Have you ever played a card game where you take the top card and turn it over to show its face? The games often proceed until all the cards are on the pile that shows the face, each one turned over. The backs of the cards are all the same but each card has a unique suit and number combination.
The progress that we are given for our lifetime is to turn over the cards and reveal its face…Hashem’s compassion…otherwise concealed by the uniform back of the cards.
The uniform back of the cards is our nature, those commonly held tendencies called urges, lusts, desires, cravings, jealousy, and pursuit of honor that we experience as a result of being in bodies that conceal the true reality. The true reality is that Hashem is doing everything and that He is all there is.
Hashem has concealed Himself in this world because He has a will for there to be a world. He has a will for there to be a world in which His Compassion is felt while not obscuring His Creations. Thus Hashem conceals Himself in the Name Elokim, meaning that Infinite light comes into the world through the four foundations of nature, solid, liquid, gas and radioactive particles. Regardless of what format these take from the microscopic to the cosmic, the utterances He speaks that conceal His Infinite Light surround us and He runs nature and the world.
Hashem made man on the sixth day after all of creation and placed within man a connection to all that He made. The categories are inanimate, vegetable, animal, human and angelic or divine.
How does all of this play out in our moment to moment lives?
Is there anyone who is free from emotional pain? Perhaps we have been insulted, bullied, shamed, blamed, scorned, rejected, hurt, tormented, victimized in some way. What role does nature take in these matters?
We feel throughout our being these emotions. Where is the strength of the feeling coming from? If we want to put it down, does it turn off? Why not? Why does it cause us to shake or panic seemingly without our permission? Where does it get the strength to do that..it is not plugged into the wall? What power does it have?
Hashem gives us a life force. We are alive because Hashem, the only Being that is really alive, gives us the experience of life by placing a tiny emanation of His Life into our body. This is called our soul. However, the body obscures that divine consciousness, that awareness that we are here as an ambassador of His Light to bring His Will into fruition.
The body is composed of solid, liquid, gas and radioactive atomic particles that work together according to Hashem’s design but He fills everything. His Light is in everything. Thus, when we are reacting to something, it is our lack of divine awareness in that moment that sends us a message that there is some other reason we are in our situation or experience. The cloud around our awareness of Hashem renders us vulnerable to fear, insult and damaging back.
This cloud would be like the back of the cards…we all understand what this is. We are lured into sleepiness or comfort or pursuit of happinesses that answer our urges, lusts and cravings. What lures us? The false belief that happiness can come from somewhere besides recognizing Hashem and doing His Will dresses up as “who we are” and we believe we have some kind of separate consciousness and identity and that we are here to freely pursue these motivations.
How may we dissipate this clouded thinking? The awareness that Hashem has given us real free will is to apply it to where we pursue our happiness.
But we do not naturally feel happiness in doing Hashem’s will. Our bodies are attached to physicality. And this describes human nature, our universal back of the card.
How do we work with this information to turn over the card and reveal Hashem’s love?
Reflect for a moment on something that has caused insult, hurt, or pain emotionally. Perhaps someone said something that brought into our consciousness an experience of shame or blame or rejection or fear or powerlessness.
Our first reaction is that someone hurt us.
Here are some steps to train ourselves in a pursuit of happiness and simcha in these moments.
What came from outside of us comes from Hashem alone. What we are feeling inside is because we are attached to a message in which Hashem’s light – a part of the soul that He blesses us with – somehow attached to a similar message in a belief or value, something that developed in the way we attach to physicality.
The message from outside brings up the message we are attached to inside that is false. However our instinct is to parry with the external message, without realizing necessarily that what Hashem is asking is something He has created us to do, which is to release our soul from what we are internally attached to so that we may instead reveal His Light through acts of learning Torah, praying, acts of chesed and mitzvahs.
Just like in a boxing match, we focus on the external message and begin to put up our fists to fight back. What is happening there is that we are actually bringing more of our life force and inserting it into the realm of that very message Hashem is asking us to detach from so that our life force may flow into the world according to His Will.
It doesn’t feel like that though. It feels like we are insulted, hurt, shamed, afraid, pained, rejected, bullied, blamed, intimidated and on and on.
