We are well into the holiday season, and everywhere we go, life seems to be teeming with the energy of celebration. Festive decorations hang from doorways and windows, storefronts and treetops are dazzling with twinkle lights, and holiday melodies fill the air, playing in our local coffee shops and grocery stores. It’s almost impossible not to get swept up in the revelry and swept up we should be! Celebration, after all, is the highest expression of our joy and gratitude, two emotions that bring about powerful positivity in our lives.
Next week we welcome the beginning of Chanukah and, with it, the opening of a cosmic portal that kabbalists understood to be the revealing of all of the “concealed Light.” It is for us to capture, but to do so, we must first understand how.
From a kabbalistic perspective, each holiday requires specific consciousness and tools that allow us to access the energy and gifts that are unique to these specific windows in time. During Chanukah, the “Gates of Heaven” open to us more than any other time of year. It is a time of abundant Light and, therefore, a moment for miracles.
We connect to this energy by first acknowledging and appreciating the constant miracles in our lives. Examples of these constant miracles include waking up every day, the sun rising, your partner, your family, your children, friends, the heart that beats in your chest. As we consistently connect to this energy of miracles, the gifts of Chanukah reveal themselves more and more. As we develop a continual appreciation for the miracles already present in our lives, we draw down even more.
The energy and the gift of Chanukah is something we can continue to cultivate long after these eight days are done. There’s a great parable that illustrates the power of this holiday:
There was once a great kabbalist who asked people who came to him with their problems to write down their names and the difficulties they were facing on a piece of paper. The sage would then meditate on what had been written.
One day, a man came to the kabbalist with two pieces of paper: one was his, and the other was his friend’s. First, he gave his paper, then his friend’s, which the kabbalist looked at and said, “I see that this man’s soul is shining with tremendous Light.” He meditated on the friend’s name and prayed for him.
A few months later, the same man returned to the kabbalist. Again, he presented the kabbalist with both names—his and his friend’s. But this time when the kabbalist looked at the friend’s name, he literally threw it out of his hands, shouting, “How could you bring me this man’s name? He’s such a negative person. I don’t even want his name in my house!”
The man was shocked, “I’m very confused. A few months ago, I gave you the very same name, and you told me that his soul was shining with great Light. Now you tell me that he’s a terribly negative person. How can this be?”
The kabbalist thought for a few moments, and said, “I understand what happened. A few months ago, when you first came in with that person’s name, he was lighting the candles for Chanukah. When a person lights the candles on Chanukah, no matter how negative he is and no matter how many negative actions he’s done, the Light of Chanukah shines in his soul. Unfortunately, your friend didn’t continue that connection with the Light when Chanukah was over. He gave it up, and now I see the true darkness in his soul.”
Chanukah is synonymous with miracles, and we have 8 days allotted to revealing them. But are we appreciating what we created once those 8 days close? Or are we returning to our nature like the friend in the parable? As we ring in the New Year, many of us look forward—we turn our attention to goals and resolutions and everything we don’t have—forgetting everything we drew during this time, losing sight of all of our miracles.
The purpose of creating miracles in our lives is not merely done for the miracle’s sake; it is for our sake so that we can awaken our certainty and become an actual channel for the miraculous. The miracles that we create during the special time of Chanukah are meant not only to bring us joy but to align us with an energy that we can embody all year round. When we receive and appreciate our miracles, we can extend miracles to the entire world—this is a life of fulfillment.
At Chanukah, we don’t have to work or strive, we just light the candles to draw in all the blessings and miracles we desire for the rest of the year. Remember though that as the last candle burns out and we move into a brand new year, carry the consciousness of Chanukah with you. Wake up each morning and see the miracle of your life happening through every breath, every minute. Whether it is a time of celebration, a time of challenge, or even a mundane stretch of days, attune your consciousness always to miracles, and they will arrive for you.
As the flow of your blessings arrives, all that’s left to do is share.
Set aside time to meditate on all of your blessings and all of the miracles in your life. Ten minutes, 20 minutes, even an hour. Let yourself revel in all of your abundances. When your heart is full of gratitude and appreciation, ask yourself: how can I share?
Do this daily.