| A pure soul comes into a newborn. |
The soul Hashem gives us is pure and good. We are told to be righteous and not to be wicked and then we are born.
The sense of a baby is of its own needs, but it is totally innocent. Nevertheless, its dependency needs require that it attach to its mother, father, family and surroundings for fulfillment. It has no way of understanding it is a huge soul in a tiny dependent and helpless body. In fact, as the baby develops and the parents get so excited with every stage of development, the baby forms a sense of itself, of its being. Before you know it, the toddler is walking and saying I want to do it myself.
There is built into the soul a fallen spark from the world of tohu that broke apart and fell into this world, into our human nature, in order that we do a repair upon it. What is it’s brokenness? This is important to grasp for it is embedded within our soul by Hashem and is our brokenness to work on during our lifetime.
The world of tohu broke apart because the beings there believed that they were autonomous and that their existence was essential. The world of tohu was a world of din, not rachamim. In being a world of judgment, as soon as a being thought that it had independent existence, it was essentially breaking the commandment there is No Other Power. The din of that world required those beings to perish instantly.
When the soul of Adom was formed in the world of pre-Creation, in the world of emanation called Atzilus, Hashem designed that soul with the ability to do tikkun for these sparks, meaning that the soul is able to draw the Shechina in exile that animates these sparks of tohu and vohu back to Hashem in an Infinite Process that Hashem does, using the functioning of the soul He has created.
Hashem gives us real free will to initiate that process. We get a glimpse of His process in the design, a process to draw forth the sparks that Hashem alone does, when we submit our blemishes to Him in prayerfulness.
Here is a description from the spiritual mechanism that acts as the back-bone behind Rebbe Nachman’s approach to hisbodidus (to nullify the ego-based reactions and bring forth concealed light so as to be a kli rishon for Hashem):
“When an individual is misboded and secludes himself in a meditative state, and expresses himself, and also expresses his pain and suffering to Hashem, and owns and admits his mistakes, and feels authentic regret over the seriousness of the damage he has caused himself and others through his behaviors – so too, the Shechinah (the Divine Feminine Presence above) stands facing him, and expresses Herself to him, and expresses Her pain for his situation, and comforts and consoles him.
The reason for this Divine reciprocity is that, when an individual creates a block in his own soul, he likewise causes, in some sense, a block in the Divine flow above – a block that is experienced by the Shechinah Herself. [Because we, at our core, are one with, and expressions of, the Divine Presence – so our personal suffering and blocks create suffering and blocks in the higher world above. As if our mother experiences our pain, too.] Hashem agrees to be in exile within our block until we recognize the soul He gives us and fills is trapped there and we use our will to will to put it into a mitzvah instead. This mechanism of interaction and energetic dialogue with the Divine is alluded to in the Torah, through the line, “You have spoken to Hashem today…and Hashem today has spoken to you…” (Deuteronomy 26:17-18). Through this technique, the Shechinah sympathizes with and soothes the person, and She begins to seek and activate strategies to fix and heal all his blocks and issues.”
Should we fail to recognize our Creator is the force within our reactions, and instead believe that we have a power to affect our circumstances on our own and take an action in reaction to something, we remain under the control of the forces of nature, living within the nefesh behema and attached to the vessels that conceal Hashem in this world.
Tanya shows us how we are both filled with Hashem’s Infinite Light and surrounded by His Infinite Light and that through our use of real free will, the sparks of our soul that are coming to us through the surrounding world can become unified with the sparks of our soul that fill us with intellect and talents and give us will, pleasure, emunah and speech.
The steps to move ourselves from living within the attachments that develop at an early age to attachment to Hashem through our emunah are outlined here. The steps show a process by which we, through use of will, emunah, pleasure and speech, make an effortful prayer to which Hashem, Who creates us to bestow good upon us, is responsible to His own Will to respond with His Compassion.
This is not a vending machine. It is rather the use of the actual powers He gives us – of will, emunah, awareness of pleasure of attachment to Him and speech with sincerity – that nullify the apparent self in favor of becoming a kli rishon, an actualized inner being that serves Hashem with confidence. This is the purpose for which we are given life, for by so doing, we become a channel across which Infinite Light flows through our thoughts, speech and deeds into the world, rectifying the elements, the four foundations of earth wind water and fire.
