The purpose of our lives is to transform ourselves so that we can receive complete and ultimate fulfillment. We are here in this world to reach our potential and literally become like God, with giving and sharing as the foundation of our being. Yet the process of self-transformation is not something that happens on an abstract or theological level; instead, it takes place between ourselves and other people. Our relationships – especially those with the people to whom we are closest – are the real opportunities we are given to emulate the tolerance, sharing, and love that are the Creator’s essence. These are the qualities that our relationships can teach us, and these are the qualities we most need to learn if we are to fulfill the true purpose of our lives.
Once we understand this, everything that takes place between ourselves and others appears in a new light. Being in love – and opening ourselves to an infinite range of shared emotions and experiences – becomes much more than just romantic or exciting. On a far more profound level, at the level of our souls, we are changing and growing. We are literally drawing closer to God, and in so doing we are opening ourselves to the fulfillment that closeness brings.
What’s more, it is not just the joyful moments we share that foster this transformation; even hard times or points of conflict are opportunities for positive change. In fact, the difficult moments we face are the real opportunities that a relationship gives us. What seems to be a problem is actually a gift: a chance to remove an internal obstacle that stands between ourselves and the unlimited happiness that is our real destiny.
Too often our focus is on meeting the right person, on somehow discovering that one-in-a-million human being who exactly fits our needs and specifications. But Kabbalah teaches that this is putting the emphasis in the wrong place. Becoming the right person – not finding the right person – is the real key to loving relationships. What’s more, difficulties and disagreements are without exception opportunities for us to become that right person – to take complete responsibility, both on the practical level of how we deal with conflict, and on the level of how we see our lives as a whole. When we shift perspective away from “winning” and toward helping those we love – especially when we’re angry – anger immediately dissipates. This is not a miracle; it’s simply the way things work at the level of positive and negative energies. Just as darkness cannot coexist with light, conflict cannot remain when you have a true intention to help and share with others.
If you keep experiencing the same relationship problems over and over again, it’s because you haven’t realized where the real problem lies. You’re still waiting for others to change without really correcting the aspects of yourself that you need to transform. Making this correction is a fundamental aspect of our spiritual work. There’s even a Hebrew word for it: tikkun. Completing your tikkun is why your soul is in the world in this lifetime. In fact, the Kabbalists explain that souls come to the world many times in order to attain their spiritual correction, and they will continue to do so until they finally achieve the correction once and for all. Your closest relationships are the place where your tikkun can really be completed – where you don’t just find the person you were looking for, but literally transform yourself into the person you are meant to be.
God created the world; God caused us to come into being. But now our task is to become the cause in our own right: to emulate the sharing essence of the Creator, and in this way receive the fulfillment that the Creator desires and intends for us. This is the knowledge and the wisdom that our relationships have come to teach us. And this is what we must open our hearts to learn.
Call out quote: “It is nothing less than the reason the world, as well as the universe as a whole, was created at the beginning of time.”