What drives you? Desire for love? Success? Happiness?
Whatever it is that motivates us to grow, we often continue on in hopes that our hard work will come to an end eventually. We imagine an easy life waiting for us on the horizon. But what if life turned out to be one difficult task after another. What if we surmount one challenge only to be faced with another? Would you still feel just as inspired and just as motivated?
Kabbalists teach that the process is the purpose, even when it’s a hard process. While we expect to run into challenges occasionally, we usually don’t expect to be hit with obstacle after obstacle. In fact, we often hope the road will be easy. Yet, “We have been mistaken about what we should desire for our lives,” says Michael Berg. “We must ask not for a life of ease, but for the ability to strive tirelessly against obstacles and for opportunities to do so. To run against the current doesn’t have to be discouraging. It can be invigorating and exhilarating and inspiring.”
The key to approaching life with an I’m-ready-for-anything attitude is very simple: certainty. Certainty is trusting in the process, trusting that The Creator has a plan and that we can’t always see the logic in that plan. Kabbalists teach that there are two kinds of certainty – there are those who feel certainty only as long as they are receiving blessings, and there are those who feel certainty in every moment of every day no matter what.
Of course, our goal is to join the latter group, those who remain connected to the Light of the Creator even when life becomes hard. Those who do know that all things are gifts from the Creator, even challenges – even a seemingly endless stream of challenges. They know that the Light can create miracles at any moment, even in the darkest of times.
Whether we embrace certainty with gusto or conditionally is our choice. This is important to remember, because our consciousness determines the miracles we receive. According to Michael Berg, “There is no place where the Light of the Creator doesn't exist; yet, if an individual does not have that certainty and that clarity, then he stops the miracle from happening. From this we learn that it is therefore lack of certainty that actually stops miracles from happening.”
One way to maintain certainty is through what kabbalists call restriction. Think of it as the self-discipline to help us stay the course – even when we hit obstacles – so we may receive the blessings of a life well lived. By restricting our desire for comfort and ease, we stay connected to the Light. Endlessly pushing ourselves forward spiritually and having certainty, no matter what, is part of the process.
Knowing that obstacles have been placed in our way specifically to encourage us to grow can help us to tackle them more willingly, all the while connected to the Light.