- "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Hashem" - This could be the most important piece of Torah there is to understand and integrate what this means. The aspect that I mentioned in last post of now having "a moment to moment heightened awareness of life and a realization of each moments becoming an opportunity to reflect greatness is such a fear of Hashem. Life is unfolding in a slower way - The difference between your raft being swept away in a white water torrent of fast-swishing water and before you know it you are some place down stream (how did I get over here ..... only to be overtaken by another torrent taking you some place else) and learning that you can guide your raft a little more slowly down the stream, see the beauty on the river banks, smile at your children, say I love you to your wife as you gently find a lane outside of the current.
The word fear in Hebrew is related to another word in Hebrew "to see". When one sees - what really is - seeing becomes seeing. Seeing things as they truly are not as a prism from within the prison of your mind that filters everything through your own insecurities, vulnerabilities, poor character traits, lower than desired inclinations, proclivities, tendencies and habits. You see we are more often stuck in our minds - not in life. More often occupied with the chatter in our heads, clamoring for your attention, begging for you to solve all of your problems resulting from this low consciousness that is a parasite invading your well-being. So often we are primarily drawn, stuck to see ourselves through this prism of low: esteem, self worth and value.
Certainly what doesn't help are our outer eyes that are searching for remedy and relief and see a world around them championing everything that you see yourself as not having. Our perceptions are usurped by believing what others say and portray and of course look at ourselves as absent in those areas. Talk about the big lie! Our outer eyes see beauty, perfection, sexiness, success, recognition, approval, validation, affirmation and wealth that we don't have and form an inner sense of comparison that bribes us, prejudices our perceptions and directs us towards inventing a new you -flipping ourselves inside out -creating an outer persona that accomplishes all that you are not and unfortunately one that takes you further and further away from yourself. One day you will wake up and find yourself way down-stream in a raft that the white-waters wished you away to a destination you never intended to go.
Unfortunately, we often don't see things as they are but what are low consciousness filled with our insecurities wishes us to see. The Torah teaches us that we don't see reality so easy as it exhorts us to study the most simple concepts on a day to day basis like " Who is the wise one, the rich one, the strong one and the most honored one"? Well if we go as to how society implores us to live and what is venerated we would answer these questions as: the one who is extremely intelligent who has amassed a lot of worldly knowledge and has great analytical skills, the one who has physically perfected their bodies (you can come to Boca to see this), the wealthy and famous. )I mean don't we know more about Lindsay Lohan than our cousins? Yeah we all know the right answers that the Torah gives us - The one who is wise is the one who learns from literally everyone, the one who is strong is the one who masters their self control in steering away from their negative and less desirable inclinations (like critically judging everyone and everything unfavorably) , the one who is wealthy is the one who is satisfied with and enjoys what they have and the honored one is the one who honors others. Life appears one way but in reality first glances aren't true - as it says in another teaching "don't look at the jug, look at what is in it" - it's teaching us that life presents itself as the jug, we have to learn to look beyond it.
Getting Out of the Trap!
You are not necessarily your thoughts - not necessarily your racing and busy mind. So often your thoughts are like "people's magazine" being delivered to your door step and seems at that moment the only available reading material. Beginning to realize that the content of your thoughts might be skewing the truth of what you are seeing. You are pure consciousness, awareness and free will all rolled as one that is your inner identity way beyond and deeper than your thoughts. At times it doesn't appear that way as we embody our thoughts like gloves on our hands in the Wisconsin winter. (personal experience)- Gee just where do all of these thoughts particularly the ones that skew reality and accentuate my insecurities come from anyway? (another time for this question)- Jut knowing that we are not our thoughts could be the most important realization and skill that one could develop. Opening the door on one side of the house, letting Mr. thought in and all of his hooligans and running quickly to open the door on the other side of the house and letting these rushing, running, urgent, impetuous, thoughts out the other door. I am master of myself and if I can recognize an unhealthy path of thoughts I can pull myself back ever so slightly so as not to find myself all the way down stream in an unproductive, unhealthy place. If I am so drawn.
A lower level of fear of God - is seeing God's world accurately, not necessarily relating to him in any way but seeing things are they are not what we wish them to be. One of the deepest lessons we can learn about life and manifestation of a low level of fear of God is coming to terms with the true nature of consequences. One readily learns it experimentally in the physical realm - eat too many jelly beans -you get a big stomach ache. Don't exercise, eat what and when you want- get fat-don't pay attention in school, go out week nights and don't study -bad grades. On a deeper level the true quality of greatness, meaning and purpose that we year for and acquire in our lives will be totally dependent upon understanding life accurately and seeing exactly what we need to do , say and live in order to acquire what we truly want for ourselves.
I actually have to go so I will just finish up quickly. Shoshie's death has catapulted Denise and I into a realm of seeing - real seeing. A tragic event like this brings home the idea of true consequences like nothing else could or can. The preciousness of each moment of life has become apparent - life is now out of the quickly rushing stream taking us no-where. Life is a moment to moment unfolding opportunity to create meaning and purpose in this world. We are out of our heads and into life. Being real with how our present actions of today will create a big, giant tapestry of what future picture of what our lives added up to will be shown to us at the end of our lives and beyond in the next world is the epitome of seeing consequences - And it is that wisdom (the one who sees how his actions will be born out in the future) which creates moment to moment alertness in one's life. Life is slowing down, we are not our thoughts, we are focused on the ball and want to create the biggest difference we can with our lives (elui nishmat shoshana rachel ben harav elimelech)
One can't help to be swept away by a stream- just know the dynamic and you will eventually in a graceful way steer yourself out of it. Don't believe everything you see at first glance, check it out- you don't like it? open the door- if it was really compelling come back later when you feel better and examine the distressing and alarming content. Let's talk more another time - time to go to Bais Yakov carpool and later this morning there will be an assembly announcing a program that will be named in Shoshies honor -love Mike