Test Number Eight Can You Keep The Light of Desire Burning (No Matter What)?
DESIRING THE “IMPOSSIBLE”
Let’s get one thing straight: It’s my mission to obliterate your desire, while it should be your greatest mission to keep your desire strong, healthy, and growing. What’s the big deal with desire? Desire is essential to the fulfillment of your Vessel, and therefore of your dreams.
Now, this is not about letting go and surrendering the outcome to God. Desire is never something to be surrendered! It is the crucial component of your very relationship with God. And one key to maintaining desire is making sure that I don’t wiggle my way in between you and God. You always need to be on the lookout for me, since, as you know by now, I can be tricky to spot. But if you start to believe that it is time to give up on your dreams, you can bet that I have definitely entered the Game.
Take, for instance, a 40-year-old woman who would like to have a child, but feels that it is too late. If she allows me to enter the picture, I’ll convince her to throw in the towel straight away. But that is the test, you see, and it’s a life-changing one. She must decide between succumbing to my doubts, or believing that anything under the sun can and will happen if you want it bad enough.
What would you do?
I’ll tell you what I would do. To convince her to give up, I’d play the statistics card. It rarely fails when I am working with someone into whom I have already injected a bit of doubt. Having children after the age of 40 is a gamble at best, I’d tell her. But I’ll let you in on the truth. You shouldn’t always listen to statistics—here’s why:
Having children is as much a miracle at 20 as it is at 70! Regardless of age, conceiving a child requires Divine Intervention. The reason it doesn’t often happen later in life is that people don’t believe it can.
Think about it: God could create an evolutionary process in which it’s normal for women to continue to menstruate until they are 100 years old. Most people don’t believe that would be possible, but anything is possible when you’re talking about the power of the Creator.
Look at history if you need proof. Travel by air seemed impossible at one time, but now we have a space shuttle that travels through the sky at 17,000 miles per hour. Our ancestors could only expect to live to age 40, under the best of circumstances. Now, you are capable of living twice as long as that, if not longer.
What guides the evolutionary process is what you believe to be possible. And that includes technology. Twenty years ago, leukemia was a death sentence. Not so today. If someone developed clogged arteries or heart disease, they were mine for the taking. Enter bypass surgery in the sixties.
Humans have the power to change, as does technology, which is spurred by human thought and innovation. So, why couldn’t a woman develop the capability to have children at any age? What could possibly prevent technology from advancing to that point? The answer lies in your certainty. The scientist who will discover a cure for an “incurable” disease is the scientist who believes the cure is there to be found. Just as the woman who conceives at age 60 is the woman who knew it was possible. When it comes to spiritual transformation, you can throw statistics out the window. Consider a person who loses his home to a flood or fire. He might go through life thinking that:
a. He is less likely to lose his home again, so he shouldn’t worry, or
b. If it happened once, why wouldn’t it happen again?
Which way of thinking is right? Neither, because the tests you face in life aren’t left up to chance. You are tested whenever it’s necessary to move you to the next level toward perfection. You are tested when it’s time to let go of the garbage you’ve been hauling around.
THE P WORD
What can you do to give over your disbelief? How can you transform the impossible into the possible? One word. Prayer. There, I said it. Part of making impossible things happen is prayer. If you want to defeat doubt—if you want to defeat me—start with prayer. Prayer lets Light in and forces me out. Prayer will make the difference, and it starts with knowing that it is your right—your duty even—to ask for the impossible.
That’s what Hannah did. Do you know her story from the Bible? She did it without ever giving me the opportunity to stop her.
Hannah was childless. Despite wanting children badly, she didn’t succumb to my usual tactics. She resisted self-pity and would simply not give up hope that one day she would have a child. I watched her as she went to the Temple to pray. Hannah was so intent in her prayer—and so intent on her connection with the Creator—that she was actually swaying from side to side and mumbling beneath her breath as she prayed.
The people who prayed around her thought she was just an old drunk, but, being immune to me, she was also immune to their judgment; she heard not one of their negative comments, so lost was she in her connection. And her commitment paid off. She gave birth to the Prophet Samuel.
Like Hannah, it’s time to start believing in and asking for the impossible. As it is with finding your soul mate, you are entitled to the “impossible” because you are entitled to all things good. So why not do what it takes to bring the impossible into this world? Perhaps having children is not a test or a challenge for you, but I know firsthand that you are facing other challenges that require you to stretch yourself beyond your current belief system. That’s the space where you’ll find God—outside of the limitations provided by me and by the material, finite world. There is no such thing as a fixed destiny.
When you feel like throwing in the towel, ask yourself: “What am I missing? Where is the goodness I am failing to see here?” I can guarantee that if you feel like giving up, you are missing the Divine opportunity that stands before you. The Light is right before your eyes!
And if you keep taking the Light for granted, you’ll lose it. That almost happened to Rav Nachum. He was a student under my nemesis, the Baal Shem Tov. He and I battled for a bit, as you’ll see.
