When we believe illusions that cause us to invest our happiness in matters that relate to our survival, the level of comfort, the feelings of esteem based on status and honor, without intending to do so, we are investing in the strength of nature, in the powers of worldly reality. It is imperative to remember at all times that Hashem is the Source for absolutely everything, including giving us happiness on the level that we relate to it most. The paradox is that to secure the level of happiness through our senses, our comprehension must be that the only happiness there is comes from serving Hashem and doing mitzvahs. If we did not have a Torah, we would never latch onto that truth. But we do have the Torah. Ignoring it or interpreting it otherwise aligns us in a dangerous place, the domain of the forces that Hashem sets up to shepherd us back.
The simple teshuva to turn back to Hashem is to remember that we were once in a womb where all our needs were taken care of and we were learning Torah. As soon as we are born, we come into a lower existence and the purpose is to acquire for Hashem the animating forces of this world, bringing into them His Glory through our intentions, emotions and deeds that are rooted in Torah.
Despite all our varying personalities and uniquenesses, everyone is expected to do this. When we feel negative emotions it is because our ego is undergoing a disunity. No matter how upset we are, if we go into a quiet room and sit with a delicious drink, and no one is around at all to blame, it must become obvious that we are not in any immediate danger of dying if we let go of that negative feeling. Not only won’t harm come to us, but we will receive bracha.
What is in the way is our identity. It is so painful to do this if we are identifying with anything other than our effort to reveal tzelem elokim.
Hashem is One. He is the Soul and Value in the world. Tzelem elokim is inseparable from Him. We have layers over it in order to exist in this lower world. The task is to recognize and identify tzelem elokim as our primary and eternal identity even though we don’t experience life this way. Torah tells us. We have the examples of the Avos and tzaddikim. It is okay for us to understand we are not on that level. It is false to think that there is another esteem out there to be had that is deserving of honor and respect.
Thus it is up to us, no matter what bad characteristics and/or horrible circumstances Hashem has created for us in setting our free will point, to move in our thoughts to remembering that we are inseparable from Hashem. The soul is the deepest thing in the universe and it connects all the way to the soul of Nishmas Am Yisrael which exists in the highest created world where all Jewish souls are one, where that one soul is one with Torah and with Hashem’s Name yud k vav k. What our reality is can be affected by Hashem in one moment. If it is good for us.
Let’s say we believe and do mitzvahs, and things are not better. What is our true preference, for the good of this world or for feeling inseparable from Hashem?
“When He is far, I am troubled. But when He is near, I am terrified. When I am absent, He is present. But when I am present He is absent” ( unknown source)
Integrated knowledge of Hashem means that He can reside in our hearts without giving us a headache! If He is present and we choose to be inflated in our self-referencing, He departs until we are able to subdue the animating forces from the kelipas by asking Him to please bring them into service. Understanding that the experience of His Great Love is so far above the happiness that we are usually associated to is the beginning of grinding down the pride in our heart for doing our mitzvahs and serving Him. The experience of His Love is the most motivating experience to humble our hearts. Yet until we experience a taste of His Great Love, we cling to self-referencing pleasures related to time, space, body and ego. Without meaning to, we fund forces to shepherd us back to Him. We don’t mean to, but by allowing happiness to be held captive by externalities, we trap the Shechina that we are sent here instead to dissolve back into the Ein Sof and draw into the elements to solidify His Glory in this world. This is our functionality, to be the neck between earth and heaven. Happiness will elude us and blame and shame won’t help. Happiness was, is, and always must be a byproduct of mitzvahs and experiencing the inseparabilitiy of our tzelem elokim with Hashem. It is just so confusing now because of having eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – internally we mistake where happiness is rooted.
But we can pull all this back by identifying with our effort to reveal tzelem elokim, His Attributes of Mercy. the more vibration we create each day around our effort to reveal His attributes of mercy, the less difficulty we have with the paradox of body and soul. and the more courage we have to dip into the territory of nature to dissolve back into the Ein Sof the animating forces by virtue of our verbalizing in prayers and words of recognition that it is all from Hashem Who is Good and One. Each word brings all our past failures from the side of darkness to the side of holiness, for that is teshuva.
May we be inspired to shift our identity to effort to reveal Hashem’s mercy, revealing tzelem elokim as discussed in Tomer Devorah:
bearing the burden of the confusion of mind that is the paradox since ingesting from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
asking for forgiveness for ever thinking there is any glory other than Hashem
asking Hashem to bring the animating forces from fears of abandonment and annihilation to dissolve back into the Ein Sof and to give us in our hearts that energy to reveal His Glory in this world
Ask for our sins to be cast into the sea and ask to be part of casting all our sins into the sea, that by virtue of this teshuva we have standing to clean up these errors for klal yisrael .