There is so much inner angst that we read about – the predominance of what we do to help our friends seems to be to do whatever we can to help them get through the day without feeling down, disempowered, frightened, angry, hurt, insulted, empty, unloved, alone, victimized and more.
The neurology of such feelings comes from our limbic system. The basic formula for such negativity and anxiety is that we feel something is missing, we get upset, and then we act upon our judgments trying to set it straight. We mean well. And this is our natural wiring. Sad, mad, acting it out and doing something we will regret.
One way of dealing with our limbic system is to justify that damaging action, ascribing it to the category of survival that is necessary so that we can feel good about ourselves, so that the world does not trample us.
With that way of dealing with our feelings, we forge a path that we rely on.
And we have a group of friends who agree with this as necessary.
And what happens? We come to trust in our manner of dealing with this type of reaction. We come to trust in our own judgment, especially because very often, our goal is reached. We may even have the feeling of being powerful and masterful in our lives.
We have a silent Partner though, Whose judgment is truth and is for our good.
If anyone tries to tell us we took a wrong turn though, we cry out – don’t tell me Hashem is going to get me! I can’t hear that! I hurt too much inside. I know Hashem loves me.
And what can be said after that? Not much.
Nevertheless, I have very good news for anyone who has been on either side of such a scenario.
We have found the place of what it means to be human, a nefesh elokis enlivening an earthly mortal body. We have profoundly defined the very experience that Hashem has sent us to this world to feel in order that we remember and recognize our Creator!
THAT is who we are – a mixture of soul and body that experiences our humanity in order that we may recognize Elokim, the One Who is doing everything.
Hashem did not send a soul into a body to experience such painful humanity with no remedy!!!
And that is the point of the rest of this article.
IF we strengthen ourselves in emunah, meaning we realize that He is doing everything yet He gives us an amazing power of real free will to exercise, we turn our eyes upwards, recognizing Elokim, describing the place we are in, and we tell Hashem, with compassion on the light that is trapped in the painful humanity, that we do not wish for the life force He is lovingly sending us to be trapped in our natural fear, anger pain, anxiety, insult, urge, impulse, bad habit and the like. We confess that we DO naturally have this and we are describing it to Him out of our love for Him because we want to not want this naturally.
We want to not want this naturally means that we want our limbic system to be able to shine the nefesh elokis and not these associated messages that cover our most primal reactivity.
We are not in charge of nature. Thus we turn to the Creator, the One who recreates the world every second, and we plead with Him, we confess, we recognize and we love Him. As soon as we do this, we are “out” of the limbic thinking – despair and arrogance – that plague us. “I feel hurt, how could he do this to me? That hurts so much, why is this missing in my life? I have to stand up for myself,” and similar spiraling despair/self-conscious messages. Where are we when we turn our eyes upwards to Hashem and tell Him that we want to not want such messages? We are aligned with His Compassion, we are emulating Him by having compassion on the light that is animating the messages and generating the pain.
By confessing and turning our eyes to Elokim, by recognizing Him as doing everything and knowing that He loves us, we bring our compassion to a place where our awareness of Hashem and Torah are nurtured by that compassion. We become G-d-conscious instead of self-conscious. And what happens next? A flow comes into our hearts with insights and an ability to have a new perspective on the matter, on ourselves, on life, and most of all, have gratitude to Hashem for our lives. Why gratitude? We now have the “right” to bring that compassion into our speech and deeds in oneness with Hashem doing everything, to learn Torah, to do a mitzvah, to perform a chesed. Once we recognize Elokim and want to not want our human reaction because we want that compassion to be used to reveal Hashem, He activates our nefesh elokis which He designs and we become a channel to bring that light into the world, a light that has the healing the situation actually needs – compassion.
This is tiferes. This is Yaakov. This is truth.
Thus, when we feel as though the last thing in the world we want is mussar and we shut down anyone telling us we took a wrong turn, lovingly trying to guide us back, we have an opportunity to use real free will and bring our compassion from its inferior position below our wisdom back to its Source. By strengthening ourselves in emunah, realizing that Hashem is doing everything and that He gives us real free will and the power of speech to take an action of running back to Him, our nefesh elokis becomes the channel across which that compassion comes into this world, bringing with it Infinite light designed to effect the repair.
Okay here we go. Anxiety attack! Oh no! I blew it. Now they will be so mad. They are so sensitive, why did I have to say that? Fear of rejection.
Choice – try to backpedal or turn to Hashem.
Backpedaling is going to make things worse.
Turning to Hashem – Hashem, I blew it! I spoke too fast. I didn’t realize…… and now…….I was reactive. I want to not want to be that way, please send me a thought or a pasuk or something so that when I experience these emotions I have something to help me be a channel for light instead.
Pause and experience – the place from our home of origin where this developed, what is false, where are we forgetting to judge favorably, where do we do the same thing they did, how do we understand it…how else can we understand it? Do we really have to say something? Can we find a way to communicate a healing message that does not include blame or shame but rather shows love that will calm down the limbic system of the other person?
The more we see how Hashem sends us circumstances to go into our limbic system and shake off the false messages, the more our limbic system is available to receive loving insights that we may garment into speech and deeds that shine light.
The more we see how Hashem sends us a consequence when we judge unfavorably or take matters into our own hands, the more we will realize His justice is the most loving thing that could happen, better than any manmade justice, helping us pay our debt. No one likes din, but we must realize that our world is balanced between mercy and judgment and that WE with our real free will DO have a responsibility to use real free will compassionately in a way that enhances our G-dConscious wisdom.
