Curves in the Road
One of my favorite quotes from my father, the Rav, is: our goal in life is to leave this world a different person than the way we entered. This is, in a nutshell, the kabbalistic view of life - it’s about constant change and growth.
One of the ways we are assisted in achieving this purpose is by being pushed in a different direction than we set for ourselves – or being pushed off it altogether. In the course of our lives, we set important goals that we work towards completing. But the Rav is teaching us that what really counts is that we are changed in the process of attaining our goals.
It’s about the journey – not the destination.
Yes, goals are essential, for without them we would be directionless. However, their achievement is not why we were born. We were born to change. But, oftentimes the moment something gets in the way of our plans, we become disappointed.
A new way of viewing this is that there is a greater process at work that is constantly working to assist us in our personal process of change. It’s about shifting our consciousness and enjoying the process. To better understand this, we can use the example of Abraham, who most of us know as the first person to come to an understanding of the Creator, on his own. When God first communicates to Abraham, it is to tell him, “Go from your house, go from where you were born, and go to a place I will show you.”
The Kabbalists ask an important question, “Why doesn’t God tell Abraham where he’s going?”
In this question we find the first message given to Abraham: if you are going to accomplish your mission in this world, you must know it’s not about where you are going, but about the changes you go through in order to get there.
Another deeper concept is that it’s safe to assume most of us want to get beyond the place where we are now. We want to be better, more fulfilled, more conscious and aware. Yet, this place we are striving towards is beyond us, so how can we see it? We can’t. It is a logical fallacy.
Therefore, the Creator is teaching Abraham - and all humanity - that the basis of all our spiritual work, our purpose, will only become manifest when we go through a process that is sometimes lacking in clarity, a process we don’t always understand, a process that to our mind takes us off the goals we want to accomplish.
The change we have to go through during the process is what’s most important.
In my own life, teachers sometimes share with me their frustration at not reaching as many people as they had hoped to reach. I remind them that while we need goals, our uppermost desire is the change that will come from the process, not the goals themselves.
When we truly internalize this idea, the complications that contort the straight path we had hoped to continue upon won’t upset us. In fact, we will embrace them.
There is a beautiful verse from Isaiah: “those who walk in darkness will see the great light.” What this wonderful line teaches us is that the road of life is often difficult and dark, and at times we can feel like we are completely off the path. And yet, paradoxically, it is the process of pushing - despite lacking clarity - that will give us clarity and bring us closer to seeing great blessings in our lives.
To truly internalize this teaching, when your plans and goals are derailed or interrupted, instead of being crushed and filled with doubt, get excited about it and continue pushing. Continue asking where you can reveal Light and become aware that life is leading you through this because it is the best way for you to change and reveal your potential, now.
Trust the process. Know that what happens to you through the challenges, changes and curves on the road to your goal is the goal.
Share this Article