Kabbalah and Psychology: Anxiety Relief – The Kabbalah Approach to Mental Health – Part 16 – Contemplating the Lowliness of Man

Awareness of the absolute reality of G-d and the tenuous nature of creation makes a person develop a healthy disdain for anything that contravenes this awareness. Anything that acts in defiance of G-d's existence, demanding our attention or obeisance for itself, becomes wittingly or unwittingly an enemy of the truth. Someone who is mindful of the true nature of reality will seek to either edify or avoid such entities. Indeed, evil (and sin) may be defined simply as anything (or any act) that counteracts man s consciousness of G-d or of His will.

A person duly impressed with the absoluteness of G-d's reality will evaluate the elements that make up his life in terms of the extent to which they harmonize with this truth or not. And the first element of his life he will subject to this scrutiny is his own behavior. Does he live his life loving, fearing, esteeming, and so on, G-d or a whole pantheon of lesser deities ?

Everyone knows at some level that he possesses an animal soul, a repository of base and selfish urges and drives. Although we generally like to identify ourselves with somewhat higher pursuits than these, the truth is that most of the time we unwittingly identify with this soul; we consider its perspective, way of thinking, and aspirations to be ours.

Therefore, contemplating the greatness of G-d, after bringing a person to awareness of his own insignificance, brings him further to awareness of his own imperfection and baseness.

Once a person realizes this, his shocking but logical conclusion must be that, contrary to his original feeling that he is a blameless victim of some malevolent force or circumstance, it is actually not at all surprising that he is plagued by any number or manner of problems. Although he may put on a facade of propriety, he in fact is no less an animal than anyone else, and the chances are even quite good that he is more depraved than many. By what right, then, does he deserve anything?

This realization deals the initial blow to the ego, together with the full spectrum of its anxieties. The individual no longer feels that he deserves anything, so having less than he deserves cannot trouble him. His inflated self-image weakened, nothing can pose a threat to it anymore. On the contrary, his knowledge of his innate baseness makes him aware that he should naturally be prone to all sorts of psychological complexes and disorders. The dark side of his personality, which he now realizes dominates his consciousness, should naturally act as a magnet for every imaginable psychological and physical malaise there is.

If, then, there is anything positive about his life, it can only be an undeserved kindness that G-d has bestowed upon him. His response to this act of Divine grace will be unmitigated happiness and an upwelling of appreciation to G-d. Whereas an egocentric person always considers the good in his life to be not enough and therefore cause for complaint, the humble person always considers the good in his life to be above and beyond what he deserves and therefore cause for consummate happiness and gratitude. In fact, the baser a person feels himself to be, the more he will consider himself undeserving of G-d's beneficence, and the happier he will be with whatever G-d does give him. A person's happiness is proportionate to his feeling of non-deserving. In this light, it behooves a person to examine his own failings in the greatest of candor and detail.

In this light, the humble person will be able to consider whatever happens to him to be good, since everything comes from G-d and everything G-d does is good, for such is His nature.

This refusal to relate to the ego and the problems it poses with the full respect it presumes to demand is clearly an act of silencing the inner noise with which it tries to monopolize the individual's attention. The abnegation of ego requisite for this process is an act of submission; the person must humble himself before the greater reality of G-d.


 

 

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