By Karen Berg.
"When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves," said Victor Frankl... and how true it is. Yet, the power to change ourselves does not only exist in those constrictive times when we are pushed up against a wall in impossible circumstances at the end of our rope. As we grow our consciousness to experience reality from a more spiritual vantage point, we realize that everything – the good, the bad, the ups, the downs, and each singular challenge we face – are all there so that we can progress into something more than we are today. We are tested in life, because it is through those tests that we reveal who we are – to "show 'em what we're made of," as they say.
This idea is something that Abraham the Patriarch knew very well. Abraham went through ten distinct trials, enduring what we would think to be the most painful of situations, and yet at no point did he fall into ‘victim’ consciousness. He could have easily said, "Hey God, why is this happening to me? I mean seriously, I'm righteous; I don't deserve this... I am Abraham the Patriarch, for heaven's sake!" But instead, it is written in the portion of Chayei Sarah that Abraham "came with his days" meaning that every morning he opened his eyes and greeted the day ahead, he did so with the intent of facing his challenges, so that he could transform them, through the power of his love and certainty in the Light Force of God, into a more positive reality for himself and the world. Never did he get stuck in thinking that the "package" of the external circumstance was all there was: He always awakened his inner power to change himself and expand the presence of his soul in the world. He lived to find the Light in the darkness.
So often, in facing our own obstacles, we think: How can I escape this situation? How can I avoid this person? How can I find a way NOT to deal with this? Either this, or we enter into that dark alleyway of doubting the existence of the Light in our lives at all, or the validity of the spiritual path we have walked, forgetting all the miracles that we have already seen. Yet Abraham in this portion reminds and empowers us to find the window that is open when all doors become closed; to find that place inside where we have the strength and certainty to accept our challenges, knowing there is always a way, there is always a path towards overcoming, even if it does not look like what we would picture as a perfect solution.
Sometimes the first step is just as simple as taking the empowered mental stance of, "Ok, here is the challenge before me. I know the Light is here in spite of the darkness I am experiencing. How can I face this in a positive way?"
Spirituality isn't something that just happens. As there is breath in our lungs, there is always some sort of trial by fire. It is in the acceptance, the struggle, the certainty and the overcoming, that we reveal and grow our inner power.
No matter the obstacle we are facing, the spiritual challenge remains the same – that we “come with our days,” living each and every moment to find the Light that exists in the darkness. The first step, of course, is the simple knowing that the Light is there.