The soul Hashem sends to us every moment gives us life and all of our faculties and physicality. Hashem designs us to have a function….that function is to be a channel through which His Infinite Light may flow into this world without obscuring the world with its Infinite light. We have a subjective impression of our identity in this world that is, in actuality, an utter illusion built on the need for such in order to give us real free will. As mindboggling as this may seem, once we prove it to ourselves through stronger and stronger emunah and seeing that Hashem really is doing everything, what is in our hearts that pains us becomes “fossil fuel” for eternal identity.
A lack of something pleasurable = just think of our lusts, urges,drives, needs, reactions, nervous system, and cause and effect thinking. It is pretty clear that our subjective lives focus on reaching and pursuing happiness and survival according to our perceptions and our comforts, desires and goals based on our subjectivity. From the time we are tiny, we are taught, if you want something, ask for it. We are taught that with determination and will we can accomplish.
As we mature, we are taught IYH,only with Hashem’s help. What we must plug into our thinking and system is that Hahsem is the only cause and the only effect, that He is, in true reality,doing everything in order to give us the conscious choice to align with His Will over our subjectivity. In so doing, we truly participate in a creative act of Hashem Who is doing everything, by unblocking His Will and providing a channel for His Light to flow into the world. Our intention and will connect us to the Source, where that unity enures to us as being part of Infinity and creating eternal impact..
Take a look at a young child, who is dependent for everything on the parents. If the parent says no, even if it is for a good reason, the child immediately feels a lack. Along with the lack comes a question – do you love me? We see immediately the feeling of threat a child associates with lack, and, as we grow older, if we do not internalize that Hashem is doing everything and that He loves us and wants us to love Him back and trust that He is going to provide a good outcome, we devise coping mechanisms out of blaming and shaming of others to explain how much they upset us regarding our not getting what we want. This can become quite painful, in dialogue as well as active steps.
The Arizal in Parshas Mishpatim describes the four kelipot that cause damages – the ox, the pit, the destroyer and fire. Here we will see the underlying movements within our pain and THAT ALONE proves to us that these messages are not our essence but rather the challenge from which our eternal identity may be molded.
The ox is gevurah, strength, absent the awareness and will to use that strength to serve Hashem. The ox damages in three ways – three types of strength – a grazing tooth, where the tooth is hidden or revealed, a trampling foot, or a goring horn. These correspond to gevurah, hod and malchus and, unless the strength of the reaction is channeled into mitzvahs, this force causes damages.
The pit is the absence of water, of chesed, of nurture. This is often where our subjective experience starts – we are not getting our needs met. Or someone is saying no to us. Immediately there is a sense of insult – they don’t like me? They don’t respect or appreciate me? This is the destroyer, the fiery strength associated with honor and glory of our subjective image, the ego.
And then, we further investigate – the Ox reaction – did someone use a concealed tooth, etc – and when it is followed by the anger, our soul has been dragged into the seething waters. We are disconnected from feeling close to Hashem and it is incumbent upon us at that point to take the action for which He designs us – TO LOVE HASHEM BACK, for He has placed us in this circumstance specifically to choose to love Him back and restore “water” chesed to the pit through loving Him and refusing to fall into the seething waters. How do we let go of this deep and dark downward pulling seething water that seems to have strings in our stomachs and heart yanking at our thoughts?
What makes it possible to refuse to fall is strong emunah, emunah where we willingly choose to identify ourselves with our divine essence and to creatively design our eternal identity out of the strength but not the fabric of our reactivity.
Have compassion on the Shechina in exile that otherwise would, at this point, get further trapped and concealed even further in the cotton ball of imagination that blocks our spiritual arteries when we focus on what this means for my image, for my honor, for my survival and such self-aware orientations.
Remembering that Hashem is doing everything and is all that there is actually gives us a role to play in the world of intention and consciousness that not only brings eternal identity and joy but also helps us walk with Hashem through the maze of feelings that tug at us trying to disconnect us from Him and drag our life force into the realm of nature and darkness.
We have real free will to connect to the Source of life.
We cry out to Hashem and tell Him that we are experiencing the pit, the ox, the destroyer (ego image) and the fire (all consuming destructive anger or fear). Confessing does not mean there is something wrong because we experience these. He designs us specifically to experience these sparks from the world of chaos that fell into this world so that we may sniff them out and channel them back to Him through Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs.
He desires when we find ourselves there, and really at every moment, that we rise above our nature in order to cling to Him, to strengthen our emunah and intend for all of what is stirring within us to flow into the world in the form of learning Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs.
This may seem counter-intuitive to our cause and effect thinking…our intellect believes it is independent of Hashem and that it has coping mechanisms to rely upon. However, Torah tells us that Hashem Echad, He is One, and that we are here to unify and sanctify His Name, Yud K Vav K.
We are here to love Hashem back by remembering that He is the first cause and the only effect. Once we find that truth, the opportunity presented by the pit, the ox, the destroyer and the fire changes from reactivity and believing we are in need of following our survival instincts and coping mechanisms to clinging to Him by loving Him back so that we remain connected to the Only Being that is actually alive (He gives us life force and the experience of life and consciousness, but it is His) and choose our identity for all eternity by asking for the holy sparks concealed in the darkness and chaos to come through us via our keeping mitzvahs, praying. learning Torah or doing an act of kindness.
The voices of doubt that say, come on, or goody two shoes or it isn’t authentic for me simply are messages that hold a strength we can, lovingly and gently, bring to emunah. It is okay if we are not yet there. It is, however, our joy to tell Hashem that we desire for that strength to serve Him.
Teshuva is using real free will on free will itself, meaning that we take on the awareness that we desire to change our choices and our inner makeup to be like and with Hashem out of love and with simcha.
This is within reach. It may take a lifetime, but it is the way that we can answer the question, what is my avodas Hashem in the moment? Whatever it is that Hashem wants from me, which is in those circumstances, with those feelings, to choose to love Him over the illusion of how we feel, for that is, in fact, an illusion from which we may extract the Shechina in exile and re-garment Infinite Light into our mitzvahs and thereby build our eternal identity.
We are here to be a channel for real light to flow into the world. What does it take? It takes emunah, awareness, and the use of prayer and free will to ask Hashem for all of our heart and all of our soul and all of our might to serve Him over the deficient messages that our natural thinking devises.
Do you believe that you are a part of Infinity that is here as a channle for Infinite Light to flow into the world? Have you ever felt the sincha of the mitzvahs that is there when we choose this? If so, the path of building upon this is infinite.
If not, how do you feel about beginning a hisbodedus , a personal dialoguing with Hashem on a daily basis? Yes, seeing our sense of self as something to nullify sounds huge and scary, however, that is just a message of the natural order that simply wants our life force for its goals rather than for eternal goals. Nullifying the sense of our natural feelings actually brings out our essence as one with Hashem, the actual place that literally has value because it is from the only Being that has value, Hashem. We have value whether or not we realize this, as does every person. We have real free will to grow our awareness of it and to bring all our strength to its goals.
What hurts us more than what we lack is the messages we tell ourselves about what the lack means. This we can nullify. Let us be willing to suspend belief in the illusion of circumstances that Hashem sends to us through defracted light and illusory interpreations so that we may corral all of the sparks and do what He desires, to flow the light into garments of repair – learning Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs.
May the descriptions here make it possible for us to find these threads within us when we are experiencing darkness and may the pathway to strengthen emunah and ask Hashem for mercy so that we do not fall away from Him be granted a yes as we move to do His Good Will in the world. And may we see a new light with simcha and everlasting love.