At the moment we are born, a path lies before us. Some like to think of this path as wide open and clear of obstacles. However, kabbalists teach that while we are born with endless potential to do great things in this lifetime, our paths are not meant to be challenge-free.
The Kabbalah Centre teaches that our lives are influenced by the lives we’ve lived previously. We are each born with a tikkune, or aspects of ourselves we are meant to repair in this life. Tikkune is the Aramaic word for “correction.” Our tikkune shows us how our past influences our present or more specifically, how the choices we’ve made determine which choices we should make in the future. Our tikkune could be related to money, health, or relationships (romantic, platonic, or familial). Meaning, we may need to correct behavior in different areas of our lives that were reactive or selfish in the past.
It may be difficult to pinpoint what your personal tikkune is at first. But if you know what to look for, it’s really quite simple. Take note of whatever causes you pain or discomfort. This is likely your tikkune.
Think back to a period in your life when you felt you were coming up against the same wall again and again. You were probably working through your tikkune. Or, have you ever wondered if the universe was working against you? When we come up against the same problems repeatedly, it’s really the Creator’s hand showing you what you need to work on. That’s your tikkune. And if you don’t learn the lesson the first time around, the situation will arise again in some form or another.
For example, some may find speaking up for themselves challenging. They feel in speaking their truth, they could unintentionally hurt someone. Rather than say something and risk upsetting others, they suppress their feelings and ignore the situation. In order to correct this behavior, this person may need to build self-confidence so he or she can become more assertive of their needs and desires.
Or an individual may have experienced injustice in the past and lost something very dear to them. Consequently, they find it difficult to trust others and may feel the need to cling to their possessions and relationships when threatened, whether the threat is real or not. Correcting this tikkune will involve letting go of fear and anger in order to trust again and see the best in others.
When we are not working on our tikkune, we can feel down, disengaged with the world, or apathetic. It can lead us to question the purpose of life or feel like life doesn’t make sense. When we understand our tikkune, life makes sense. We are able to let go of our fears and overcome obstacles that may inhibit our growth and ability to connect with the Light. Knowing our tikkune enables us to reach our highest potential and gives us a sense of purpose.
“Each of us comes into this life with a tikkune, a correction we must take on,” says Michael Berg. “Avoiding that work can lead to depression, and even when we engage in it, our doubts and uncertainties can contribute to our pain. But once we recognize what we are here to correct and succeed at the hard work of clearing away our tikkune, those thorny thickets give way to lush meadows, and sorrow gives way to exuberance and joy.”
We will all encounter significant obstacles in our lifetime that we are not meant to circumvent. In order to correct our tikkune, it is important to be reflective about our behavior and open to dealing with issues directly. It’s easy to pass responsibility or blame onto others. However, we are the only ones in control of our happiness and fulfillment. It takes deep spiritual work to realize that we are seldom victims of circumstance.
When you are working through your tikkune you have a sense that you are on the right path, or that life is moving in the right direction – even if you are experiencing difficulty. Once you understand what your personal tikkune is, you can pinpoint personal weaknesses that lead you off course and recognize unresolved issues from your past.
The sooner we recognize that some obstacles are part of our tikkune, and thus an invitation to do the work and correct our behavior, the sooner we will be able to find fulfillment. The road to spiritual joy may not be as wide open and clear as we may hope. But this is as it should be. Your work is found where you feel pain and discomfort. Rav Berg explains, “Our tikkune shows us the way, shows us the work we need to do on ourselves.” Until we truly do the work, we never fully meeting our highest potential for greatness.