When two people achieve a level of bond of friendship or love so complete that each puts the well-being of the other above his, the Creator will set aside all of his other concerns in relation to these people in order to draw down Light upon them.
That’s a big statement. If we truly put the well-being of another in front of ourselves, we draw down blessings and our other shortcomings are ‘set aside’ and not addressed by the Creator. We all wish to achieve this state of unconditional love with another person, and yet most people never do, even with their spouses. Such a thing would require a profound level of certainty… meaning we believe even when we can’t see something in its entirety. We have trust beyond logic.
My husband Michael shared this story from Rav Ashlag about how to know the depth of certainty. Rav Ashlag said that determining how much certainty (trust) you have is very easy to ascertain. If your friend asks you, “Can you lend me a dollar?” you lend him a dollar. No questions asked. If your friend asks you to lend him a thousand dollars, now you have to think. Do you trust that person? If you do, lend him a thousand dollars. Now, what if you have a friend that says, “Whatever you have, I need half of it”? To go that far, you would have to trust that person explicitly. If you were friend was to say, “I need you to lend me everything you have”, what would you do? I don’t know anyone who would give a friend everything that they own. In this analogy, Rav Ashlag was relating that we should have absolute certainty in the Creator, to the point that we would give everything that we have in this world, but it also illustrates how much trust we place in those that are closest to us.
Chronic lack of certainty and trust issues are easy to identify in our personal lives, but new studies show a profound correlation between trust and larger problems in our society. “The Spirit Level”, by epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, draws on decades of research that offers compelling statistics that people who live in places of unequal income live harder lives. Not just poor people. All people. This inequality goes beyond simple economics and buying power; statistics show that the more unequal a country is the more everyone distrusts each other. Louisiana (my birth state) has a huge income disparity and as such, only slightly more than a third of the population says it trusts most other people. In North Dakota, where incomes are more equal, those who trust most people doubles to 67%.
Countries with relatively equal incomes are more trusting. This trust is correlated with lower instances of infant mortality, mental health issues, incarceration and other societal challenges. Not to pick on the U.S. again, but the U.S. has the biggest trust issues, the most income inequality, and the highest rates of incarceration and infant mortality when compared to other developed nations. No matter how wealthy the country, if it has huge income gaps there are higher instances of crime, incarceration, infant mortality and mental illness. Researchers surmise that gaps in trust and empathy lead to breakdowns in social cohesion in our schools, our hospitals, and our communities. This lack of unity has consequences for everyone, rich and poor.
The goal of The Kabbalah Centre is to remove pain, suffering and chaos from the world. Often when people hear this they find it rather lofty and idealistic, pragmatically unattainable. Usually, spiritual principles do not directly correlate to measurable statistics; however, I think that this study is a scientifically based reminder that we are all connected, that our thoughts and our feelings do affect everyone else. Lack of trust and certainty in each other is the spiritual reason for the chaos around us. It’s that simple, and it’s that profound. Each one of us has a great deal of power to create unity between the people in our lives.
Unity is the only way forward if we want to improve this world. I’m not an anarchist or a political activist; I believe that – through the teachings of Kabbalah, through our spiritual growth and the progress we make towards certainty in the Creator, through our love for our friends and family – that we DO have a profound impact on the world around us. My husband often speaks about the importance of taking responsibility for others, of pushing ourselves to give more and to do more. There is always something more we can do, something more we can give to one another. When we push ourselves to really care more for others, and to place more trust in others, only then will we see the profound changes that we seek. For ourselves. For this world.
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