Most of us think of ourselves as "spiritual" people. We are fundamentally good. We enjoy deep conversation about spiritual teachings. We believe all humans are inherently connected. In fact, identifying with spirituality has become quite trendy
Yet, what exactly defines a spiritual practice? Attending weekly services? Sending a check to a charity? Volunteering to run the BBQ booth at a church carnival? While all of these are worthwhile endeavors, kabbalists teach that action – more specifically, uncomfortable action – is what walking a spiritual path is really about. Therefore, unless we are really pushing ourselves beyond our nature, we are unlikely to grow spiritually.
“It is great to come to a spiritual class and to learn, but that’s not the thing that is going to change people or yourself,” says Karen Berg. “The only true thing that helps manifest change in your life, or in anybody’s life, is taking the tools and converting them into action; transforming that Desire to Receive for the Self Alone into a Desire to Share.”
Selfless action is key. A neighbor asks for a ride to the market when you’re already running late. A friend asks you to help her plan a surprise party when you’re swamped at work. This kind of sharing is difficult. It’s far easier to make an excuse (even when it’s totally valid) than to rearrange your schedule in order to help out. We often overlook these kinds of acts because they don’t seem spiritual in nature. Yet, it is exactly these kinds of things that draw us closer to the Light of the Creator.
Most of us find ourselves doing the things that come easily, which fools us into thinking we’re doing enough. If you suspect you could be doing more, take an honest look at your routines. How does spirituality play out in your daily life? Do you find yourself sharing only when it’s convenient or easy? Has your spiritual practice dwindled to the bare minimum? Though joining a community to connect is an important part of your spiritual work, it is necessary to push beyond routine tasks in order to reach our fullest potential.
Are you coasting through your spiritual practice?
The beauty of sharing is that you don’t have to wait until someone in your life expresses a need before you take action. Look around. Of your friends, family, and coworkers, who could use a little more care, assistance, recognition, or joy? How can you help? How can you reach out and let them know they are not alone?
Remember, real sharing keeps us connected to the Light of the Creator. Although it can be inconvenient, remember the more uncomfortable it is for us, the more Light it reveals. True spiritual work is sometimes difficult. When you find yourself resistant to sharing, that’s when you know it’s exactly what you should be doing.
You may be thinking, “But I share with others all the time.” Passing a few dollars to a homeless person or dropping off a bag of used clothing at a shelter is indeed sharing—and undoubtedly worth the effort. However, from a kabbalistic point of view, if it didn’t feel uncomfortable, it’s not enough.
Kabbalists teach that we deepen our spiritual practice through action. The further we reach beyond our comfort zone, the more Light we bring into the world. Make a commitment to go out of your way to help others. Drive an elderly person to the grocery store, organize a toy drive, or help a neighbor trim their trees. Helping others takes our spiritual practice to a new level when it’s an act out of the ordinary for you. Think up a new ways to share that goes beyond the boundaries of what’s familiar. Keep it fresh and you’ll continue to grow in your spiritual practice.
As Michael Berg says, “There is always so much more we can do."