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2012–the year that everyone has been talking about–is upon us. It’s a fresh start, buzzing with New Year’s resolutions and goals. With the new year, the energy around the globe is one of change, of growth, of decision to do things differently, to take ourselves to another level. Therefore, it's not a coincidence that this week’s energy from the Zohar beckons us to the consciousness of life. In fact, the portion this week is called Vayechi, the Hebrew word that means “to live.” And so we are challenged to consider: What does it really mean to be alive?
All of us work and live for something. If you ask a man what he is striving for, he may say that he is working for his children. He is working to give them a better life, a better home, a better education. All our lives, we are working to attain something. We are working towards a fulfillment, pushing from one achievement to the next.
We can work all our lives to reach a goal. But what happens if we never get to that goal? What happens if we never get to the place of living? What happens to all the years in between, all those years between now and our goal? Think about it. Do you live each day or do you live for tomorrow, for when you will finally get the car, the house, or the position you desire? Even those who are financially stable from a young age will tell you that there is always another level to reach, another thing you must possess.
The truth is that most of the time, we forget to live. We forget that each day is an opportunity. What happens if we never get to the goal that we set for ourselves? What if something happens to us in the middle of our striving, and we live not for 120 years but for only 50 or 55 years?
We need to ask ourselves if we have felt the part within that is truly alive. Can we say that we enjoyed the company of those close to us, that we contributed something to the bigger picture? Can we say that we learned to open our hearts and love those around us? Because if we cannot, then we are frittering away our lives and losing the time that we have.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ve been sober for a year” or “I fixed my addiction to sugar”? Now how did they do that? They stopped their negative and self-destroying behavior! When people say they are sober, it means they made the decision to cut some destructive substance out of their life. They decided to change…and they did.
But what happens with us and our spirituality? Oftentimes, we say, “I’m going to get there, but I’m going to do just a little bit today and a little bit tomorrow. I am going to make changes slowly...but I’ll graduate eventually.” Why is it so difficult to resist our reactive behaviors now? Why do we put off the changes that we know we need to make?
When we come to the Creator, do we say, “I need x, y, or z. Can you give it to me next year?” Of course not! We don’t go that route. We say, “Please, I need it now!” But why should the Creator give it to us now, if for us “now” doesn't exist?
Let's say we have a problem with anger. Oftentimes, we will say to ourselves in the thick of a situation: “OK, I'm going to get mad now, but tomorrow I'll be better.” But suppose we were drug addicts and we really wanted to change. Would we be able to say, “Tomorrow I’ll stop” or “Just one drink won't hurt anybody”? No, of course not. Instead, we would have to say to ourselves, “Now I am going to change. Now it is going to be different, from this day counting forward.” Why? Because, spiritually speaking, every day that we are not counting forward with our transformation, we are actually counting backward.
And so I want to leave you with this thought. From today, we start a new page. We start a new chapter that is called 2012. In this chapter, we can start being spiritually “sober” right away–today, in fact. Each one of us has a soul inside that is in exile from the Light because of our body, our physicality, and our reactive system. But it is this exile that can bring us into a place of Light–as long as we make a change in ourselves.
So let’s take the actions we need to take to transform ourselves and to start living. Let’s take this opportunity to say, “I am opening this Vessel of mine to permeate the layers that separate me from others, from my community and from the world, so that from now and counting forward, I can hear with my inner ear and love with my inner heart.”
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