Once upon a time, in a different state of consciousness, I worked as a flight attendant on a flight where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong (except for crashing, thank God). First, the flight departed behind schedule, then there was an incident with one of the passengers that caused a restroom to malfunction. (Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.) Then, we were rerouted after circling in the air for a very, very long time. Because we were running low on fuel, we had to land in another airport. Once on the ground, we were not allowed to disembark while the plane was refueling. We were stuck there for hours. If that wasn’t bad enough, while we were stuck on the ground, the A/C went down and we ran out of drinks and snacks. Needless to say, the passengers were getting more irate by the minute. I called this particular experience, “The flight from hell.” Talk about terrible customer service! I felt hurt, embarrassed and more frustrated as the passengers shared (or rather shouted) their colorful feedback at us as they disembarked from the craft after we had finally landed. I felt so humiliated.
When my shift was over, I could not wait to leave the airport and get home as soon as possible to try to forget about this horrible nightmare. I felt like the ultimate victim.
A crew member who lived near me asked me if I would give him a ride in my car on my way home. I agreed. You would never have guessed that we were on the same flight. I was exhausted, very reactive, angry, and incessantly complaining as my way to blow off steam. I wanted to scream and hit something. He, on the other hand, was happy, smiling, as if he had been on a different flight. In fact, the happier he was, the angrier I got. I could not wait to get him out of my car!
Have you ever had the painful experience of feeling like “the rug” had been ripped from under you and there was nothing you could do about it?
That is exactly how I felt. Those days feel like another lifetime to me now.
Years later, I enrolled in classes at the Kabbalah Centre and it changed my life in so many wonderful ways. I learned the Proactive Method, how to practice restriction, the power of sharing, and so much more. My goal now is to continuously develop my proactive sharing mindset with the ultimate goal of reaching the consciousness of ‘Mind over Matter’. How do we do that according to the kabbalists? Through the practice of developing our capacity to love.
I am not referring to the romantic love of soul mates but love in a day to day sense. It is one of the big secrets of success in any part of life, yet it is so challenging to cultivate.
The sages have taught that the purpose of learning Kabbalah is to remove the blockages of the heart, the walls that we create between ourselves and others. It is all about love!
I have often contemplated the nature of love. What is love? I find myself returning to the question from time to time, especially when I need a reminder.
Recently, I visited an elderly man in a hospital. His health was deteriorating rapidly on daily basis. His devoted wife of over 60 years was by his side every step of the way. He was no longer the breadwinner. He was no longer the handsome lover or the witty intelligent man he used to be. He was frail and in constant pain. He was thin, weak, his arms covered in black and blue marks from all the poking, prodding, tubes and wires that he was hooked up to. He could not speak any more. Instead he coughed up phlegm in a desperate effort to breathe. Every time he coughed, he was too weak to spit it out of his mouth. So, his wife would jump out of her chair and hold a tissue to his mouth as she encouraged him to spit into it. It was not a pretty sight. As she held the tissue next to his dry aspirating mouth with one hand, she held his swollen tube infested hand in her other hand. She wasn’t disgusted. She wasn’t angry at him for putting her through this. She didn’t complain. Instead, she was focused. She was loyally and lovingly there to do whatever would be helpful to him – and only him, in spite of how physically and emotionally taxing it was on her.
As I witnessed this scene, a thought gently floated into my mind. It whispered, “Love is a choice.” What I was witnessing was love in action.
This woman did not feel like a victim. When it came time for her husband to transition into his next phase of life, she lovingly let him go. Was she in pain? Of course! Did she suffer? No. In fact, she told me the other day that she plans to support others in their grieving process now that she has awakened more compassion for others in the same situation!
If our spiritual work is so hard, so painful, then we aren’t in affinity with the Light even if we think we are. There are absolutely times when we must go through uncomfortable or painful experiences, but eventually we are meant to choose love, to make an active choice to develop it, and that choice activates our Light within.
Things seem heavy and tough when we don’t do them with love. To do anything with love changes our perception of the experience, so we are in the experience of love.
To love bravely and fearlessly is our spiritual work.
The goal of humanity is to reach a state of consciousness where we develop a love for anything that we do and with whom we do it. This is, in fact, the secret to lasting fulfillment.
There is a parable about a successful businessman who checked out of his hotel with two suitcases. He found a bellhop to carry them. When the young man carried the suitcases, he acted like he was carrying 500 pounds in each hand and could hardly lift them. The businessman said to him, “If they are really that heavy, then those aren’t my suitcases.”
The Light says the same thing to us.
Sometimes we just need to put the baggage down. It doesn’t belong to us. It is not who we really are, and we do not need to carry it.
And when you choose to put those suitcases down, the weight of which you’ve likely been carrying with you all your life, you will find that what you are left with in their stead is beautifully simple.
What you are left with is the truth of who you are, and that truth is love.