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Most mechanics recommend that we take our cars to the auto shop to be serviced every 6 months or 30,000 miles (whichever comes first). Those of us who are diligent about taking care of our automobiles comply, even when things seem to be running smoothly. “You never know…” we think to ourselves. And it’s a good thing we do. Occasionally, a mechanic will discover a problem we didn’t know existed, a problem that needs to be dealt with. It behooves us to err on the side of caution when it comes to our vehicles and we should be no less conscientious when it comes to our spiritual wellbeing. From time to time, we owe it to ourselves to look within and check to be sure that everything within our hearts is in good working order.
The Baal Shem Tov was once with his students, deep in study when they were disturbed by a knock at the door. A tinker called to the group within asking if anyone needed repairs. “Might you have a door that needs adjusting or a piece of furniture that needs mending?”
The men were concentrating so intently on the Baal Shem Tov’s words that they brushed him off, eager to return to the lesson. “None of us have need of repairs!” they called back.
“Really?” asked the tinker. “I’m sure if you search, you will find that something needs mending.”
The Baal Shem Tov then stopped the lesson and pointed out his students’ folly. “Everything happens for a reason. And in everything there is a lesson to be learned. This tinker may have only been inquiring about door hinges or wobbly chairs, but his words remind us to really look and see if there is anything within our hearts that needs our attention, as well.”
Our spiritual work is never ending. Yet, from time to time we can unwittingly find ourselves off course. Without realizing it, we become disconnected from our spiritual practice. The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to search within and see if there are aspects of hearts that require attention. By doing so, we can give ourselves a spiritual “tune-up” before we become too far removed from the Light.
It is easy to overlook negative emotions like, jealousy, anger, or greed. They can trickle into our subconscious and taint the way we see the world. Without even realizing it, they can alter our actions and relationships with people. The key to continuously moving forward is checking in with ourselves to be sure we are disconnecting from this negativity, disconnecting from the person we once were, and embracing the person we are meant to be. No matter how eagerly we share, make connections, and draw in the Light, if we are not continuously transforming, the Light cannot manifest in our lives. True transformation occurs when we don’t just focus on the actions but also on the change that needs to happen.
Every experience and every encounter with another is an opportunity to grow. We have the chance to make a new start and renew our commitment to our spiritual practice. According to Michael Berg, “When we understand this, it becomes clear that we should treat each day responsibly and with great care...Each day requires that we pay strict attention to our spiritual work, heeding its unique needs as well as the messages of wisdom that it is sure to bring.”
As we move from 2014 to 2015, we have the opportunity to look within and give ourselves a good spiritual tune-up. But if we are open, we will also discover opportunities throughout the year for reflection. By welcoming each chance to self-check as it arises, we can avoid losing our connection to the Light of the Creator and continuously grow.