Pushing Ourselves Toward Joy

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Pushing Ourselves Toward Joy

Michael Berg
February 23, 2017
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It says that as the month of Pisces, or Adar, enters, there's an abundance of joy. Which means the opportunity is awakened in this world for each of us to draw tremendous joy into our lives; that is the gift of this month. But why are joy and happiness so important? Of course, I think we all enjoy it when we have it, but one of my favorite sections in the Zohar speaks about why joy should be one of the most important aspects that we awaken.

The Zohar says, quoting from the Psalms from King David, that when the face, or Light, of the Creator, is hidden, it causes fear. When the Light of the Creator is concealed, fear is awakened. From here we learn that nothing negative can come from the Light of the Creator. When the Light of the Creator is there with us, when it is in our presence, nothing negative can happen. And therefore, when the Light of the Creator is revealed, no negativity, in any form, occurs to the individual.

But when the individual, through his or her consciousness, allows the Light of the Creator to be removed from him, the individual allows negativity to enter into his life; when a person is in a state of sadness, when a person is in a state of upset, when he is not pushing himself towards joy, then the Light of the Creator does not reside with him. And when the Light of the Creator does not reside with him, it opens the individual up to all types of negativity. And therefore, even though it's the month of joy, we're talking here about the fear of holding onto sadness.

My father, Rav Berg, would often say that people hug their chaos. Everybody experiences chaos, but they have the choice to either hug that chaos or to let go of that chaos. Everybody experiences sadness, everybody experiences upset. But there's a choice at some point to hold onto it or to let it go. And what the Zohar here is telling us is about the danger in not letting go when you can of that sadness, of not pushing towards a state of joy when you can, and fighting for it. Because usually we think it's passive: this day something happened, and I'm happy. That day something happened, and I'm sad. But we can't allow ourselves to be in that state of reactivity towards the emotion of joy, upset, or sadness. Yes, it happens. But when we have the choice, the question is, are we pushing ourselves to be happy? Are we fighting against sadness and upset? Or, as Rav Berg said, are we just hugging that chaos, staying in that state, and being okay with it?

So, we learn from the Zohar, as King David says, that if an individual allows himself to remain in that state, he allows the Light of the Creator to leave, and therefore, allows any type of negativity to enter. As such, the reason we don't want to allow that state of sadness to remain with us is because it opens up all kinds of other negativity that can enter into our lives.

Joy is a choice. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be sad and upset, when really a choice, a thought process, can change that. And although sometimes we'd like to say or think that we’re feeling down and it's out of our control, the reality is that most of the time we can choose to be happy, and most of the time we can leave sadness behind. Hopefully, as we enter into the month of Adar, we can be awakened in consciousness to why joy is so important both for our spiritual connection and our ability to draw blessings into our lives. And while it is true that in this month there is an awakening of an abundance of joy in the world, what we want to receive is not just the joy that is given or the joy that is available, but to have the strength to be pushing ourselves towards joy all the time.