Removing splinters – an analogy to help us understand the use of real free will.

From the natural view of our emotions, it seems as though the force and the emotion are one and the same. “I am very angry.” “I am terrified.” “This is so painful.” The next step along this path is to scan to find the triggering moment and to allay blame. Too often, this is done with shame or self-reprovement. “I am such an idiot.” “You are being insensitive and selfish.”

By the time we get to these statements, we have long past our opportunity for soul correction, that moment where we lost sight that Hashem is all good and that He loves us and that everything is really alright. When we have emunah and bitachon in Hashem and something happens, we have the inner will to rise above the fiery coals we feel we are being drawn over in order to focus entirely that the force within the emotion is Hashem, No Other Power. Hashem is doing everything. If we are experiencing a fiery emotion, it is incumbent upon us to seek out the soul correction Hashem is giving to us as an opportunity.

Yearning for Hashem’s love and knowing that He is doing everything does not alleviate our responsibility to serve Him.

The truth is that if we are experiencing negativity of any kind, something is blocking our soul from being aware of Hashem’s constant presence and love. Generally speaking, what is blocking us is the lower will’s pursuit of pleasure as it sees pleasure. The natural will decides it needs or wants something (just watch any toddler on the candy line at the store) and proceeds to insist that it needs it. Where are those messages coming from? Thank goodness they are not coming from our essential self. They are coming from the affect of having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that causes us to have heightened awareness of the self as defined by the values of nature. Since nature is overseen by the Soton, our wants, urges and impulses are, in fact, run by the force designed to give us real free will. The intent of real free will is for us to discern that what the natural will wants is not the greatest pleasure and has no eternal meaning or value. In fact, it often leads to death and destruction.

Our responsibility is, in every moment, to ask that the kedusha given to the Soton and the powerful illusions that kedusha is able to generate be extracted from the realm of the Soton and its zuhama so that it may integrate with the true reality, Hashem’s love and mercy. Our primary task in life is to serve as a vessel to receive the light concealed in the darkness and willingly be a channel through which that light may come into the world in a way that will reveal it as love and mercy rather than pain and destruction. To serve as this vessel and channel, the body must recognize that the force and the subconscious messages that lure us towards the darkness are NOT one and the same. The force – ALL FORCE – is Hashem Echad, even if it is concealed in a confusion of pain or an addiction to something or an allegiance to a secular value or power or a total panic attack.

Do you ever remember having a splinter? First, we soak the affected area with soapy warm water, to clean it, to soften the skin. Then we take a needle sterilized with a fire and we gently open the layer of skin over the splinter. Then we may soak it again, and then, we take a tweezers and pull out the splinter. When it comes out and bleeds, we may apply an ointment and a bandaid.

When we have a negative emotion, we must realize that there is a force – a spark of kedusha – concealed within the messages that we are experiencing. It is red and raw and burning and feels on fire. We immediately “soak” it in remembering that Hashem is One and totally loves us and that we love Hashem. It seems like a contradiction, but this is where we will to go above our nature because we know and wish to return it to our heart that Hashem is One and His Name is One. We focus the purity of our heart in the force itself, surrounding it with the love of Hashem and our love, the warm soapy water. Now, into that loving safe place, the same thoughts arise, but instead of causing us to tantrum, we are able to make the distinguishment between the force and the message, and tell Hashem that we recognize He is the Only Power and it is our will to go above the natural will and to integrate the force concealed in our pain back to His Love.

Thought by thought, we do this separation of our soul that is a spark of kedusha from the inflaming negative messages of the yetzer hara. The body goes along, choosing to not listen to the negative messages that are recognized as coming from the illusions projected by the Soton to obscure Hashem’s love, to deny or diminish awareness of Hashem.

We MUST wake up to the modus operandi of the zuhama and the Soton so that we have the emunah and bitachon to withstand the feelings of being raked over the coals, knowing that it is only confusion of mind and not the true reality. The true reality is Hashem is all good, is doing everything in order to give us the opportunity to be the vessel and channel through which He may come into this world.

Yearning for Hashem to redeem us means that we are yearning for the opportunity to redeem the sparks of kedusha concealed in the zuhama and given to the Soton through the use of real free will, prayer, teshuva, and love for Hashem. We cannot prefer to have ourselves supervised as an animal is supervised, that Hashem sustains out of His Love no judgment or expectation of character refinement! If it were not for the opportunity to serve as a vessel and a channel for Hashem to be revealed in this world, which requires that we nullify our ego and correct our characteristics, there would be no reason to come to this world. This world is our opportunity to build eternal life through the effort we make to submit the animal soul to the mission of the spiritual being within – a mission of integrating fallen sparks back to Hashem. This is how we unify Hashem’s Name, Yud K Vav K the abstract chochma and love of Hashem, the nurture, with the Shechina represented by the feminine essence of Hashem’s Name, Aleph, Dalet, Nun, Y.

Our love for Hashem, our awe of Hashem, our will to go above our natural will, and our trust in Hashem that helps us focus on the kindness of Hashem trapped in the pain awaiting our recognition of Hashem and No Other is the effort He asks of us. We are here to be a vessel and a channel.

Let us learn how to safely and lovingly take the splinters out of our lives and find that they are the healing, the pleasure and the eternity that we yearn for. Let us not neglect our opportunity to utilize speech and the innate power of emunah to will for Hashem to choose our mind and heart to be the channel through which His Light is revealed.

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