Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Now obviously this is a profound statement when applied to our personal or work life, but really it also holds true for our spiritual mission here on Earth: The mission of perfecting our souls. The truth is that we have been given whatever we have—whatever traits, limitations, or gifts—so that we will be able to change ourselves on the inside.
This week's Bible reading in Hebrew is called Va'etchanan, which in English means "to beg." We find Moses pleading with God 515 times to allow him to enter the land of Israel. Why did he need to beg so much just to go to a certain location? With all the miracles he had performed, why did Moses need to beg for this seemingly minor request? After all, if we remember, when Moses' sister Miriam was sick with leprosy, all Moses had to do was say to the Creator, "El na refa na la," which means "Heal her now," and she was healed. How could Moses in one place in the Bible be so arrogant as to say to the Creator, "This is what I demand of You," and yet here we see him so desperate?
The answer is that Moses knew that he himself had achieved such an elevated spiritual level that if he entered Israel he would have been able to achieve a perfect unification of the physical world with the spiritual world, a unification that would have brought about global peace and the end of pain, suffering, and death.
But, the Creator told Moses, no person can walk in another person's shoes. In other words, no person can take on another person's process. The Creator explained it to Moses like this: "Moses, you cannot enter because once you do your action will create complete unity in the whole world. The people, however, have not yet finished correcting the negative aspects of themselves. Each person needs to do his or her own process. Each person needs to complete his or her own spiritual mission. And because each person is a rock hewed from the same Divine Mountain it will take time for each person to do his part to bring this huge mountain together as a whole."
For us, this is a profound lesson. How many times do we reject our own process? How many times do we say to ourselves, "What can I do? These are my circumstances!" or "What can I do? This is the way I was born? I have no choice!"
The point is that if this is our attitude then we have another god before us, and this god is called "victim-ology."
The first of the Commandments states: "I am the Lord, thy God, who took thee out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me." In practice, what does this mean?
Essentially it means: "I have given you the ability not to be a victim. I have taken you out of your own enslavement. Today I allow you the spiritual tools to mend and to create with whatever you have been given to work with; whether it's a lot or a little." Whatever we've got for tools, we were given by the Creator to enable to change because we are no longer in bondage.
I am sure you've heard about 26-year-old double-amputee Oscar Pistorius from South Africa. Oscar recently qualified to compete in the 400m and 400x4m relays at the London Summer Olympics. The story of this young man's success—in spite of his seeming limitations—is truly remarkable. Not only has he achieved his running goals, despite double below-the-knee amputations, but if you read his story you will see he has also overcome other challenges, including an injury to his knee at one point as well as a boating accident in 2008. The theme of his story is quite nicely summed up by his personal mantra: "You are not disabled by the disabilities you have; you are able by the abilities you have."
This week, let's remember that we are not victims. Regardless of our circumstances, we are always capable of sharing and being a part of bringing Light into this world.