No one likes to feel afraid of Hashem. Hashem gives us the Torah so that we comprehend the world we are in as well as the mission we are here to perform. It is compassionate of Hashem to tell us how we are made! Are we interested in really helping ourselves survive well? Do we understand that being connected to the One Who is doing everything is immutable self-esteem?
The journey is from feeling ourselves and acting according to the natural wisdom, anochi to growing awareness and love and awe of Hashem and acting according to Torah, avoda and gemilas chesed in concert with His Will, atzmi.
When we are humbly using real free will to pray and do mitzvahs, Hashem is able to use our lives as a channel that brings revealed light into this world.
Let us comprehend that strengthening ourselves in emunah in order to do so IS work but the mind we are saving is OURs – saving ourselves from being vulnerable to the self-consciousness projected through us by our natural limbic system. We are sent here with the capacity to effect a repair, that Hashem does, when we WILL it. And we are accountable out of Hashem’s love for us.
THIS is the inner battle each one of us can be involved with when we utilize run and return to regulate our emotions. SAD? – Hashem here is what is going on!! I feel MAD…..! I want all of this light that is concealed in this pain to come into this world in a healing way that reveals YOU! Goodbye bad. Hello blessings.
What happens if we are unconscious to run and return? Hashem sends us din to awaken us. What if we turn it away as too harsh? He sends more suffering. And the suffering cleanses us.
It is a foolproof system. Teshuva run and return or suffering. We get to choose.
Elul begins August 31. During the summer months, with all the light and warmth, we have compassion shining upon us. Let us use this time to nurture awareness of Hashem and His love for us, to grow in love and awe of Hashem. May our efforts to do so bring us a higher intellect for our drive to implement for next year.
Yet as we know, in Elul, we do teshuva, we “pay our spiritual debts” so to speak so that we stand pure on Rosh Hashana.
Rabbi Asher Freund had a man come to him and Rav Asher saw that the man had a gezeira on him. He told the man to sell his livelihood, which the man did, not questioning Rav Asher. Yet it was financial suffering. The man and his family were saved from a gas leak and his daughter was saved from being run over by a car.
We are all imperfect. There is NO SHAME in it. Just look at a lovable baby!! That is why we have Yom Kippur. Hashem knows how He has created us. It is WE who do not comprehend how and why He has created us so. WE misinterpret our humanity thinking our externalities are who we are essentially. In atzmi we are one with Him. Thus, our work is cut out for us, for we are obviously overpowered by the natural realities of life – yet we are given real free will, emunah and the power of speech and with these, His Light flows into the world by HIS DOING after we properly use will, teshuva, and love.
Let us take up this wonderful inner work of run and return. Let us be that channel across which the light caught up in pain may come into the world as blessing. May doing so pay up our debts to Hashem Who is doing everything and Who lovingly and compassionately gives us the Torah that tells us all of this. May we awaken from what holds us back and realize how great life is, to be one with Hashem and a channel for His will.
Here is an email from Torah Avigdor – from Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Rav Avigdor Miller on Suspecting Hashem of Wrongdoing
I just found out that a former classmate of mine just passed away. He was only 21 years old. What should my thoughts be when I begin to question why Hashem would do such a thing?
And the answer is that you must know that צדיק השם בכל דרכיו. Hashem is right in whatever He does. In this case, I couldn’t tell you anything without knowing him. But I could tell you many stories where I did understand something. A little something, I was able to understand.
Here’s a man – a beautiful man. A strong, tall man and a good learner. A tchachkah he was. Something special – a real tachshit. And then he became ill – a cripple. And he died young too. Nobody know why.
I also don’t know why. But I have one hava-mina. I have a svarah for why he died young. I have a good svarah. Because I dealt with him once. He had a bride. He had a new kallah. And right after the chuppa he said he doesn’t want her anymore. I visited him. I said, “How can it be? You’re ruining the girl! You chose her. You chose this girl. And her parents spent a small fortune on the chasuna. And right after the chuppa you don’t want her anymore?!” “No,” he says. He doesn’t like her, he tells me.
Well, I didn’t win. And there was a divorce. It was a tragedy. And I think that it was a very big crime that he committed. Nobody knows why, but I think that’s the reason. He ruined her. Now, I wouldn’t go and publicize it, but I believe that’s the reason.
If I would know the cases, who knows what I could discover! I know a case of a young man who was in YU. It was a Yeshiva from the olden days; it was the only Yeshiva in those days. And this man died young. Nobody knows why he died young. But I think I know. Because I know the story. I knew him well.
He was once talking to a divorced woman. To a young divorcee. And he became too familiar with her. And I know that he had business with that young divorced woman. And she didn’t have a get. She didn’t have a Jewish divorce. She was still an eishes ish and this man had dealings with her. And nobody else knows about it, but I do know. And he died young. He was a son of a very fine family.
So if I knew, maybe I could tell you. Maybe. And sometimes, it’s a tzadik who dies young. That also could be. Hakodosh Boruch Hu knows why He did it. He has plenty of good reasons. Whatever it is, don’t suspect Hakodosh Boruch Hu of doing anything that’s not proper. צדיק השם בכל דרכיו וחסיד בכל מעשיו. And when you come to the Next World, then you’ll discover all the secrets.
TAPE # E-169