Most of the time this is outside of our awareness. Unless we do something radical to open up our perceptions, the majority of the day we spend being limited by our five senses. By believing that only what we see or hear is all that is. Or at least, that's how it is most days for me. Even after studying Kabbalah for nearly two years and seeing so many minor miracles and 'coincidences', I still forget. I'm still wrapped up in my head, believing that I have to solve everything on my own.
This Saturday at shabbat, somebody I had never seen before stepped up to give the lecture and rather than focusing on events from the Torah, he told a personal story. A story that had such an effect on me that I would like to share. I'm not really sure that I can do the story justice.
The man is from the LA centre, and has been teaching Kabbalah for 20 years. He knows that the Light exists. He teaches his students that the Light exists. But still, like anybody else, his day is filled with seeing the One Percent Reality of day to day life.
Three weeks ago he was struck down with stomach flu and was in a lot of pain. He was unable to eat or drink, but expecting it to last no more than a couple of days, he decided to ride it out. On the fourth day, he was still in an awful lot of pain, but he was able to drink. And so he drank - copious amounts of water to flush the bug from his system. There was only one problem with this - he discovered that he couldn't pass water. And so his bladder began to fill. And still he couldn't pee.
By the fifth day, he was in excruciating pain. He still couldn't pee, still had pain in his stomach, felt as though his bladder was on the verge of exploding. The slightest movement was agony. His wife called an ambulance.
Throughout this time, he said, he had been praying. But as with most of us when in a difficult situation, we still have hope that there is something else that we can do. If you pray without total surrender, your prayers are heard but not answered. For as long as you think that you can possibly find a solution - that you are bigger than God - you prevent God from helping you.
Even in the ambulance, whilst he was praying through this extraordinary pain, he still thought 'it's going to be okay, because I only have to last another ten minutes, we will get to the hospital and they can free up my bladder and the pain will be over'. No need for any divine intervention.
When the ambulance arrived at the hospital, he was expecting to be swept straight in to a cubicle, but instead they stopped him in the entrance and said "Can I take your name, please?"
'What?!' he cried 'Can you not see that I am about to explode? I need treatment! Please help me!!'
Not, apparently, until he had filled out a form.
And this is the point when he really started to pray.
With his bladder relieved, he was still in pain and it was discovered that his appendix was about to burst, so they took him in for surgery. A couple of days after this he was still in the hospital in a very weak state and unable to attend shabbat for the Torah reading.
He was humbled when the Torah reading was brought to his bedside by Yehuda Berg, and surprised that as Yehuda started to read from the Torah, something was different. Yes, he looked like Yehuda, and he sounded like Yehuda, but there was something about his voice which indicated that something else was present. Something else was coming through. Something he had never experienced before.
The portion of the Torah that week related to the Lepers being healed by the High Priests. And every time Yehuda read "and the Kohanim healed the Leper" he felt something shifting inside, as though something was being removed. Three quarters of the way through the reading, he started to vomit so violently that Yehuda had to leave the room.
By the time the reading was complete, he was in such a weakened state that he could barely speak. He tried to apologise for the state he was in, and Yehuda waved his hand as if to say 'don't worry about it, it's okay'
And at this point, he said that he saw a Light coming through Yehuda, and a look in his eyes of the most unconditional love that you could imagine - the purest form of love, with no judgement attached - something that he had never witnessed before. Something that he could only now access after going through so much pain. A connection with God. A connection to what he had been believing for so many years but had never seen for himself.
The most poignant part of the story is that as the pain subsided and he began to regain his strength, so the ability to feel this pure unconditional love started to fade. He said that he didn't want the pain back, but at the same time, he did, because he longed to hold on to the strength of the love he had felt.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Yesterday I was contacted by an agency with a job role for a high end fashion company with a dodgy beige tartan design coveted by 90% of chavs. I looked at the job spec and turned it down. 'Too technical', I said, too 'infrastructure'. And that was true, but in the back of my mind I was more cringing at the thought of turning up for an interview wearing a skirt from Warehouse and a jacket from Wallis, or bumping in to a Fashionista with perfect skin and five inch heels, whilst wearing a coat from T.K.Maxx.
Plus I was waiting for contact from another agent with a role that I wanted more, albeit temporary. Which was obviously bound to come up.
This morning I had heard nothing. It felt as though nothing was happening, that I was alone in my efforts, responsible for making things happen. And then I remembered the story from Saturday, and reminded myself that the Light was all around. Even though I can't see it, things are happening. I need to let go of my control of how I want things to happen and allow myself to be guided on where I am meant to be.
My phone beeped. Voicemail.
"Hi, just to let you know that I've talked with the program manager to get more details on the role you turned down. Apparently they are really not looking for technical at all - more workflow. Yours is the best CV I have seen. I would really love to put you forwards and if you have a chat with them and aren't keen, then you can let me know. No interest in the fashion industry remotely required"
Hmm. This is interesting.
But I'm still not wearing beige tartan.