Saturday, December 17, 2011

Heart Ache

Last Thursday night, I saw the most depressing movie. It was a movie about egos. Narcissists whose selfish desires for self gratification and justifications for their selfish actions were totally out of control in every direction. Usually they make movies about people who inspire others or who have overcome great adversity and who show the greatness of human spirit that we all aspire to emulate. Usually they make movies that tell a story. This movie was morbid and frightening in its lack of empathy. I don’t recommend seeing it, unless you want to be thoroughly shocked and depressed by its sense of alienation from the human spirit. Simply awful. The violence was subtle and understated, but a common thread that bound the movie together into a huge ball of egos which formed a planet headed on a collision force with planet earth and that  finally hit and destroyed the earth’s life.

It is movies like this that should never be made and should never have money, time and effort wasted on them. The name of the movie is Melancholia and that was the name of the planet that is about to collide with the earth. Obviously the people who made the movie were wasted on Prozac or Zoloft and they then thought the state of mind of the characters portrayed was a normal condition. I assure you, it is not.

Tied to this thought, I want to discuss heart ache. We all feel some level of heart ache throughout our lives. It is normal and healthy. We grow through our pains as much as our joys in life. Heartache often binds us to reality and it makes us strive to try harder in many directions. We strive to cover our disappointments with achievements in a variety of fields. The disappointments may be in ourselves, our family, our friends and our associates at work or socially.

Our joys are the high points, the pivotal moments in our existence. They are brief moments in times when we conquer ourselves and the world around us for the better. It is when we do not see heart ache for what it really is and get too caught up in it and wallow, instead of learning from it that we run into trouble. G-D sets us tests of faith and endurance in our life. It is sort of like running a marathon and not knowing where the finish line is but enjoying the run and pacing ourselves to finish rather than to win. We do our best and only our best. We cannot compare ourselves to others who have different goals or different abilities and talents.

We must look up to the stars and see ourselves reflected in the light. Then we must look down at the ground and understand where we are and where we need to go. Many times the night is dark and we have no guide in it all except G-D. Those we think are friends – they are not friends but merely wolves with a taste for blood, circling us looking for a weak point to spring in and rip at our jugular to bring us down and drink our life blood and go on invigorated by the kill. I had a person who I thought was a friend for just under forty years. Then there is family who you think by accident of birth are friendly and that they may be kindly disposed towards you and they are not. You are the scapegoat, the focal point of malaise in your family and nothing you do will ever be right. You will be criticised for each action, word or thought you have. You are what is wrong with the family and only through criticism of you, will the other members of your family feel right because you bear the burden of their guilt, their uncertainties and their failures in life. To escape this negativity you may have to cut off all contact and even for that you will be criticised, so you can’t win.

If you have contact, you will be negated and brow beaten at every turn and made to feel that your very existence is a bane, a blight on the lives of other family members and if there is one family member who is kindly disposed towards you, he or she will be attacked as well because of guilt by association.  If you don’t have contact, you will again be attacked as the problem. So you do not know what to do. On one hand you desire family and want closeness with family but when you do have family contact, your senses feel invaded by the negative projections and the power they have to inflict hurt on you and those you love like your children. All the negativity will be reflected onto them.

Usually you form friendships that are long lasting and from which you get a much more positive self reflection instead of bad, bad, bad and more bad that you receive from your family. This is called dysfunctional families. Healthy families have close contact with all members and while there are personality clashes, it is smoothed over and life goes on.


The Repenting Jewess said...

What I learned from studying Chabad Chassidus for many years is this: A person may go through all kinds of tests that are varied in intensity and quality. The degree to which a person comes out the other end and the amount of spiritual growth is proportionate to the intensity of the test. After it is over, if one is victorious, the person becomes a stronger self than before. Then one can see oneself more clearly as they are. The Divine Spark of holiness hidden in the test is now out in the open which was temporarily hidden during the test's duration. Something new is awakened inside the person transforming them to a higher level of spiritual awareness and sensitivity. The person broke the shell of unholiness and revealed its hidden holiness. He is now ready to go to a higher level of existence. The power of the unholiness that was locked in the shell is available to him and is brought into holiness. This is because the unholiness is really holy in its origin. When one releases their holy origins by overcoming the test, one reveals an even holier spiritual power than before. The word for test is nisyaon and it has the same letters for the word nes which means miracle or banner or flag. The flag is the flag of victory of overcoming. When one overcomes then one increases one's Daat or knowledge of Hashem (Chabad is an acronym for Chochma, Binah and Daat which is Intellect, Intuition, and Knowledge and there is a dialectical relationship between the three).

Ilana said...

Couldn't have said it better. Some things you cannot change. I once followed the advice of a counsellor I went to many years ago after my divorce in 1992 who shall remain nameless who gave me some very bad advice. I was at the time quite shocked because I thought his advice was so contradictory to what I thought I should be doing. He told me things like I should uncover my hair and also to be more 'free in my relationships with the opposite sex' and in other words make a harlot of myself. This was extremely confusing after being in a marriage with a person who did not daven daily with minyan, did no study, kept kosher very loosely and who was very hypocritical and 'hands on' let us say, with members of the opposite sex and so I was extremely, extremely vulnerable and was for a while very lost in where I was meant to be going. The Torah is given to keep us and protect us from the gushimus of this world. We will have tests enough with out putting more in our way. The thing is I should not have listened and I should have been guided only by Torah. the torah sets things out for us to tread a narrow path to righteousness and if we step off that path we become entangled in deep pooh so to speak.

Ilana said...

Ironically the best piece of advice I received from another ger who was in Israel with his family when I rang drowning in events that I did not understand was,'Ilana you must say tehillim and trust in Hashem.' I did not follow it because I thought rather arrogantly at the time, Oh he is just a ger who converted to marry, what would he know? I was too far off the path to hear the truth and thus had to find my way back through the thorns and rough patches tearing pieces of flesh off with every step down the wrong way. If I had followed his advice in Israel who knows what might have happened and how my life would have turned out today. But perhaps it was part of divine plan that I did not follow it. Hashem puts people together for a reason and it is a lesson for both parties and thus we move on ever forward. Torah sets out a way of life and a way of acting that allows us to move and change spiritually in amazing ways.