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What was the last risk you took? Think back and try to pinpoint a time when you knew the results of your actions could bring you discomfort. Maybe you decided not to return for your umbrella and risked getting soaked in the afternoon rain. Or maybe you risked being late to a meeting in order to stop for coffee. Whatever decision you made likely involved weighing two outcomes, even if you only gave the matter mere seconds of consideration. You decided getting a little wet wasn’t a big deal or attending a meeting without caffeine would be more tragic than being late.
But what about bigger, more significant risks? A risk is the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen. Kabbalists teach that the things that matter in life often involve putting ourselves in some kind of risky situation – opening ourselves up to things like ridicule, failure, heartbreak, or extreme discomfort.
Of course, this is not to be confused with physical risk. Kabbalists honor the value life and the importance of wellbeing. The kind of risk we’re talking about is taking a chance for the greater good. And it all comes down to action.
We will never find fulfillment or bring more Light into the world unless we decide to take meaningful action. Blessings do not manifest in our lives unless we actually do something. No matter how earnestly we wish to make a difference in the world, we can’t create change unless we make a move, and most of the time that move involves some kind of risk.
Karen Berg advises that we, “see where and how we are holding back from speaking up or from making a change simply because we are afraid.” She goes on to explain, “Our self-examination may take us out of our comfort zone, but making a change is often not comfortable – or safe. So let’s ask ourselves what in our lives makes us consider that we are too insignificant to make a difference? What in our lives makes us fearful and holds us back from taking action? How can we expand ourselves to be greater beings of sharing?”
When you are faced with matters of spiritual growth, the consequences have a larger impact and can be far reaching. How do we know when a risk is worth taking? Ask yourself what you risk by not taking action.
Imagine you see a child being bullied at the park. Stepping in could lead to a confrontation with a parent or caregiver, which can be uncomfortable. But not taking action could result in the child’s low self-esteem or the child passing the negativity he receives on to another child, continuing the cycle of bullying.
When we weigh a risk we are often weighing things in terms of “being comfortable” or “being uncomfortable.” If those are the only two options, chances are we will opt for comfort. However, if we take our comfort out of the equation and instead consider the comfort or discomfort of someone else, we are far more likely to feel the risk is worth it and take action.
Remember, the Light is always on our side when we want to do good in the world. It will assist us no matter how great the risk. “Once a person decides to do the right thing – to do whatever it takes to connect to the Light of the Creator – miracles will occur to support that person,” says Michael Berg. When you stay focused on the “why” behind a risk, you’ll almost certainly find yourself asking, “Why not?”