, the more natural it becomes for two reasons – the body comes to see that balancing what is out of balance is far more pleasurable than succumbing to the urges to run in the dark at fifty miles an hour into a brick wall or run over another person. And, the more we love Hashem and use free will and speech in this way, the more integrated Hashem’s compassion becomes in our hearts and our true potential awakened.
Chazal tell us that if we are not trying to go up the ladder, we are falling down it. Spiritual growth and integrating Hashem’s compassion is an infinite path because Hashem is infinite. AND more importantly, we are here to exert ourselves inth is effort because this effort is what produces positive influence in this world. Our effort to spiritualize physicality IS our mission, for our subjectivity and uniqueness are given to us solely for the sake of recognizing Hashem and loving Him in order to reveal His Glory in the world, every moment, every day, for as long as Hashem faithfully returns our soul to our body.
May we understand the first three commandments deeply at all times and cling to them, and may we regulate our emotions from our urges and impulses and bring our soul in wholeness to reveal His Glory.