We often know where we could be and what it looks like. Not always do we understand every single detail. Not always do we have the right picture of what is ultimate exactly. Subsequently, we often find that we, better than most, can pinpoint certain things about ourselves that are not so perfect.
One of the Kabbalistic sources for becoming the perfect version of oneself comes from the story of Avraham Avinu (Abraham our father). Avraham (Abraham), grew up in a world of idol worship. A world completely antithetical to what he would one day come to believe.
G-d, in a literal as well as a metaphoric sense told Avraham, “go to yourself” – go to a higher version (the highest version) of who you are, which is already you, a higher form of you that is found within you. Leave “From your land” – from your will. “From your birthplace” – from your emotional and behavioral self. “From your father’s house.” – from your intellect.
Now, just to frame why I’m bringing this up. These three things are the areas in one’s life, according to Kabbalah, that one must go beyond in order to achieve self perfection. As long as a person is still stuck in any of these three areas, one cannot reach the essence of who they truly are in their most revealed state.
Therefore we need to have a deeper understanding what these three areas are that we need to leave in order to successfully leave them.
“From your land” – your will.
Will can be a fixed desire, intention, or driving force that comes from a higher place than one’s intellect. In this case, understand that HaShem was saying to Avraham, go out from serving Me because it’s your will, and reach a higher level of serving me, namely; because it’s My will.
Although that may apply to a certain person, this, as it can apply to everyone also means your desires, your wants in life.
To elaborate: people often have a perfect understanding of what would be a perfect set up for themselves. As we talked about in my last article, some may even be invisioning such a set up as the secret has suggested at a mainstream level. Yet, where’s your highest version of you? It’s not where your whims and desires are. If anything, your whims and desires may be the most fundamental thing getting in your way of self actualizing yourself.
The Baal Shem Tov says that every neshama (soul) is latent with gifts waiting to become revealed and actualized by the person. I personally believe that the mainthing in our way is our whims that distract us and mess up our priorities in life.
2) “From your birthplace” – your Emotional & Behavioral Self
Everyone has their own natural emotional makeup. Some tailored more extremely towards interaction. Some tailored more extremely toward introspection. Some tailored to shiny things, some tailored towards matters that make one feel important. Everyone emotionally deals with things differently.
Yet emotions aren’t our navigating compass in life, and they shouldn’t be. You know why? Because they don’t exactly tell us accurately what is really going on. Have you ever been in a scary movie, and feel literally afraid for your own wellbeing, when what’s going on on the screen can’t actually affect you in any physical way whatsoever? Those are emotions, created through internalizing a certain amount of stimuli, and creating an internal experience. Yet, in reality, what is there to be afraid of? So too in life. Our minds must guide our hearts and not the other way around. The other way around is when one’s emotions determine their decisions in life, and their mind justifies the actions because it was what they “felt”.
Behaviors are built up over time. For one, one’s “birthplace” has an affect on one’s behaviors, because surroundings affect people. If you spend time with a bunch of chillers throughout your day, you too will think, talk, and walk more like a chiller. If you spend time with time oriented, hard working people, you too will become more time oriented & hard working. Behaviors are part of how the world around us has trained us to act and respond in life, and part how we see and learn from how our surroundings act and respond in life.
There are emotional characteristics one has that are positive or able to be channeled in a positive way. There are behaviors one has that are positive and are able to be channeled in a positive way. Yet, there are also impeding emotions and behaviors that we have each built up throughout our time in life. Want to self actualize yourself, want to be more in tune with your true self? Leave your birthplace.
Why do you have to allow the kid that bullied you when you were growing up to not only have the better of you back then, but ALSO today? Why should you continue being your family’s scapegoat for their problems when you no longer live near your family? Why do you have to be lazy today, because you were lazy yesterday? Or because your friends are all lazy? Break out of your shell and BE YOU. Access who you are deep down and align your actions with your potential self, not your former self.
Okay, so that girl you dated three years ago said you are afraid of the world? You didn’t agree with her then, why would you allow the thought to stick around telling you that now? You had a rough breakup once upon a time? So why is the logical conclusion to build up walls around your heart that will never allow it to give anyone a chance ever again? Our experiences in life should build us up to be more in tune with our truth, not afraid of it. People’s opinions are a sliver of the sliver of reality they get to see of us in our lives, don’t let someone who definitely doesn’t see the whole picture, define your picture in a negative light. You are more than your birthplace. You are more than someone’s opinion of who you are. You are more than your bad habits and previous failures. You are you.
3) Your Father’s house – your intellect.
In a relationship with a higher form of you, absolutely intellect is important, yet there is an area where it also gets in our way. If I have to wait til I understand everything to do anything, will I do much in life? As the Rebbe (Rabbi M.M. Schneerson) once said, “If you wait til you find the meaning in life, will there be anymore life to live?” Part of life is a journey of uncovering. Part of our relationship with our Creator, is knowing that we don’t know, and walking with Him on it anyways. A relationship limited by the intellect, will only be as much as we understand, and an huge, unnecessary limitation. Part of living infinite is allowing the infinite to dominate the finite, as opposed to trapping the infinite’s expression by the finite. You, as you are essentially, are infinite. Express your infinitude, use your mind, but also go beyond it to discover a deeper, more infinite relationship with yourself and G-d.
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