Thursday, December 13, 2007

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The Spiritual Perspective (7)

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

The spiritual load that each of us carries every day can pull our souls down. Life can seem to be very heavy when our emotional and spiritual burdens keep us low. Yet proper spiritual thinking can lift this burden quite easily.

The soul and body have a unique relationship. The soul comes into the body on its own special mission. It requires the body in order to carry out its task. Without the body, it can do nothing. Its assignment is to elevate the person it fills and all that it can while it is here. Then, if it does its job properly, when it returns to where it came from, its position will be even higher than it was before it descended into the body.

However, the soul is limited to doing only what the person wants. If the body wants to eat, the soul must vivify the body so it can eat. It must power the bodyג€™s movements that lead it to its desire. This is true whether the body wants to eat proper food, or even if it wants to eat improper food. If the person wants to do good, the soul must say, ג€ I will help you.ג€ If the person wants to do evil, the soul must say, ג€ I will help you.ג€ Every individual must have freewill. That is the fixed rule. So, how is the soul to arrange things to ensure its higher will rules? It must urge the person to do good, but it can never force it.

But the problem is even more severe. When the soul looks out at the world, it can only see through the person's eyes. This means that its lofty nature is hidden even from itself. Oy!

Just before a baby is born its soul is made to forget all that it knows. Its nature, and being a portion of G-d on High, cannot be known to the baby's soul after it is born. If the baby knew who it really was, and what it was doing here, he would live an entirely righteous life. There could not even be a thought to stray. If this would happen, the baby's life here on earth would be wasted. No freewill, no reward. Angels have no free will. They do what they were programmed to do. G-d did not want a world inhabited by angels. Instead, the baby must grow and make its own decisions based upon what it learns while it is here. What can be done? The baby grows in a world and is influenced by all of the things that surround it. Oy!

The baby grows and can easily become lost, losing any idea of his higher purpose. He can even come to think that the purpose of life is to gather as many material possessions as he possibly can. He can work his entire life, well into old age, gathering and gathering, even while knowing that he will soon die, and that he does not know what will happen to those things that he worked so hard to accumulate. Some people end up living their entire lives looking for stuff, excitement, loud noises, stronger and stronger tastes and smells. Oy! What can be done?

Often, this load is so heavy that the owner does not even want his spiritual burden picked up. He will always want help picking up his physical donkey, because he sees his loss there. But this is not true for his spiritual donkey. Most people do not even realize that there is a spiritual load, let alone a way to pick it up. They think that their condition is just the way things are.

A helping hand from a friend or even a stranger can turn this all around. The right place at the right time, a few words, a good idea, can turn the person up.

If you have found how to relieve this burden for yourself, are you not obligated to share this information with the less fortunate? Better yet, are you not privileged to share this elevating information with those who are being held down?

Today at the Kotel, I asked a young Israeli to put on tefillin. He refused. He was polite enough, even very nice about it, but still, he was adamant that he did not want to put on tefillin. He pulled himself away. He was smiling, but insistent. A few minutes later, he came back to the tefillin booth wanting a piece of paper to write a note to place between the stones of the Kotel. If someone is trying to sell you something that you do not want, the last place you are going to go is over to that salesman. You are going to avoid him at all costs.

I tried again, but he refused. I told him that if he was going to write a note, there must be something that he wanted, and that putting on tefillin was the way to get it. He said that he wasnג€™t writing the note for himself, and again he refused the tefillin. While he kept refusing, I gently slipped the tefillin on his arm. Once it was on his arm, he cooperated. He repeated the blessing and read the proper prayer. I showed him how to pray from his heart and especially to pray for what he was going to write on the note.

What is the point of the story? His mind and body knew that he did not want to do that mitzvah. He was certain. But his soul did want to do it. The Jewish soul always wants to follow the teachings of G-d. It is only the lower self, the physical or dragged-down spiritual side of a person that refuses. The soul's nature is to yearn for the higher, and we must learn how to teach the lower aspects of man to look up.

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