As mentioned in the article on the Traveler's Prayer, a fundamental Kabbalistic outlook is that everything in our physical world is a parallel of a spiritual reality. This is similar to the relationship between a projection on a screen and the microfilm at its root, in which the microfilm is the essence of the projection and the projection is the expression of the microfilm.
It follows, then, that if I want to make a change in the goings on of the world, there appears to be two options in front of me at first glance: making a change to the projection on the screen and making a change to the microfilm at its root. However, upon taking a closer look, we find that any attempt to alter the projection would merely modify the matter artificially; it is simply scribbling onto the screen upon which the projection is being projected. Whereas, to alter the microfilm is to modify the matter at its essential root.
Thus, if one wants to alter world policy, there are two ways he can go about attempting to bring about change. He can either get involved in the projection or he can get involved in the microfilm. He can get involved in politics or he can get involved in spiritual matters. The spiritual matters will always be the internal root of political policy and political policy will always be an external expression of spiritual matters.
However, it is important to note that, as mentioned in the previous articles regarding one's business dealings, the truth according to Judaism is that we are supposed to take physical action and work within the world in order to bring about positive change because we are not supposed to rely on miracles. Yet, at no time are we supposed to take the perspective that we are in charge of the results of our actions. We are to maintain the focus that we are involved in the mundane since that is part of our role here, yet go about it with the clarity that God is determining the results and we accomplish nothing on our own. We are to put in sensible effort yet know that our efforts do nothing in terms of achieving our goal. In other words, we are supposed to be within the physical world yet beyond it.
This is true spiritual living and this is the path of holiness.
Two of the most well-known Jewish commentaters, Rashi and Nachmonides, define holiness as separation and elevation respectively. Essentially, these are two sides of the same coin. It seems what they are saying is that the path toward holiness is the ability to live within this world while existing beyond it. That the soul should occupy a body of physicality with its desires and limitations, yet not become engrossed in those desires and limitations.
This is God-like living. Just as God is beyond this world, its physicality, and its limitations yet exists 100 percent within every point of this world, its physicality, and its limitations, the human being who achieves this level of ascendance accesses and expresses his soul—that which makes him or her God-like.
8/31/2011 4:00:00 AM