The Joyous Sculpter
“But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8)
Who do we want to be in our life? What are we looking to accomplish during these few years?
These questions deserve sincere reflection and come down to an honest dialogue with ourselves – the establishment of a goal, and a system designed to measure our progress toward achieving it.
We know it’s not going to be smooth sailing, it’s gonna be filled with tests and challenges, let downs and new beginnings, joy and satisfaction, contemplation and meaning.
I have found that I keep running into the same obstacles over and over again until I take the necessary action to overcome the obstacle. And then I am faced with a brand new one.
Frustration and pain come from bumping up against the same old obstacle and walking away in defeat. It brings up and exposes our weakness and perceived limitations. How we respond to the exposure of our weakness defines who we are. When the pain of repeated defeat reaches a certain threshold, we either give up and settle – or we summon up the strength to push through and overcome. With this comes a feeling of satisfaction. The satisfaction of exerting the required effort to overcome our test – the joy of exercising our will to reach new heights.
It all comes down to will. In Hebrew, the word will is called Ratzon. With regard to the power of will, it is said, nothing stands before the force of one’s will, and, there is nothing as forceful as will.
Keter (Crown), the pinnacle on the Tree of Life is referred to as Ratzon – which means God’s Will or Desire. The nature of Keter is Ain (No-thingness) – and Ain Sof (the Infinite) – God’s Will is, therefore, the potential of creation -from beginning to end – Infinite Potential. Yet, at the same time – God’s Will is all that was, is or ever shall be – and through potential, God’s Will is everything actualized.
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27)
We were created with the power – and are the only ones who can implement change in our lives. We can continue to just wing it, waking up to the same reality each morning, bumping into the same obstacles, or we can design a system to reshape ourselves into who we really are at our highest potential. This is our Work – and it applies to our career, our physical health, our emotional state, and our spiritual evolution.
No one else can do this Work for you. You can be inspired by the teaching of others, by friends, guides and sages but no one else can do the work for you. They can only remind you of the work that must be done and model for you how to get it done.
We are dealt with circumstances which we are capable of handling – and we were given the tools to reach our potential – but the desire has to come from within, and it must be strong enough. We need to reach that place where we close our eyes and just jump into our potential no matter what is in front of us. We need to identify with our will – not with who we see in the mirror at this moment. Our reflection constantly changes – our level of desire is a choice – and it is our desire that the Source is looking for from us.
You can take away someone’s health, you can take away their freedom, you can take away their loved ones – but you can never take away their desire.
We need to get to that place where we feel that we have nothing left to lose. This can come through tragedy or it can come through reasoning – our own realization that the same old is not working – it’s not enough.
Without actively shaping our lives – pushing through obstacles through the implementation of our will, we continue the cycle of pain – from the perspective of the distance between where we are versus who we are. And who we really are, is not limited by the obstacles we face. Who we really are is our desire, our will.
The Source is the molder and we are his clay – and our role is to align with His attributes and mold our experience. Like He carved a space for creation to exists and manifest through His will, so to must we carve that space within ourselves – pushing aside our limitations – making room for our potential to be unleashed. We can only accomplish this through the exertion of our will.
Joy comes from the strength of applying our will – to becoming a more evolved person – to overcome adversity and challenge.
Pain comes from letting the cycles of defeat repeat themselves over and over again – but it’s important that we understand why this process is perfect and necessary – without that pain – that reminder – we would not have the impetus to summon the strength to make that change -so discomfort is really our friend on the path of growth.
We see it during physical therapy- we need to get in touch with that point of pain and gently work through it to expand from our current state of constriction to gain increased flexibility and strength.
The method to initiate, implement and monitor the process of exerting our will successfully is through spending time in Hitbodidut (active personal reflective meditative dialogue with the Source – where we lay it all out on the table as if we are talking with our best friend) – reviewing where we are, taking stock of our current state, being honest, reminding ourselves who we really are and where we need to get to. Identifying the blockages in the way – and charting day after day our path and progress.
Hitbodidut is the biggest blow to the adversary for this purpose – because it threatens his grip over us remaining stuck in the same cycle of limitation and defeat.
Hitbodidut is a valuable tool for lasting change. It’s wise to force ourselves to start.
The time for honesty is now. The time for growth is now. The time to implement change is now.
We can spend hours every day in a state of anxiety. It is critical to implement a few minutes a day dedicated to becoming who we are and want to be. This is our time – these few years to become who we are, accomplish our soul correction, reach our potential.
Rebbe Nachman said that Hitbodidut is the most important thing.
Hitbodidut is when we shine a clear light on the paralyzing characteristics which hold us back. Spending time saying “I have the power to design my life – who I want to be – to design the person I want to be”. I may not know exactly how the steps are to be taken but I do have an idea of the person I wanna be. I don’t wanna be a victim. I have the power to operate as the designer, to make the change – to take inventory of what’s not working and design plans of what will work.
We are taught that at the end, we are measured by our desire. The Source wants our Will. In order to build up our will, we need to be placed into circumstances that test it – so that we can have the opportunity to exert it at higher levels.
Hitbodidut is the tool that gives us the time to reflect on our progress – how we are incorporating the strategy of directing our will toward restricting from the same reactive behavioral patterns – and exerting our will toward reaching our highest potential.
There is no better time to set sail toward new beginnings geared toward the pursuit of authentic joy than (literally) today – Rosh Chodesh Adar (the new moon of Pisces)
“When Adar arrives, we increase our joy”. (Talmud – Taanit 29a)
Be on the lookout for massive levels of JOY starting today. We are now officially entering the Hebrew month of Adar – the month of good fortune.
The sages say that Adar is the best month to try to remove your personal barriers to holiness. And by removing those barriers, you create the potential for the greatest joy.
True happiness comes through using the pleasures of this world to elevate our consciousness in order to bind our thoughts to spirituality.
But joy is not merely an end in itself – It is a tool for higher states of consciousness.
A person who experiences true joy is lifted above the mundane – able to see the world in a more elevated way. It’s the adversary – that side of us that relates more to the body than the soul, which actually desires stagnation and depression -and leads us there. Joy is increased when we focus on our blessings – depression is increased when we focus on our lack. We have the power to choose between the two.
Adar is characterized by joy because it is the month of transforming dread into joy.
Adar contains the power to succeed against an opposing force – both on a national level and on an individual level. If you look within yourself and recognize your worst enemy – whether it’s anger, confusion, pride, lust or jealousy – this is the month in which you may conquer it. When you see the Source’s hand in your life – and realize how He gives you the potential to defeat your enemies – then you’ve discovered the source of life’s greatest joy.
This Adar, (today) may we be inspired to drum up the required will to conquer our enemies – whether they come from afar, or from deep within ourselves. This is the great opportunity of this month.
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha, (When the month of Adar arrives we should increase our joy)