Wednesday, January 16, 2008

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The Spiritual Perspective, Part 12

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

In the previous sections we discussed using the emotions to become spiritually aware. Basically, the technique is to picture your loved ones while doing a mitzvah, and to ask G-d to bless them. The strength of the emotions energizes the mitzvah experience. The emotions bring warmth into the performance of the mitzvah. But even though emotions can be used as a vehicle to move us toward spiritual awareness, they themselves are not spiritual.

We also discussed how to use the intellect to become more spiritually aware. For instance, by recognizing that the benefit of the mitzvah you are doing is spreading out into the world. This not only helps you to appreciate the mitzvah more, but it actually increases the mitzvah’s effect in the world. The intellect is higher than the emotions[i] and it too can be used as a vehicle to move toward the spiritual, but it is not spiritual.

The spiritual is beyond form and matter. It is beyond energy and time. Gravity doesn’t pull on it and sunshine doesn’t shine on it. It is not physical. But we are physical, and all these things do affect us. So how can we access the spiritual when it is beyond anything we know?

A servant can learn about his master by examining his master’s commands. When doing a mitzvah we can discover G-d’s purpose and nature. So, for instance, since G-d commands us to be charitable, we know that G-d Himself is charitable. When giving charity, we should think about the nature of charity. This will align our consciousness with His consciousness.

G-d does not command us to praise Him in order to placate Him. He has us mention His greatness to bring His glory to our minds. This experience brings us closer to emulating Him and strengthens our resolve to serve Him.

If you trace a beam of sunlight back up in the direction from where it is coming, you will ultimately come to its source. When we trace the physical act of kindness, higher, to the nature of kindness, and then even higher to the source of all kindness, our minds will become filled with the spiritual purpose of the mitzvah. We will have moved our consciousness toward His consciousness.

As we move closer to His consciousness, our minds become filled with thoughts of Him and His Torah. We will go though our day looking for opportunities to help. We will be living as G-d intended us to live, freely choosing His way.

We cannot reveal G-d’s glory at will. We can only move in that direction. Then the effort that we exerted will result in the desired reward. Although the reward is given according to the effort, still, the effort itself does not directly bring the reward. The reward comes from above. It comes from His holy will. The spiritual door opens from the spiritual side, not from the physical side.

[i] Do not follow your heart. Numbers 15:39

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