By Mindy Rubenstein
I calculated approximately how many hours I’ve spent actively doing healing and growth work during my adult life — in essence, trying to feel happier, to ease anxiety, depression, and fix old wounds.
Though I earned a graduate degree and spent two decades in my field trying to rely on my intellect and education, I hadn’t focused much gratitude on that mysterious Force keeping my body going — the breath coming in and out of my lungs, my heart constantly and consistently pumping blood, the way my food moves through my body without me telling it what to do.
…The fact that I was brought into this world through my mother in a chain of human reproduction going back further than my finite brain can fathom at this moment.
Through religion I began calling this miraculous lifeforce G-d. Other people have different names for It. (I use a capital letter and a dash in a humble attempt to show awe and gratitude.)
And although there isn’t necessarily a need for me to fully understand how or why I’m here now in this world, I do realize that everything is made of energy, even that which we can’t see or feel physically. And I recognized that sometimes, the ‘energy’ didn’t feel right.
I could have gotten up everyday and continued going to work, raising my children, cleaning up my house and buying groceries. As an adult, I took on the Torah’s mitzvahs for daily life, learning to keep Shabbat, kosher, and many other details I’ve yet to fully grasp.
But there was still an unrest that, as I understand now, was guiding me, trying to lovingly direct me. Trying to get my attention.
But I was too busy ‘doing’ in an unconscious effort to resist what I was feeling.
As Einstein said, “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way.”
The Jewish law of attraction. Our energetic frequency is innately joyful and spiritually expansive, but I, like many people, rarely tapped into that place because I let my ‘programmed way of thinking’ bring me down.
I would get stuck at lower levels of energy and forget those powerfully positive and infinite forces of G-d.
I realize now that my reality is generated by where my thoughts are. “Through a mix of nature, nurture, and free will, we each possess a certain lens that frames and forms the way we see ourselves, others, and the world around us,” writes Mendel Kalmenson in his book Positivity Bias.
In the powerful words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to an individual who complained about his life circumstances: “In our world, everything is a mixture of good and bad. Human beings must choose which aspects they will emphasize, contemplate, and pursue…”
During those nearly 15,000 hours spent focused on trying to ‘fix’ me, I learned, and continue to learn, how to seek the good in everything, to balance doing with being, intellect and action with my female intuition. How to honor my inner Knowing.
To get my soul in sync with my body and mind. To breathe deeply and intentionally. To better love myself and others.
It’s a constant effort to retain my conscious contact with G-d, the loving lifeforce that wants to guide me. But it’s becoming a more natural part of my life, my flow of existence.
I’m learning to smile more. Be nicer. Breathe. Accept. Love.
And to take the next right step with confidence, remembering I’m never alone.
The parsha tells us about Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. On this holy day we don’t drink, eat, wash, or wear leather shoes. It’s likely not hard to feel more holy on this special day when so many things are different. But the name of the parshah is Acharei, which means “afterwards.” A Jew, our sages tell us, must make her life holy not only on Yom Kippur, but also afterwards, during every other day of the year.
We do not have to remove ourselves from everyday life or live far away from people to be holy. We should be involved with everyday things, but in the way that G-d wants.
Hashem tells us to “be holy, for I am holy.” He put His holiness into everything which exists into clothes, food, and business. If we do these things in the Torah way, then we reveal the holiness which G-d has placed in them. That is what makes us holy.
.(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, Parshas Kedoshim)