The Foundation of the World
We hear a lot about “The Law of Attraction” – that like attracts like – and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, we can bring about positive or negative results. The idea is based on the belief that people and their thoughts are both made from pure energy, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.
Although there are cases where positive or negative attitudes can produce corresponding results (as with placebo and nocebo effects), there is no universally accepted scientific basis to the law of attraction – so it remains subject to skepticism and criticism. After all, if the universe manifests abundance at a mere thought, why is there so much starvation, poverty and death in the world?
Yet, we see virtually all “New Age” authors and spiritual guides, as well as many successful entrepreneurs, athletes and industry leaders practice and preach about this law that is connected to the concept of “mind over matter” – that our thoughts can effect our reality – that our energy can be experienced by and affect other people – that our thoughts are creating the vessels to draw in and receive that which we are thinking.
We can see this play out when we are in a “bad” mood and wake up thinking about bad things – and how our day can just spiral downward as we meet every new experience with a negative track playing in our brains. We see the bad in things, we expect more bad to occur, so when something comes at us that would require a bit of effort to yield into a positive, we just openly accept our first negative reaction to it. We are already prepared to draw in more negativity.
But if we wake up in a bad mood, and exert energy to get ourselves into a better head space, we broadcast to the world that we are not going to just accept the negativity that may be thrown at us – we challenge our challenges and seek to spin them in a positive way – we have an underlying belief that all is somehow for the good even though we don’t understand how it is good – but this keeps us from spiraling out of control. We meet another challenge and we don’t just automatically accept it as bad, we look to spin it further, see it from another perspective – it doesn’t merge into our internal negative thinking because we broke that pattern this morning by changing our thought patterns. We are sending out frequencies of strength, healing, confidence, faith, positive energy – and the world around us responds in kind. We show up with a broader base of ourselves – and to those who are energetically sensitive (like many of the New Age leaders, sages, successful entrepreneurs and athletes) this is more impactful than what meets the eye. That’s the law of attraction.
We are really all subject to the law of attraction. Just look at the earth’s gravitational pull. Everything we see originates from the earth, and we all move and rest on the earth. The only way to detach and move away from the earth is through a countering force.
The extent to which something moves away from the earth is in proportion to the strength of the countervailing force – and when the countervailing force is depleted, the object returns and falls to the earth. This is because the earth has a gravitational pull – and if it didn’t, nothing could exist on it – everything would just fall off because the earth is round. And there’s a lot more than just physics to learn from this.
Like all laws of physicality, there is understanding the law itself and how this law effects other things in the physical world – and then there is comprehending how this physical law represents deeper energetic and spiritual laws. Why did the Creator set this law into effect? Just to learn about it on the surface and how it applies to the Creator’s other creations? OK, that’s interesting, but are we OK with just being observers and explorers, or do we seek more meaningful connection with and deeper understanding of what our Creator is communicating to us through His laws of creation?
And once you cross over the line of physicality and go beyond the boundaries of time and space to learn about and draw from the essence of that which affects time and space, it naturally becomes an easy target for skepticism and criticism. You cannot measure something that cannot be measured or precisely describe the indescribable.
It is my humble opinion that within our physical bodies, we have an eternal soul which gravitates to the Source – and through exploring the deeper significance of the laws of nature to reveal energetic and spiritual laws, we reveal a system which leads our souls, and all that we seek to uplift, back to the Source – like a stone returning to the dust after being cast high into the sky.
Rebbe Nachman teaches in L”M #70 that the Tzadik (the righteous spiritual master) is the aspect of earthly dust – he is the world’s foundation – all things stand on him – and, like earth, he has an attracting force through which he draws everything to himself.
He also states that similar to the singular earth we live on, “there is only one such tzadik in the world – the world’s foundation from which all things are drawn, even other tzaddikim (righteous sages)”.
And the characteristics that Rebbe Nachman uses to describe this single tzadik: “Humble” and “modest”. He makes himself like dust – this is why he is the foundation of the world.
Rebbe Nachman also shares a powerful understanding of a phrase that is included in the Amidah (the silent standing prayer we say 3x/day). Toward the end of the Amidah, we recite “and may my soul be like dust to all” – like dust, it should have an attracting force for drawing everything to it. Through humility and modesty, we draw an influx of bounty to ourselves.
Just like with the earth, there are countervailing forces which detach and distance people from the tzadik – and their distance is in proportion to the strength of the countervailing force. But when this countervailing force is depleted, they return and draw close to the tzadik’s attracting force.
The natural question to ask is, “who is this sole tzadik”?
I learned from my guide that if a person is traveling in the dessert and they get lost and lose track of time and do not know what day the Sabbath is, they have to treat every day like it is the Sabbath. So they are subject to the laws of Sabbath every day they are lost and can only do the work they need in order to save their lives, as it is not considered as though one violates the laws of Sabbath if the action is performed in order to save a life.
But he still has to pick one day of the week to say Kiddush (the sanctification of the Sabbath on Friday night when Sabbath begins) and Havdalah (the ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Sabbath) – the celebratory rituals of drawing in and letting go of the Sabbath.
I think the message he was conveying to me was that for those who are seeking the true tzadik, and cannot determine who the true tzadik, “the foundation of the world” is, they should draw from and treat all tzaddikim as potential candidates – but pick one that they develop a deep connection to, and believe might in fact be that true tzadik to celebrate.