One of my most prominent childhood memories was the sense of somehow being separate from my body, which brought me feelings of wonder about life itself. As I grew, this deep understanding that there is a greater purpose to this life became lost in the rush of everyday existence. Its amazing how the world seems to be moving so fast today. We are so engrossed in the pursuit of daily life that we dont stop to ponder these nagging questions about who we really are. In fact, it seems like we do this because on some level, we are really trying to avoid the questions themselves.
I live in the Washington DC Metro area, which was recently rated as the worst place to drive in the USA. If youve ever had a chance to experience our traffic, you understand why. People zip in and out of lanes, eager to get wherever they are going. They are rude, cut you off, and if you need to merge with the traffic, its rare that someone is kind enough to stop for a moment and let you in.
Life is a lot like that traffic, as people get consumed with their own interests and activities. Sometimes, it takes a crash before we slow down enough to wonder why were going so fast, and where are we going, anyway? One could compare it to driving a car very fast at night without any light except your cars headlights. As you race ahead with your mind on everything but the road, the speed you are driving exceeds your ability to react, and if something were to suddenly come out of the darkness, like a sharp turn or animal, you wouldnt have time to respond and avoid an accident. Often it takes this kind of sudden disaster in life before we wonder, how important is all this rushing around? Isnt there something more?
Since we live in this fast-paced world, and our technology allows us to find things quickly, I typed What Is the Meaning of My Life? into my Internet search engine. And wow, did I get an answer! There were 303,000,000 results for What Is The Meaning of My Life! Clearly, this shows that we, as humans, have a yearning to realize who we are and where we are going on a deeper level than our simple, everyday existence. We just have to slow down from our hectic pace long enough to search for the answers.
There is an ancient teaching called Kabbalah which can help us understand who we are and where we are going. One could say that Kabbalah is like a GPS, our personal navigation device that helps direct us through life. Through this wisdom, we begin to reconnect ourselves with the Force of creation, to understand where we came from and where we are going. To help us comprehend where we came from, Kabbalah examines the very origins of creation itself, and to show us where we are going, it reveals the Goal of creation.
Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag writes in his Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Item 155:
There is a wonderful, invaluable remedy to those who engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah They awaken upon themselves the Lights that surround their souls The illumination received time-after-time during the engagement draws upon one grace from above, imparting abundance of sanctity and purity, which bring one much closer to perfection.
Kabbalah can help us understand why we feel this constant need to be racing around, driven by our jobs, our families, and our hobbies. When we understand the source of our frantic pace, we can reexamine our priorities. We can take ourselves off autopilot, and begin to determine our future direction by ourselves.
So if youre tired of the traffic jam of life, maybe its time to try a new route!