Last May, I signed up to volunteer as a facilitator for Kadimah, a program at Ohel. Being that I am spiritual and I have a website. One of my supervisors suggested I take this opportunity, which was a great idea. It was also a chance to break out of my shell since I struggle with public speaking. Moreover, it was an excellent way to channel my random thoughts and creative energy, especially since I wasn't writing consistently then. I was excited; however, I was nervous because I felt (and sometimes feel) underqualified. I have no formal education in mental health, and my only knowledge of facilitating conversation on spirituality was from a decade ago when I started sharing ideas that inspired me on the internet.
I have been facilitating the spirituality group for a year, and as you may already know from how often I mention Kadimah, it has been an amazing experience. Kadimah has given me the opportunity to spend an hour every week to think about deep spiritual and sometimes heavy topics that inspire me to be a more authentic version of myself.
In the most recent session, I asked everyone, “On a scale from one to ten, how spiritual do you feel today?" The responses varied from 0 - 8. When it was my turn, I admitted, "I feel like a 4." I continued by saying, "I feel that there are so many mitzvos I haven't fulfilled. This morning, I missed my learning session, leaving me feeling disappointed." A common thread emerged as the group shared their stories and reasons for their respective spiritual scores. There was a struggle for spiritual fulfillment and a constant battle between expectations and reality.
This week's Parsha, Eikev, features Moshe's ongoing conversation with the Jewish people. I internalized this to mean that Hashem chose the Jewish people to continue into the land of Eretz Yisrael, despite their imperfections. So too, we can foster a genuine connection to Hashem without the pressure of external judgment, stigma, or the requirement of being perfect.
After remaining quiet for most of the group, one participant shared something that blew me away. They said, "Spirituality isn't about doing. It is a state of being”. To them, spirituality is not about a fixed number on a scale but based on genuine efforts and a relationship. Therefore, when I didn’t do my desired activity and felt like nothing in my life would be productive, that had nothing to do with my spiritual level. They continued by saying, “Life is not about doing mitzvos just for the reward; it is about the relationship with Hashem, whether there is one action or one hundred.” The next time you have a relatable experience of feeling like your spiritual level is a four, remember, life is about embracing imperfections, forgiving ourselves for our shortcomings, and learning from each stumble to take that step closer to Hashem.
All the best
Thanks in advance