It is helpful to understand that there is a dark side, because if we don’t acknowledge the dark side, as many do not, then we don’t acknowledge the light, and this ignorant lack of delineation creates chaos. Beyond delineating dark and light, we must be aware that we have choices in each moment. In each moment, there is a choice to move toward the light or to be seduced by the pleasure of the darkness. The more you connect to your soul, the more you will naturally move towards the light. But we must be aware that there is that other choice. We should not say that nothing matters.
The general dark side position is that there is no God, and it doesn’t really matter what you do. To avoid the seduction of choosing darkness, we must be in touch with our souls to feel the light within us guiding the way. We must inquire of ourselves if something is taking us towards the light or away from the light. In asking that question, our awareness expands, and the inner battle becomes more offensive than defensive. Defense is about guarding from the darkness. Offense is moving toward the light. A good offense is the best defense.
Some say that when you pray aloud, the dark side can hear you, and thus it is better to pray silently. However, the deeper teaching of prayer is offensive rather than defensive. This is l’hitapallel. We become our prayer. We are transformed by our prayer. At the same time, according to mystical tradition, we want to be somewhat hidden from the dark side. We may pray quietly, yet the deeper reason for our prayer is to be transformed.
We are in an offensive position when we serve with joy and the love. This joy and love comes from within. We are hardwired into the Divine. It is non-causal love and joy. It is the truth of who we are. We are that love. We are that joy. That is our nature. When we live the Six Foundations, it just naturally emerges. It’s who we are. A way of understanding the human condition is that we are the light and the joy of God, and when we tap in by creating a quiet mind and living in harmony and in service and charity, we access our own true humanity. It is just natural to who we are. It is our natural human state. A lot of people get into guilt, thinking they are a bad person. But when we go deep enough, when we go into the soul, that soul is hardwired to God. That joy and that love and that perception of oneness are all non-causal. It is just the truth. That is the beauty of it.
What then is sin? Sin is simply a movement away from God. Anything that distances us from God, in the way that I’m defining it, is sin. That can be a whole lot of things, but you have the ability to turn it around and to go towards the light. Everyone misses the mark. We call this chet. Everyone moves in the wrong direction, but it’s all set up so that we have the choice to turn around and to go toward the light and not to be involved with actions that take us away, miss the mark, or what we call sin. Any misstep can be reversed if we keep focus on the light. In the Torah tradition, people who make mistakes and then see the light, are considered to be higher up than those who never make a mistake. These people are strong enough to overcome their own darkness and head toward the light. This is actually great spiritual strength. It’s a very positive way to think about it, and there is deep truth to that. God has made a very good design for us, but, of course, we have to choose to play.
Belief and faith are not the same. Going by what our teachers tell us and what our parents tell us is more about belief. Faith is when you have the direct experience of that truth, even for a second. Then you’re on faith because you’ve actually had your own experience. Usually, you have to start with belief and trusting what your elders have to say so you can live your life in a way that eventually has you actually experience what you’ve been believing. In this, belief becomes faith. You know it. You have no doubt. That’s why we live this way. Living the Six Foundations increases our ability to have the experiences that transition us from belief into faith.
The God that created us, makes contact with us. It’s our program to know God. It’s our destiny. Some people get there sooner than later, but no matter, it is each of our destinies. There is much resistance to this in the world because people are not willing to enter the mystery. They fear it. The ability to stay with the mystery is something we must nurture. This is why if a group of people who share in this, it makes it easier. We have to go beyond the rational mind and into the heart.
The mystery is unified. At the same time, everyone, according to his or her own background, perceives it differently. In the Torah it says the God of Abraham, then it says the God of Isaac. These are different relationships. Then it says the God of Jacob. Again, these are unique relationships with the same God. It is hard-wired into each of us and everyone has their own experience of the same truth. That’s also what makes it beautiful. You can’t legislate your experience. You have to leave room for each one’s unique expression, otherwise it doesn’t work. There is more than one way to think about this truth.