Through a lovely series of synchronistic events over the past few months, I've been introduced to the wisdom of Kabbalah. Not the Kabbalah of Hollywood and numerology and red strings around the wrist, but some of the basic building blocks of kabbalistic thought.
For me, it has tied together everything I have understood about life and spirituality up to this point. That's a big statement, but so far (I am only at the very beginning phases of study), it takes Abraham Hicks, Buddhism, Advaita, Seth, A Course in Miracles, Paul Selig, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, on and on, and shows me the silver thread connecting them all, as well as where to place my emphasis right now.
This has been an amazing experience so far. Everything feels much simpler. Like when people come back from near death experiences and say, "It's so simple!" Makes at least a little bit of sense to me now.
I want to begin by describing what has, for me, been a fundamental change in the way I view lack and suffering.
Have you ever felt inferior, or like a failure, because you are experiencing some form of lack or suffering and other people don't seem to be doing so? Have you ever felt that you should be able to somehow be HAPPY and positive and and keeping your vibes high and not be having a pain in your back, or a pain in your marriage, or a pain in your job, or in your feelings about life?
Abraham Hicks calls this "step one," or knowing what you don't want.
What I am learning is that the experience of lack is a deliberate part of the design of this system. It is a good thing. The experience of lack, or desire, is what drives us. Without it, we don't move. Without desire we would not wish to take one more step in this world. Desire for anything... food, sex, shelter, wealth, fame, knowledge... whatever it is that drives us is ultimately driving us to question our reason for existing.
Most of you are already at that point, and probably have been for years. At the point where yes, you can desire and enjoy food and sex and money, but you find yourselves still uncomfortable, still discontent. And you feel like you shouldn't be. You feel like you should be grateful, like you should be okay with the day to day darkness.
Kabbalah explains that this experience of lack or suffering is, like in Abraham Hicks' emotional guidance system, meant to drive us to understand Who we actually are, because ultimately this is the only thing that will satisfy us. Communion with the truth of our nature, our relationship to the Divine, and the actual experience of oneness, the actual experience of feeling the existence of the higher/non-physical worlds that are our Home, is the only fulfillment that will not be temporary but which will unfold eternally.
What is different in Kabbalah is the fundamental understanding that lack and pain are a pressure from the Light... meant to help us move in a certain direction. In that sense they are good. They are part of the design. They are not something to be avoided. They are meant to excite questions within us.
When we feel ashamed for feeling lack, we don't allow ourselves to open to the gifts that lack is designed to call forth from Source. Source, in Kabbalah is only one thing—unconditionally loving bestowal, or giving. We are designed to receive. Learning to receive means having the proper relationship with lack and pain. In doing so we become a vessel for fulfillment.
When we don't want to suffer, or when we feel that it's wrong; when we don't want our children or our loved ones to suffer, we jump in with remedies—with drugs, with distractions, with solutions that short circuit the beautiful, natural experiential cycle of lack and fulfillment.
So what is the proper relationship with lack or pain? I'm not sure yet. But one thing I do know is that it is a state to be welcomed, not avoided. It's all part of the design. It is not a failure and it is not optional. It's the space into which fulfillment will come.
Vernon Howard put it beautifully years ago. CAPS are his.:
"When you begin to see that you have created your world in your own image, it will shock you. Here is a special exercise for you—for when you are pained. I can't tell you what a marvelous change this exercise will make in your life.
From this point on, every time you feel some hurt or inner agony, instead of thinking about the pain, which you now do, you will do something else. Instead of directing your attention toward that sadness or disappointment, your are going to think about something else.
You are going to think, "I don't understand the pain."
Just think—"There is a darkness there, something that is lashing at me, and it hurts." But you are not going to get a false pleasure from the pain. You are going to go to the right department and say, "I don't understand the pain." THAT'S IT!
Then you never ever have to think another thought about the misery you are experiencing. You are through. You have done your part. THIS IS THE WAY OUT.
God Himself has just come to your rescue. This is what is authentically religious. God Himself says, "Don't think about and swim around in the suffering. Simply sit back in your chair, relax and say, "I don't understand the anguish that is terrorizing my system.'"
If you don't understand it there is nothing YOU can do, is there? Then do nothing.
When we complain and cry and moan and groan and think, "How did I get into this mess," etc., nothing will change. With this exercise, you are putting yourself in an entirely different department and you will receive the products that that department has ready for you.
Do you want the product of not having to make worried decisions all day long? Just say, "I don't understand" —this crisis or that heartache that just came up. AND STOP. GO THROUGH YOUR WHOLE DAY NOT UNDERSTANDING IT.
It is our spurious understanding that gets us into the sorry inner mess in the first place. Don't be afraid to have no intelligence of your own. God is willing to make the grand magnificent substitute for you. God gives you His life in exchange for your life.
The majority of men and women sell their souls all day long in exchange for false, fleeting feelings of self-control. When you have true self-command, you never have to look for it or ever explain its absence to yourself.
If you are willing to say, "I don't understand anything at all about my life," your false understanding will fall away and in its place will be the insight from Heaven itself. That insight from a very HIgh Place is all you need for this world and the next world. Go ahead and dare to let go."