26 Av 5781 / Wednesday, August 04, 2021 | Torah Reading: Re'eh
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HomeSpirituality and FaithPersonal GrowthWhat am I Doing Wrong?
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What am I Doing Wrong?    

What am I Doing Wrong?

It takes time and wisdom to decipher which messages in our heads are coming from G-d, and which are coming from the Evil Inclination. Like everything else, it's a process...


Often, our creative energies get blocked up because we aren't actually doing what we're meant to be doing with our lives. Sure, it would be great if we could invent the first all-electric car, or perfect the technology to make people invisible, but first, we need to make sure that we're doing what G-d actually wants us to do down here. If we're experiencing blockages and difficulties and problems in our lives, we first need to properly define what the real problem is, because the better the definition, the better the solution. We have to ask ourselves: “What am I doing wrong? What do I need to repent for?" If we don't know, we're not going to be able to correct the real underlying issue, and all our creative energies will get blocked as a result.


We have to be willing to ask ourselves some potentially tough questions: "Is the real problem my boss, or the person I have to sit next to, or report to at work? Am I finding it hard to concentrate just because I'm stressed, or is there some underlying health issue I first have to identify and address? What do I really need to stay more focused? What do I really need G-d to help me with, right now?"


This is where creativity and emuna really start to meld into each other. We approach G-d with our carefully and accurately defined problem, and then we let our minds go. Our minds are naturally programmed to wander and search, and to try and work things out and solve our problems. At the same time, Rabbi Avraham HaKohen Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, said that the soul is also constantly searching for a connection to G-d; it wants only one thing: to be in a dialogue with G-d 24/7, and nothing else really matters to it.


So now, we're bringing mind and soul together, and we're combining their two “search” functions in an amazing way. The soul is busy searching for G-d, while the mind is searching for solutions to our problems, like how to make a living; or how to deal with sibling rivalry; or how to answer our kids' questions; or how to be an upstanding Jew - and all of these things require so much wisdom and input from G-d, especially today, when we're collectively at the lowest point we've ever been. All of a sudden, we're solving our problems at a much deeper, fundamental, spiritual level. By connecting ourselves to our Creator, we're getting access to the root solution to our problem now, and not just dealing with the external symptoms.


But this only works if we nullify ourselves, and say to G-d: "I need your help! I need to come to You, and to look at your Divine Providence, and see what messages you're sending me about what needs to change in my life." One of the ways we do this is to pay attention to the free-associative process, or the ideas that come to mind “stream of consciousness” style. All those ideas in our head are also coming from G-d, because, there is only Him. Our own minds are a great place to start paying attention, to see what stimuli G-d is sending us even from within our own thought processes.


Of course, it takes time and wisdom to decipher which messages in our heads are coming from G-d, and which are coming from the Evil Inclination. Like everything else, it's a process, but ultimately we can all do this, and we can all start to tap into G-d to solve our problems for us. All of a sudden, the driver of a truck will pass, and we'll notice that he's speaking on a cell phone. That will spark off the idea that maybe, G-d is sending us a message to call someone we haven't spoken to for a long time, to wish them a speedy recovery. Or maybe, the message is that we need to call our parents and wish them good Shabbos. Or maybe, it's a message that we need to be more careful about how we act, or how we drive, and not be blasé about driving around while we're talking on the phone


Who knows what the message will be, or who or what agent G-d will use to send it to us? There are no hard and fast rules, because every message is different and tailored for each one of us. But the point is that it takes spiritual creativity, to look for these messages, to see them, and to decipher them. This sort of creative process can't be measured in a lab, because it's a facet of the ultimate truth, and the way that a person can lead a good, ethical life. We can't prove it, scientifically, but each of us can experience it in our everyday lives, and come to a profound knowledge that there is one G-d who controls everything, and who can be contacted at any point, and who is speaking to us through nature.



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