When was the last time that you achieved a success that was easier than you thought? When have you suddenly realised that the answer to a difficult challenge was in front of you the entire time? Today’s focus is how we can prepare ourselves to continually see these enlightening answers and always be ready to tap into the endless possibilities that surround us.
The majority of human beings limit their scope of accomplishment. We continually hear people who speak of what is **not** possible; how life is tough, how the economy is rotten, how employers are unfair, how clients are difficult to find, how relationships are difficult. Meanwhile we need only look to our nearest thriving neighbourhood (in my case it is Beverly Hills, less than 500 metres from my office) to see that there are plenty of people who are doing just fine.
A Kabbalistic teacher shared an idea that can help us stay continually open to new possibilities, whether we apply it in business, relationships or other areas of our life. It works whether you are looking for new clients, new love or any new opportunity.
The framework is thus: there was a Biblical concept of the Ark (as in The Raiders of the Lost Ark). Before it was lost, the Ark – which contained the tablets that Moses brought from Mount Sinai – was constructed in a very specific way. It had two carrying poles so that it could be easily transported through the desert, but these poles were permanently attached and could never be removed even when it reached its intended final resting place in Jerusalem (Exodus 25:15).
Here is the mystical teaching, in simple terms; the role of the Ark’s contents was to spread light into the world. Even though the Ark was intended to remain in a holy place, it had to continually have its carrying poles attached so that it could quickly be transported to a place which needed more light whenever needed; it was continually on standby and ready for action (1).
We can apply this principle in our everyday life. If we stay constantly alert, always ready to say “yes!” to the opportunities that surround us, then we have the opportunity to spread light and regularly enhance the world. Whether you call this ‘contribution’, ‘good deeds’, ‘mitzvot’ or any other word, the principle is the same.
When we contribute, and come from a mindset of contribution, we quickly find that other people want to contribute to us. If we give open-heartedly in business then we soon find that other people (e.g. clients) want to give to us. If we give to our partner in a relationship, then they will inevitably want to give back to us.
The sages taught: “Run to do a good deed, for it leads to more possibility…” (2).
Today, set your sights on the thing you feel that you are lacking. Put on your metaphorical sneakers and get ready to give to someone else as soon as the opportunity arises. This is our equivalent to the Ark having the poles permanently attached; when we give of our selves with a clear heart and an open mind, good energy will eventually come back to us – it is a law of the universe.
HOW TO USE THIS IN YOUR BUSINESS (DISCUSS WITH COLLEAGUES)
Where can you give more to your clients? Where can you use your skills to contribute more to the world? Where are you currently holding back? (meditate on that last question…and do something about it!).
HOW TO APPLY THIS IN YOGA/MEDITATION
You can take all of the same questions and apply them in your meditation practice through gentle enquiry. The Enquiry Technique begins by holding a question lightly, that is, don’t think about the answers or try to find them from within your mind, but allow them to arise by loosely holding the question as you descend into a state of stillness and calm. Allow a minimum of 20 minutes for the meditation. Here are the questions again:
→Where can you I give more to others?
→Where can I use my skills to contribute more to the world?
→Where am I currently holding back?
Based on Parshat Terumah
(1) Likutei Sichot, Vol. 16, p334, as quoted in Interpolated Chumash Shemot, (Kehot: New York 2011), p185.
(2) Ethics of the Fathers/Pirkei Avot 4:2. I have gone for a more free translation of the essence of this teaching – this new translation keeps us open to more possibility. For those interested in learning this more deeply, the Hebrew is traditionally translated as: Ben Azzai says: “One should run to do a light mitzvah and flee from sin. Because doing a mitzvah drags [you to] another mitzvah, and doing a sin drags [you to] another sin. The reward for a mitzvah is the mitzvah, and the “reward” for the sin is the sin”.