Overcoming Patterns in Life


by Shuli Kleinman

Often we have patterns that repeat in life which seem to operate over and over even though we see we want to change. What often blocks us is a thought or a set of thoughts that keep us trapped in this pattern, a pattern that might unfortunately have developed when we were young children who did not really have access to higher thinking.

Even more often, the loved ones around us or or friends try to give us advice on what we might do better. Try this. Try that. And perhaps we try. We give it a chance and, if it works, we might consider it more and see why it worked and try it again and again. More often, we try it, and it doesn’t work or there were more steps involved that we intuitively did not know had to be done, success does not take place, and thus, we fall back into relying on our familiar albeit faulty pattern. Or, we ask a Rav who knows us and, because we trust the advice given to us, we do it with a little more emunah, with faith, and that extra push gives us more insights than we had originally, and somehow, there is a different result. Holding onto that consciousness is something that we can aspire to through writing it down and reviewing it, asking ourselves deep questions to see our pattern up close and find the place where the new experience corrects something.

Rabbi Dessler teaches that when we are involved in such an attempt to make a change, *we are at our behira point, our free will point. * There are areas below that point that remain in our unconscious patterns, and there are areas above that point, where we have already made conscious choices to improve our patterns and that have become our patterns of choice.

Finding the areas that we are ready to address within our patterns is the topic of elul.

On Rosh Hashana, our entire year will be determined….who shall live, who shall die, our parnassa, our health, our challenges and more. It is truly an awesome day of judgment. When we take the time each day in elul to search ourselves out of love for Hashem, to find where, locked in our subconscious, we might be able to bring more love and mercy into our patterns, we develop a sincerity with which to ask Hashem for a year of good health, wealth, and happiness.

Our message is “Hashem, I love you and I understand the design of the world, to be a soul in a body to free the vitalizing energy from my emotional makeup and patterns that may, when expressed, be causing damage or pain so that instead its expression can be filled with the love and mercy with which You run the world. “ When we do this sincerely, with dedication, thoroughness and love in our hearts, and we stand at Rosh Hashana with our spiritual business plan, telling Hashem that we see our next steps in growth, we ask for what everyone needs for a good year. We ask Hashem to give us a good year so that we may accomplish these spiritual goals.

This is the tenth year that I am making a spiritual business plan. The key is to really see it is our “behira” point, the area that we wish to bring ourselves from slavery to freedom, the area we wish to redeem our soul from its unsatisfying current expression to an expression that brings love and mercy into the world.

This is the time of year when the King is in the field, meaning that when we turn to Hashem and attempt to search our ways, He is nearby and giving us tremendous assistance to discover and commit to the next spiritual step.

On Rosh Hashana, we stand as the creations we are before our Creator, asking Him to bestow a year upon us. What is our role as a creation? Why does Hashem involve Himself with making a world?

The Ramchal explains that Hashem is all lovingkind and perfect and He wants to give us pure good. In order to do that, He wants us to have the opportunity to be able to choose to be like Him. We are a creation to which He bestows real free will to make the choice to be more and more like Him, an infinite path. While we are not able to reach the goal, the effort alone is what makes it possible for Hashem to give us the pure good He desires to give us. With real free will, we choose to be like Him instead of following our natural patterns. Keep in mind that all we do is will it and keep willing it when the opportunity arises, making an effort to fulfill our will. All success is up to Hashem, so nothing is out of reach for us to try to mend. Our role is will and effort to take steps towards that choice.

This is the importance of elul. When we realize that absolutely everything is at stake – health, wealth, and all the outcomes that we find comfortable and relaxing – and we realize that it is up to Hashem to give these to us because we are creations and He is the Creator, it makes sense to invest time in finding how we may be more like Hashem in our patterns. If it is not already obvious, the reason is that when we are fulfilling His Will of being like Him so that He may give us the pure good, He gives us what we need to reach those goals. If we are, heaven forbid, not fulfilling His Will so that He may give us good, He still wishes to give us good; however, in order to have us use our free will toward that goal, He may have to send us challenges in finances, in health, in suffering or watching our loved ones suffer so that we realize we are creations and that He is the Creator and turn to Him for help. And if we do not, the suffering itself atones for our not initiating our free will, and therefore He is able to give us pure good in the world to come on that basis.

What is He asking from us?

1. To realize we are created.

2. To realize He is the Creator.

3. To realize that He gives us real free will and the creative power of speech in order to choose our eternal identity and our identity within our unique personal universe of consciousness while we are alive

4. To get in touch with and actualize our deepest desire, to be like Hashem, by sincerely willing for ourselves a healthier and more beneficial image, rather than continue within our patterns that are causing pain and damage to us or others.

5. To realize that we cannot do this without Him and that our survival is in His Hands alone, not ours.

All of this is to bring out the design of the world and to hold Hashem in proper awe.

Yet there is the amazing piece of love for Hashem, something that we may not be in touch with.

The gratitude I have for the last year of growth is tremendous. It has brought me to see my next step. I am so excited to delve into and write my plan because I see that if Hashem is as generous with the spiritual accomplishments He gave me last year with these spiritual goals, my whole level of living internally will shift to simcha and joy in eradicating a core painful thought habit.

This year, my goal is to free the work that I have done from my survival instincts so that love and compassion are actualized from love rather than from fear. The insight Hashem has blessed me with just in these first four days of Elul are showing me where what has been a source of pain for many years is really a replay of a pattern imprinted very early in life.

Of course I want all the material and physical worldly blessings that everyone needs, that we all share. I am a creation. Hashem is the Creator Who determines everything in my life. He grants us life.

May what you are excited about be meritorious in His Eyes and may He grant you, our family, and all of Klal Yisrael a year of blessing, redemption, love, mercy, health, wealth and all that we hold dear as we pursue wherever our free will point is, to bring out in us more and more of the tzelem elokim so that His Love and Mercy may be seen in the world.