I’m sure that everyone has had times in their lives when they feel connected. Whether it’s having a good discussion with another person, being one with nature, listening to a beautiful piece of music, or getting clarity on a problem, it’s these times that give our lives purpose and meaning. We have also had times of disconnection, when we feel disconnected from those around us, when we feel lost and don’t know where we’re going in life. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of disconnection. We feel helpless, confused, depressed, hurt and completely lost.
But what is connection? If connection is such a wonderful thing, how can we work to achieve it? Does it happen only when everything in your life makes sense, or is it deeper than that? And what is disconnection? How can we avoid letting it destroy our lives?
If you were to ask people what makes them feel connected, you would get many different answers. Many of those answers would contradict each other! Therefore connection isn’t a result of something external. I can feel extremely connected listening to a piece of music one day, and then I can listen to it the next day and feel nothing.
The kabbalists say that at every given moment in your life, you are being given an infinite amount of love and goodness. Every second of every day, you are being given everything you need. Our purpose here is to reach our personal potential, and every day we are given all possible opportunities to do so. This means that I could feel connected, motivated and purposeful every second in my life.
Connection happens when we realize this. When we REALLY realize this (and start to live it). It does not take just a happy event or time in your life to make you feel connected. Connection comes from knowing that every single thing that happens to you is being given with an infinite amount of chesed (loving-kindness). Looking back on our pasts, it’s fairly simple to realize this. Many of us figure out why things had to happen in retrospect. We know that our broken hearts, injuries and hurts happened to us for a reason. They were given to us to help us get to where we are today. And where we are today is exactly where we need to be in order to grow and move forward.
Being a connected person doesn’t mean that you are always smiling externally. You can be connected while crying at a funeral, while feeling confused about life, while nursing a broken heart or while nervously anticipating test results. It means that even when you are crying out from pain, loss and confusion, you feel internally connected. You know that whatever is happening is happening to help you grow and become the person that you can be. Being connected doesn’t mean that you know why everything is happening. Sometimes it’s exactly the opposite. Sometimes we are given situations that are confusing in order to help us let go of our need to have everything “figured out”. (This happens to me a lot!) Being connected means that you have a deep, internal knowledge that everything is in its right place, and everything is going to be okay, even though right now you can’t fathom how it’s going to happen.
I have mentioned before that we live life with a constant choice between disconnection and connection. This is how the human soul was created:
Before you I have placed life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life! (Devarim/Deutoronomy 30:19)
We are always faced with a choice between disconnection and connection. We have absolutely no control over what happens to us. Our choice lies in our reactions. Do we choose to remain full of spiritual life and connection, or do we choose disconnection and spiritual death? We all know that it’s possible to feel dead while being physically “alive”. This is exactly what the Torah is talking about in this section. It’s talking about spiritual life and spiritual death. It’s telling us that we are constantly faced with the choice of remaining connected to the infinite (life), or disconnecting and therefore choosing to exist in a death-like state.
At first, this concept is hard to grasp. Living it is even harder, because as you grow, you keep finding yourself in situations that test your ability to choose between connection and disconnection. The better you get at it, the more difficult the situations. We must always remember that we were given this life because it’s exactly what we need. Once you realize this, it will give you an internal happiness that can’t be taken away.
I wish everyone hatzlacha (good luck!) on staying connected, working on ourselves, facing all that is given to us, and choosing life : )
Kol Tuv (all the goodness in the world) ~ Andrea