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Every day, we experience things that are outside of our control. No matter how well we plan or prepare, we are bound to encounter unexpected turns in life—some that have the potential to completely throw us off kilter. Regardless of whether we experience positive or negative surprises in life, each of these encounters and situations plays an important part in awakening our inner Light so we may each live up to our highest potential.
Kabbalists teach that in any given moment, we straddle two very powerful forces. The energy of compassion, sharing, and positivity encourages us to continuously work towards becoming more connected and loving versions of ourselves. All the while negative energy compels us to receive for ourselves alone and act on instant gratification in order to achieve momentary fulfillment. These opposing forces are in continuous play in our lives.
When you hear someone gossiping about someone who isn’t present, do you speak up for them or stand by quietly? When you encounter mean-spiritedness or bullying, do you step in and diffuse the moment or turn and look the other way? In both hypothetical instances, we are placed between two invisible forces. It is our choice which direction we sway. And our choice has the power to bring Light into any situation through our positive actions.
“Each one of us has a perfected version of ourselves, a ‘righteous soul’ within,” says Karen Berg. “Every day we have opportunities to tap into this part of ourselves; to show up and make choices as the person we aspire to be, no matter what current challenges we are dealing with. We always have a choice to treat others with human dignity, to listen, and to share our energy in positive ways.”
Obviously Light and positivity play a role in our spiritual development and positive actions benefit the world far more than we’ll ever know. Yet, what many of us don’t realize is that negative forces are just as vital to our growth. “Because of the negative force, we have an opportunity to choose the direction of our lives at every moment,” says Michael Berg. “Remember: choice makes it possible for us to earn the Creator’s beneficence. Without choice, lasting fulfillment is impossible.”
Opportunities to make transformative life choices occur in our lives every day. How we respond to these situations has the potential to change us in significant ways, for better or worse. Not only that, our choices impact the lives of others and therefore, the world as a whole. Even seemingly small actions, like offering a friend a ride or greeting a stranger with a smile can have lasting effects. We may never know the long term results of our actions. Yet, every effect begins with a cause.
Our negative actions impact the lives of others, just as easily as our positive actions. No thoughtless gesture or moment of anger occurs without an energetic consequence. No matter how insignificant we think our actions are they hold the power to influence the world beyond our small circle. It is our job to act with compassion, consider how we can share more openly, and restrict ourselves when faced with negativity. Better choices create change internally and externally. “Resisting our self-serving nature in everyday life,” says Michael Berg, “is an external act that awakens our own inner potential, and that of everyone else, as well.” When we realize how powerfully the external can awaken the internal we not only change ourselves, but the entire world at large.
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