A few nights ago my son Josh asked me if I know, “what is Down syndrome?”
The question took me by surprise. Josh is fifteen and although he has Down Syndrome, this is the very first time he has ever asked this question. We have always made a conscious choice in our home to not label any of our children as anything. Not the “pretty one,” the “smart one,” the one with a disability, and so on and so forth. When you label someone you limit them from being so many things. I explained to him that it is a diagnosis that explains why some people are different than others. I went on to explain that everyone is different in their own way. Some people are strong, some are thin, some are funny, that everyone has their own set of unique strengths… that different is good. I asked him if he felt different? He said yes. “Sometimes when I don’t listen and don’t make good choices,” he continued. (He was referring to his impulsivity.)
He then asked if anyone else in our family had Down syndrome.
I said no and so perhaps he would get a different answer. He then proceeded to go through every family member, naming each, one-by-one. As we got to the bottom of the list, he expressed with all of his essence, that he wants to be like everyone else in his family. That he wants to be able to live alone someday and have the choice to do what he wants when he wants. And like his big brother David, drive a car and get married someday. He desires independence, the ability to make his own choices. What he truly desires is freedom.
Don’t we all…
Freedom. The power and the right to live our life the way we want to without hindrance, without restraint. Taking it a step further, we desire the freedom to pursue what we desire. How interesting that it all comes back to being able to manifest what we desire.
Kabbalist Rav Ashlag posed the question, “What is the greatest gift we have in our lives?” And the answer is desire. Desire is a gift from the Creator that we receive to help us grow and transform. If we wanted for nothing, we would not only never fulfill our purpose, we honestly wouldn’t go anywhere or do anything. It is our desire that drives us. It is our soul’s purpose pushing us forward, motivating us to grow and to reveal our potential.
The kabbalists teach that our capacity for desire is our vessel. The bigger the vessel, the greater the blessings we can draw into our lives. If we want more blessings, we need a bigger vessel and to build a bigger vessel we have to increase our desire. It is the way that we create space in our lives for the things we truly want.
What I mean by desire has nothing to do with physical cravings or passions, but a desire for a true connection to the Creator and to reveal our soul’s potential. Kabbalah is a verb, it literally means to receive, and if we are not constantly growing our desire, and thereby growing our capacity to receive blessings, then it will be difficult to accomplish our purpose in this world.
Anytime we have a desire, and that desire is deep enough, we have the ability to manifest it in our lives. In the case of Josh, he may have a different set of challenges, but his ability to desire is as strong as anyone else’s. Because he has a true desire, for autonomy and the ability to live on his own, I know that this consciousness will move him to steps that will propel him forward in great ways and I look forward to nurturing him on that journey.
No matter who we are, or where we are in our lives, we all have desire. Some think in order to be spiritual or humble, you should not want for more — but Kabbalah teaches something different. The kabbalists believe that desire is a gift, an opportunity to build an even deeper connection to the Creator, to reveal more of our potential, to reveal even more Light. Our desires help us grow and transform and that is, after all, the entire purpose of our lives in this world. As we celebrate a holiday dedicated to freedom, I invite you to give thanks for all of the freedom you do have, to give thought to everything you truly want, and to take steps to manifest it.
Begin to see each desire as a gift and a chance to connect to that powerful source within you that can change the direction of your life and the way you live it.
Happy Fourth of July!
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
Your desire is possible simply because you desire it. How does this change the way you see what you desire? How does this change the way you can support the people you love in their desires?