This article was previously published in 2017.
Have you had moments when you feel like you are playing a losing game? Where it seems you always end up with the same sort of relationships, or with the same scenarios in finances? Or maybe you are always trying to ditch the same 15 pounds? If so, you are not alone. These times can be frustrating, and can make you feel like you don't want to make any effort at all.
We as human beings often get caught up trying to control the external elements of our lives. We see people, places, or situations as the source of our problems. The kabbalists, however, have a totally different perspective: The areas that give us the most trouble and frustration are the areas where there is the greatest potential for spiritual transformation. With this knowledge, we can begin to see our greatest challenges are truly our greatest blessings.
The Baal Shem Tov wrote, “Creation can be likened to a picture puzzle that has been disassembled. Our purpose is to reassemble the puzzle, so that we too, can be considered co-creators of the world. Each time we effect a spiritual transformation of our nature -- choosing good over evil, sharing over receiving -- we connect a piece of the puzzle.”
We are here to transform our Desire to Receive for the Self Alone into a Desire to Receive for the Sake of Sharing. That is the only real spiritual battle of our daily lives, and it is this very battle which is spoken of in this week's portion, Ki Tetze.
The words Ki Tetze translate to, "When you go out (to battle)." In any given moment, there are two streams of consciousness within us. One is the stream that thinks of ourselves only, that is caught up in our woe and worry, that looks for instant gratification, that is doubtful and fearful of what is to come or what has been. It might be the voice that says, "I give up with all of this spirituality. It's hogwash. None of it has worked anyway."
Then there is another stream, which is One with the river of all lifeforms. This stream considers how we might benefit others, how we might fulfill our purpose, how we might be present and aware in this moment, how we might garner inner strength. This stream is certain that no matter what, the Light is always with us, even and especially when we don't see it.
Once we become aware of how these two streams of consciousness are presenting in any given moment, we are set to choose which we will jump into. Will we fall victim and give in to the doubts? Or we will maintain the certainty that where we are is exactly where we are meant to be and we are totally capable of overcoming that which is before us?
This week there is a cosmic opening through which we can receive a boost of energy to fight this battle. For it is in this inner overcoming that we reveal Light for the whole world. Every time we step out of our comfort zone to be there for another, every time we choose to see the good in another instead of judging them, every time we resist our doubts in the Light Force of the Creator, we are lighting another candle in the darkness. We are putting another seed on the cosmic scales.
Michelangelo's David, sculpted from 1501 to 1504, is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture. It is one of the most famous works of art on this planet. What I find so interesting is that the statue portrays Biblical King David at the moment that he decides to do battle with Goliath. How very appropriate.
We all have Goliaths to face in our lives. As long as there is breath in our lungs we will have challenges to overcome. This week, may we receive the energy we all need to be willing to poise ourselves internally and generate the Light to see us through it.