THE STUDENT AND THE THIEF
As a student of a wise teacher, Rav Nachum’s job was to collect money for the poor. After spending days trying to collect money with no success, I finally had him on his knees. Rav Nachum was ready to quit. “Why do I have this job?” he cried out in frustration.
At that moment, a thief walked by. It was obvious to Rav Nachum that this thief was quite content, so he asked him why he was so happy. The thief replied, “I’m just doing my work. I came into this world to steal, and that’s what I do. Maybe one day, I’ll have the privilege to steal from you.”
Rav Nachum reflected on the encounter. It was then that I could feel myself starting to lose my grip on him (when you start reflecting on your actions that tends to happen). I heard Rav Nachum say to himself, “I am a free man and the student of a great wise man, and I’m sad. He’s a thief who will probably wind up in jail, and he’s happy.”
It was then that he got it. He saw what he had. The Light. The opportunity. Everything. And this reenergized him to fulfill his purpose, and he went above and beyond in his work of collecting money. When Rav Nachum returned to the Baal Shem Tov with the fruits of his labor and relayed the story of the happy thief who had inspired him to keep going, his teacher smiled.
Part of the consciousness around giving up is not realizing your gifts. In the moment you decide to give up, you cease appreciating all that you have been given. In the story, Rav Nachum had been given a gift in the form of a specific job and the skill to do it. A job doesn’t get much better than that! Yet, he took this responsibility for granted, until the Creator sent him a sign and he met the thief who genuinely enjoyed the task he had been assigned.
The thief reawakened Rav Nachum’s desire, and from that point forward, everything flowed as it should.
So what can you do to reignite your desire? You can pray for more.
Yes, you can ask the Creator for the ability to want more, to expect more, and to have more desire. In fact, you’ve got to—it is your obligation as a Vessel of Light to demand what is yours. You forget that the Creator is more than willing to work with you. The Creator will send you experiences and challenges to strengthen your resolve and nurture your desire. This is exactly why God asked me to give you all these tests. If you shut down your desire and refuse to ask for more, you’re sending me an invitation that I won’t turn down. But if you knew with certainty that an answer to your prayers was right around the corner, would you ever give up?
PRAYERS FOR MERCY
While I’m on the subject of prayer, I should mention a specific kind of prayer. A prayer for mercy. This is the strongest type of prayer you can offer up. Here’s the deal. God will never leave you hanging—never. God will offer you the gift of mercy if you ask for it. If you have taken responsibility for your pain and suffering and have worked on healing it from the inside out, then it is your obligation to ask God to remove the burden. You ask this of God when the pain is too great to bear and if it is no longer helping you grow spiritually. God can and will step in to dissolve the pain for you if you are willing to ask for God’s help.
By using this tool, you cease being a slave to pain—and to me. Instead, you rely on the Light of the Creator to heal you, just like a son or daughter relies on a loving parent. You are deserving of help; not only that, your birthright is a life free of suffering. Yes, I have worked hard to make you forget this little insignificant detail, but it is the truth. You are worthy of God’s grace.
GOD WILL MEET YOU WHERE YOU ARE
Consider the story of a man that I “worked with” once. I had him swimming in debt up to his ears, miserable, and scared. He didn’t see God in anything or anyone. I had him right where I wanted him. He owed so much money that his life was literally on the line. Needless to say, this was a very desperate man.
One day, he walked into his study and a book fell on his head. He picked up the book written by a wise man named Rav Nachman, and it fell open to a passage that simply said, “Don’t give up.”
Even I couldn’t prevent him from heeding such a clear message from God! After reading the line, he chose to take on extra work, climbed out of the debt he was under, and turned his life around. Rav Nachman came to him in a dream that night and said, “When I wrote that in my book, I wrote that line for you.”
Do you see how utterly simple the answer to the man’s problem was? The guy just needed to keep moving forward. Thankfully, the Creator will meet you precisely where you are spiritually. If it takes a book falling on your head with the answer, then the Creator won’t hesitate. There is always a solution in the Light!
I know that you’ve been right there, where the man in the story was. I know this because I was right there with you. You wanted to give up, maybe even take your own life (Talk about the power of my influence!). It may have been during a midlife crisis, or right after you lost someone you loved. In your case, you managed to crawl out of that state of depression. I am impressed, and I know how you did it. You didn’t give up because you continued to have some level of desire. You desired to live, to experience joy, and to find fulfillment. You desired these things because this is your nature; it’s who you are.
DESIRE IT LIKE YOU’RE ADDICTED TO IT
I know you like shortcuts, so I know you’ll like this one. You have to crave what you truly desire, just like a drug user craves a hit or like a sugar freak craves a piece of cake. (In those examples, the desire happens to be misplaced, but it’s strong nonetheless.) It’s not a question of whether or not you are going to get your fix (your fulfillment); it’s only a matter of how. That is how strong your desire for Light should be. To realize your potential, you have to crave it with a passion. Anything less just won’t cut it.