The process breaks down as follows:
1. Understand that we have an animal soul and a divine soul and that the animal soul is attached by its outgrowth – the intellect- to the physical world and people. Our early impressions form the environment of our emotions and yet, because there is a fundamental absence of awareness of Hashem instilled in our early emotions, inevitably the divine soul Hashem gives us is “trapped” in something inherently false, believing something that simply could not have included Hashem in the picture at the time it formed. Thus, Hashem gives us the real free will to utilize our life to unify our soul once again and attach to Him.
2.Understand that what conceals Hashem is His Creation, the tohu and vohu, the feelings of void/lack and darkness/absence of Hashem/arrogantly thinking we are the light. A lifetime is given to us to recognize Hashem concealed in the lacks and darknesses we experience and, instead of adding our soul to that darkness and acting out its messages of pain that are often destructive, to instead submit immediately to the task of “mining” that reaction for the purity of our soul that got trapped there when we were first attaching to the world. When we are upset, it is never the circumstances that need our first attention. Rather our first attention is to recognize our Creator, namely the Shechina that is our soul that became the life force of the painful association triggered by the circumstance. This takes the use of real free will. And emunah. We strengthen ourselves in emunah. If we omit this step, and we see the painful reaction and what is animating it – our soul – as inherently one, we act from a place of helplessness and powerlessness with whatever hurtfulness comes out, wielding words and actions that create damages to ourselves or others or to our relationship with Hashem. With understanding and emunah, we rather use real free will to move forward.
3.Nullification of our self-conscious response means that we realize that there is a small tiny cry inside that we know we are good and right and somehow we developed a set of thinking to defend that basic truth and that set of thinking is causing us pain right now. The first step to nullifying is to write down all the messages, the vessels, which our soul is animating since we first attached to it. The second step is to realize that the soul that is animating it is the Shechina in exile and in and of itself it is compassionate. However it is forced to animate this message because Hashem gives us real free will and He abides by the laws of nature, as Elokim. The third step after recognizing our Creator, the Shechina in exile (the soul He blesses us with and gives us as a life force) is to shower compassion upon the Shechina. “Hashem I do not want the beautiful life force You bless me with to animate this message. This message is painful and yet it feels so real, so alive, because I have willed my soul into it by thinking it all these years, by acting upon it. But it has served me not and although it is so automatic in my emotional reactions, I want to not want it. I want to go above it. I am dependent and helpless to shift it by myself but I will to use it for learning Torah, praying as I am now beseeching You, giving blessings, doing mitzvahs and acts of chesed. I am moving forward to do a mitzvah and am asking for Your Mercy that all of my soul flow into this mitzvah so that I may be the vessel through which this beautiful light comes into the world doing Your will instead of animating this painful message. And then move forward to do the mitzvah.
This third section may require much pre-emptive work.
Breathing techniques are a way that we can learn to experience the purity and goodness of our soul, to sense our soul as good although trapped within the hurtful message. Experiencing the layers of our soul as pure and good helps us to see how at a young age, before our thinking developed, that part of our soul associated with whatever it needed to in order to survive. And this survival message is not really true, for our survival depends only on Hashem, not on anything else.
There is also the avodas Hashem piece of making ourselves the vessel across which Hashem may draw the Shechina in exile in the tohu and vohu itself back to Him. The holy sparks concealed in the tohu and vohu were not able to inter-include one with the other. When we shower compassion upon the Shechina in exile in our reactions and move forward with mitzvahs all the while recognizing our Creator, we are weaving out of our time line and out of the material of what conceals the sparks eternal garments of light that we will wear after 180 years and inter-including the sparks, the sefiras.
The material that conceals Hashem IS the tohu and vohu, the emptiness and darkness that covers the light. When we shower compassion upon it and do mitzvahs, the Infinite light concealed is able to come through that mitzvah into the world where Hashem is concealed and not nullify the world itself. The sweetening in our lives is the simcha of flowing the unified Infinite Light through the vessel of our mitzvah into the world. This is the simcha for which we are created and far surpasses any pleasure of the physical world, although we must go lovingly and gently to truly find and choose this simcha. The body can be run by the divine soul, but it must be a gradual replacing of the animal soul because our natural wiring is for the animal soul to attach to the pleasures of this world. Nevertheless, with nullification and prayer and a positive gentle but determined plan, we can actualize our inner being.