A teacher dedicates her life to educating students in one of the most underserved urban areas in the country. She arrives at school early to plan engaging lessons and stays late to tutor kids in need of extra care. When vacation rolls around, she volunteers to teach summer school to help students catch up academically. Some call it arduous work, but it’s a labor of love that brings her much joy.
It seems as if she has found her true purpose, but from a kabbalistic point of view, she may still be far from it. Why?
What many of us do not understand is that acts of sharing are good; they bring more Light into the world. But the kabbalists teach that we bring more Light into the world when acts of sharing force us to go outside of our comfort zones, to do what does not come naturally. When we do this, we are doing our true spiritual work.
Granted, each of us is born with gifts we are meant to share with the world. Whether, you are a scientist finding a cure for cancer, a doctor saving lives, or a teacher educating the next generation, the gifts you share no doubt impact the lives of others in significant ways. But this does not mean you are accomplishing your true purpose. This may not be the work you were put on this earth to do.
So, how do we know the difference? Very simply, it’s a matter of comfort. Ask yourself if the idea of sharing compels you or repels you. For example, if you feel driven to volunteer at a homeless shelter, that is probably not the work that is going to transform you spiritually. By all means, volunteer! The world needs more kindness and compassion and any shelter would be thankful to have the help. But you may need to dig a little deeper to find the work you are meant to do.
On the other hand, if the idea of volunteering at a homeless shelter makes you feel uncomfortable, that is a clue that you are on the right path. “It’s simply a matter of recognizing the resistance to transformation that’s inherent in our nature as human beings,” says Michael Berg, “and then confronting that resistance with full consciousness and determination.”
Consider the athlete training for competition. For her, resistance training is intense, uncomfortable, and hard. But it’s the discomfort that actually builds strength and increases her skill, endurance, and performance. By challenging ourselves to share in ways that are uncomfortable to us, we are building our spiritual strength and endurance. This kind of sharing is transformative. Michael Berg explains, “When you’re countering the inertia of your everyday nature, when you’re going against the reflex of your own immediate gratification, you are moving toward real spiritual growth and transformation.”
We are born with the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone. Our job in this lifetime is to transform that urge into a Desire to Receive for the Sake of Others. Take a look at your actions. In order to properly assess where your soul is in the process of transforming and revealing your true purpose, ask yourself, “How often am I going against my nature?”
Sharing that comes naturally feels good. It’s easy because it brings us joy and gives us a sense of contentment. After we share with others, we want to do it again. That doesn’t mean that we stop doing those things. It simply means that we have to work harder to find our purpose and transform our true nature. If we are honest with ourselves, it becomes clearer with every choice when we are truly sharing on a spiritual level. And in the end, “Each act of true sharing breaks down the barriers of our Desire to Receive for the Self Alone,” says Michael Berg, “and liberates the infinitely deeper and richer experience of sharing that is hidden within us.”