Life is a battle. It is a constant struggle of contradictions, each seemingly at the polar opposite of each other. And while I understand that these contradictions are necessary, if for nothing else than to help define and empower the other, it is a hard thing to be between… to know that at any one time you may have good and you may have bad. Talk about the proverbial Rock and a Hard Place
In order for good to be good, we need bad or evil to exist in order to balance it out… to define it… to shed LIGHT on it, and to EMPOWER what good truly is.
We only see the LIGHT in the DARKNESS. And where there is light, there can be NO DARKNESS.
Eckhart Tolle writes that every event in life is neutral. They are DEFINED based on how we react and respond to them. This was a difficult idea for me to conceptualize and accept… An almost impossible idea! How could a tragedy be looked at with neutrality???
But in Judaism, the philosophy is the same… If and only if we TRUST IN HASHEM.
While we are in the midst of a TEST or a life event, it is often impossible to see it in an objective manner. We may make rash decisions and judgements, may curse our pain and frustration. And it is only AFTER THE FACT that we MAY see the true lesson… the reason for why this thing happened in the first place.
However, it is also possible that we will not get that definitive explanation we seek… and THIS is where FAITH and EMUNAH come strongly into play. We must be OKAY with the UNKNOWN… EMBRACE IT… recognize that Hashem has a higher purpose for all of us, and a reason for everything, and that we just might not get to understand it… YET!
I get all of that, but boy, oh boy… This is just ONE of my struggles with faith.
If you are like me, you want to be in control over certain things, or at least to know that you can control certain elements of your life. The idea of giving this up ain’t easy.
And yet, FAITH IN THE ALMIGHTY requires us, compels us, and in a way comforts us to know that there are things far bigger than ourselves. This doesn’t mean we LITERALLY GIVE UP and stop working and trying, but we have to recognize and BELIEVE that Hashem wants us to succeed and rise above the challenges.
On the other hand (yes, that might be three or four hands) it sure seems like life would be better without all these TESTS.
Upon finding out that the husband of an old friend of mine (who passed away a few years ago), just passed away himself, I was distraught, confused, heartbroken.
I was upset that we had lost touch, troubled that perhaps I had not done enough to be present, and devastated that two teenage boys were now without either of their parents.
“Life is amazing… and brutal.
Joyous… and heart breaking.
Fulfilling… and empty.
Easy… and sometimes so damn hard.”
I wrote a lot more, but am realizing day by day, that while we absolutely need to learn from the past, we cannot live there, and so… we need to give it up.
While we absolutely need to plan for our future, we need to give that up, too. Give it up to the realization that there are things beyond our control. Have Faith… Have Trust.
Not easy, especially in the chaos and uncertainty that is today’s world. I am literally dizzy on a daily basis.
So how do we GIVE UP in a healthy manner?
Limit the amount of news we watch. Take care of ourselves, first and foremost (I refer to the Oxygen mask analogy and how we are no good to ANYONE ELSE, until we are safe and secure ourselves) and then love and take care of our friends and families. And give up to Prayer and Meditation.
And for those of you who may not be “religious,” do not be afraid of the word prayer. You can embrace it as a conversation with your Father or Friend, as the brilliant Rebbe Nachman taught us. Think of it as TALKING OUT LOUD… ASKING FOR WHAT YOU WANT… and DISCUSSING BOTH THE “GOOD AND THE BAD” of your day and life. It is a chance to talk through your issues and problems and try to gain perspective and understanding and if you are open to it, a new gameplay and course of action.
You can embrace the “secular” Meditation and Mindfulness, which is so often attributed to Buddhism, yet ironically, can be traced back to Judaism and the Prophets, and certainly Kabbalah, as it teaches virtually the same thing… TO LET GO. TO CLEAR YOUR MIND. TO BE OPEN AND TO GIVE YOURSELF UP to the moment and be constantly PRESENT AND AWARE!
The following comes from the new Oprah / Deepak Chopra 21-Day Free Meditation Challenge, but can be found in similar, sometimes identical wording in Judaism and other philosophies and religions.
“EVERY DAY GIVES US THE CHANCE TO START OVER.”
“PERCEIVED FAILURE IS JUST LIFE TRYING TO MOVE US IN ANOTHER DIRECTION.”
“WE ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS.”
“FROM THE SOUL’S PERESPCTIVE THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SUCCESS OR FAILURE, THERE IS ONLY THE PRESENT MOMENT, WHICH IS FILLED WITH INFINITE POSSIBILITIES”
We are all the same in so many ways… We all have similar dreams and hopes… So do not stop fighting and moving towards a fulfilled and joyous and blissful life… but know that sometimes, there are things we have to GIVE UP… our thoughts and notions… our control and need to cling to the past… our cluttered and noisy brains.
Quiet, peace, calm, serenity… Be open and listen. Hashem and the universe… our very hearts and souls are trying to speak to us and break through the clutter. Give yourself up to that.
Shalom. Namaste. May we all find the peace we seek.