Is life just “happening” to you?
Did you wake up this morning, turned your phone on and then just got overwhelmed by the sheer amount of emails and messages you need to deal with? Are you trying to figure out how to pay the bills? Are there nuisances at work or at home in the form of annoying people? Or perhaps just plain old “stuff” that’s a pain-in-the-neck?
The self-help gurus tell us that the difference between success and failure is to create very specific goals and to stick to them with laser-sharp focus.
But goals can be very narrow. They actually are always narrow – by definition. Yes, you can create very big goals, BHAG’s as they’re called: Big Hairy Audacious Goals. But no matter how big your goal is, it’s always going to be limited in scope, because humans are limited. And surely it’s impossible to focus intensely on all the various facets of life – which is why most people just decide what it is that they’re going to sacrifice. We choose between success in wealth, career, relationships, children or spirituality – but we can’t have success with it all, can we?
Maybe we can.
Yesterday was Lag B’omer – the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon, the man who wrote “Kabbalah” – Jewish mysticism. If I could boil down all of Kabbalah into one line, it would be this:
Soul = Role.
Every thing, every individual, every element of the entire universe, has a purpose for which it was created – and life in this material world is the arena where G-d wants to see all that purpose play itself out. For it is only in this crass, material, dark, cold world – where the purpose of everything is not only hidden but also challenged – that our efforts to reveal that purpose has any meaning.
So instead of waking up in the morning and just letting life “happen” to us, we are the ones who must make life “happen”. We must foster a paradigm shift and always remember: G-d has given each of us a soul and we each have a role – to bring the hidden purpose and meaning of everything we encounter, to the surface.
Our careers, our wealth, our relationships, our families, our community, our friends, our children, our education, our opportunities, our challenges – these are not the definition of “life”. It’s what we do with them, that defines life.
That’s why Torah, specifically the inner part of Torah (Kabbalah), has something to say about literally every element of the world and every aspect of life. Because Torah guides us exactly how to discover that hidden purpose, in whatever challenge of life we may be encountering at any given moment.
Lag Bomer, therefore, serves as a very appropriate lead-up to Shavuot, the holiday we celebrate in a few weeks when we received from G-d His gift of the Torah, the hidden code of purpose …
Happy searching – and Shabbat Shalom!