Thus it is important to identify the culprits that send these messages, which the Arizal teaches us are the pit, the ox, the destroyer and the fire – these outer messages are filled with Hashem’s compassion that He gives to nature in order for there to be a world and to give us real free will. The message of the pit, the ox, the destroyer and the fire are a vessel concealing His Light, vessels that He creates and sustains. Everything is Hashem, ein od. Yet He agrees to abide by the laws of nature that He creates as Elokim. He gives consciousness to man in order that we recognize Him and, through that recognition, shower compassion upon His Light trapped in nature, thereby providing a channel across which His Light may pass out of the natural message and into a mitzvah.
When we feel gored it is because we have a message within us that we have associated our life force with. Hashem is knocking on our hearts asking us to recognize Him and to please shower compassion upon the life force inside the message so that it may instead come through our thoughts and speech and deeds into the world as lovingkindness, gentle light, gentle warmth and kiddush Hashem. In order to do this, we actually align ourselves with Hashem’s attribute of compassion and THAT is the first step to healing. By showering compassion we are identifying with the true reality that we are made in His Image and that we can give compassionately back to Him. We tell Hashem that our natural messages are painful, etc, and that we refuse to fall, that we recognize Him and are loving Him back and showering compassion on the life that is vivifying the message because it is our will to bring it forward into the world through the performance of Torah, avoda, chesed and mitzvahs. And then we ask for His Compassion…Hashem please have mercy on Your Creation and bring Your Light forward to this mitzvah, as it is my will to do Your Will out of love and awe of You.
The sparring that we do with the message often includes thinking thoughts. This adds our soul into the darkness. Instead, see water, wind, fire and earth in what we are experiencing, and say Hashem I am experiencing deficiencies in water wind and fire….it feels insulting, damaging, frightening, etc..please may I be a channel to flow water wind and fire as You Hashem want it in the world and not according to my limited intellect and according to false messages to which I am attached. Please have mercy on me.
When we find ourselves sparring, being pulled back to the messages that are seemingly coming from the outside but are really concealing divine awareness that He is everyting and loves us and that He is all there is, immediately shift to showering compassion upon the Shechina in exile in the entire matter, water wind fire, loving Him back, recognizing Him. Experience the patterns without words, just as emotions, and attempt to see them as water wind and fire…where does it feel that I do not have love or something nurturing or something that I want? Where does it feel cloudy, as if I am insulated in my own comforts and gratifications? Do I feel bitten, trampled or gored and do I have instincts to do the same? Where am I feeling my own honor as important, ready to destroy the ones who may have infringed upon the image that I hold so dear? And what is this burning rage or fear that seems to consume me?
These are external messages that are internal. These common messages are the back of the cards that we all share.
Asking ourselves these questions helps us to see that these are not our essence.
Showering compassion upon the life force, the Shechina in exile, that is animating and vivifying these messages is the call to action that recognizes Hashem, emulates His compassion which immediately brings us to the bleachers on the chaos, and places us in a posture ready to use our real free will to serve Him.
The longer we have held these messages, the stronger they feel. We are experiencing our own life force trapped there. Do we wish to add more to the darkness or can we see that no matter what, we do not wish for His Light to be in such a dark and seething place? When we realize that, THAT is compassion on the Shechina in exile. In that moment, we have extricated ourselves to run back to Him – He is doing everything and all there is in the world is Hashem. Everything we think and feel in between is subject now to be healed through that nullification. We ask Hashem for this mercy.
His Light animates the pit, the ox, the destroyer and the fire. When we shower compassion upon it, our life force becomes the channel for that light to flow from the deepest concealment at the fiftieth level of tuma to the fiftieth level of kedusha, His Light. Through our love and awe and will. Everything in between is healed and rectified when we take the opportunity to identify with the truth
Each time we run and return, we are turning over another card and revealing more and more light into the world. May our awareness of Hashem grow and may we find the simcha for which He creates us so that the Light He gives to nature may flow into the world as revealed and not concealed.
And may Hashem be pleased by our efforts and have compassion on us as we return Light to Him from love.