Sometimes we get it mixed up. We personalize events, but don’t grasp their personal message.
I’ll try and explain.
I was thinking about this the other day when someone I was sitting next to in a class made a comment that really wasn’t designed to do anything except express how she felt about a personality type (of which I most definitely belong.)
I took it personally and felt hurt. Fortunately, I didn’t react at the time, but later I thought about it and the hurt came rushing back. Still, I managed to step back and assess the situation coolly.
The Jewish mystical tradition teaches that everything, from a cool breeze to a hurricane, comes from the Creator. It also teaches that embedded in each event is a *potential lesson, personalized for only you. Lessons are often most obviously given even, and perhaps especially, in events we view as negative.
Of course today, this has become a rather general concept—the idea that we should look for the lesson in life’s happenings and learn and grow from them.
But it’s hard to do when we experience uncomfortable feelings.
The sages teach something ironic: if you are able to step back, temporarily disable the ego, and de-personalize everything, you are able to access the very personal message that is intended for you.
Hear an unpleasant or hurtful comment about yourself? Perhaps, just perhaps, there is some truth in it. Or perhaps, there is a truth about how you respond to negative statements, even untrue ones. But, in order to get at the teaching, you first have to take a step away from your emotional response.
Learning experiences occur when the head leads the heart, rather than the other way around, according to the ancient teachings. Kabbala teaches that the design of the body is laden with spiritual treasures. The head is at the top of the body to clue us in that it should lead and the heart should follow. Still, you must have both—a good head and a good heart.
So next time something happens that knocks you for a loop, and you feel disoriented, hurt or angry, step back and depersonalize from the experience so your emotional response doesn’t overwhelm your thought processes.
Later take a moment to get up close and personal and ask: What is the personal message here, for me?
*Virtually everyone only experiences these messages on occasion, if at all.
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Last reviewed: 15 Apr 2013