The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, was once interrogated by the Soviet secret police. Frustrated and enraged by his lack of cooperation, his interrogator finally pulled out a gun, pointed it at him, and said, “This little toy has made many men talk!” The Rebbe replied that “this little toy” could only frighten someone who believes in one world and many gods, but because he believed in many worlds with only one G-d, it didn’t scare him at all. Because the Rebbe lived in a state of constant awareness of the ultimate truth, he was able to stay strong and true to his ideals even in the most horrifying situation.
In order to remain vital and hopeful through challenging and disheartening situations, we must expand our perspective beyond what is right in front of us and remember that we have souls that live both in this world and outside of it. A stream of helpful information is constantly broadcast from those aspects of ourselves that exist beyond the confines of normal life. Accessing this stream allows us to live in our higher selves and stay in sync with a larger reality. Unfortunately, we generally remain oblivious to this source of wisdom because we just don’t tune into it.
From a Chassidic perspective, the human mind is not just a receptacle for memories and information. Rather it is understood to be a type of jamming device whose main function is to screen out any information that is deemed irrelevant to the situation at hand. The “default setting” of our minds generally restricts any information that does not pertain to food, shelter, and reproduction from entering into our consciousness. If we want to go beyond this limited vision and tap into our full soul power, we must “reprogram our settings” so that the mind will allow more subtle messages to come through.
Here is a bit of a guided meditation to illustrate the point:
Imagine you are sitting on a bench in Manhattan. It is 3:42 a.m. and all the night’s revelers have finally gone home and the day’s first delivery truck has yet to arrive. It is actually quiet and you breathe deeply. An old man approaches and sits on the bench. You can faintly hear him humming a tune and you strain to listen. It is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard and you sit enraptured. Long, blissful minutes go by until… a taxi turns a corner and speeds down the street – rushing to the airport. Trucks start to rumble in the distance. You hear a door slam and people talking loudly. You desperately look over at the old man and see that he’s still singing – but you can no longer hear him because the city’s noise is now drowning him out.
There is a constant divine chorus that has reverberated throughout the universe since G-d created it. Our souls are actually a part of that choir and masterfully sing their assigned parts. If we want to be truly alive and actualize our fullest potentials then we must learn how to hear what our own souls are singing. In order to do this, we must first quiet the less refined parts of ourselves that constantly demand our attention. Interestingly, the easiest and most straight-forward way of accomplishing this is by simply falling asleep. Our minds are then much more open and receptive to messages streaming from our higher souls. The trick is to practice remembering our dreams and then strive to understand their meaning to us. Meditation and prayer also quiets the animal soul and allows us to tap into a higher source. Getting lost in activities that line up with our personal talents and genius is another effective way to hear the divine chorus.
The point is that we need to actually do something in order to transcend our normal states of consciousness and open ourselves up to our souls’ full power. If we do not actually open the door, then we will never see what’s behind it – and we will never recognize our own true worth and significance. Ask yourself, “Am I doing anything today to go beyond the mundane and access this divine energy that both inhabits, and envelopes, my true essence?” If the answer is no, then try to come up with at least one daily activity that will accomplish this goal. It is a small investment that can be cultivated and expanded over time and will pay off a thousand-fold.