Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life's a journey(s)

And I’m not sure we always enjoy the ride…

Actually, life is a series of journeys. Some of them are long and arduous, while others are fairly straight-forward. At times, we travel on routes filled with potholes, and feel relieved to reach the wide tarred highways of life. Sometimes we know where we are headed and other times we feel hopelessly lost. Each trip, and each stop has a message and a meaning that makes our life what it is.

You may hear people talk of “Gilgul”, the Jewish concept of soul-cycles. People naturally assume that this refers to the multiple lives that a soul lives.

The Ba’al Shem Tov explains one goes through numerous Gilgulim or life-cycles within the course of a single life. If you know how to navigate them, you reach your destination whole and enriched.

We've just read the Torah portion called Massei, which lists the 42 pit-stops that the Jewish nation made en route from Egypt to Israel. If you pay attention to the opening verse, you’ll immediately discover an anomaly. The Torah starts: “These are the journeys that the Jewish people took to leave Egypt.”

Between you and I, it only takes one journey to leave Egypt. As soon as you cross the border, you’re out. Simple.

Yet, the Torah wants to teach us about life rather than about history.

Mitzrayim, the Hebrew term for Egypt, means constraints. Life’s journeys are not about getting from A to B. They represent the challenges that allow us to grow and develop into better people.
You grow when you challenge your natural limitations. Leaving Egypt means breaking your barriers and exceeding your expectations.

As soon you break out of the box, your new paradigm becomes your new “Egypt”. In other words, now that you’ve risen to the challenge, you can’t rest on your laurels. What used to be impossible has become ordinary. To grow further, you need to challenge yourself with a new “impossible”.

Do that 42 times, and you reach life’s destination - or your personal Promised Land.

Until then, you’re in a state of relative Egypt, with plenty more journeys ahead.

No comments: