Day 19: Emotional Integration for Balance and Holiness

Day 19-photo

Each day of the counting of Omer offers us an opportunity to consider the multitude of ways in which Hashem shows up in our lives. We can  see how He expresses Himself through giving us new ideas, channeling into us His wisdom and loving kindness, offering opportunities to experience beauty and equilibrium.

But does He also show up in our lives through emotions, as one of today’s aspects, Hod, suggests? That seems less obvious. In joy, love and happiness – of course. But what about anger, sadness, pride, greed, jealousy?

For the Kabbalists, the answer is an unequivocal yes. After all, everything comes from Hashem, and that must hold true for our entire emotional spectrum. Each shade of that spectrum is meant serve a purpose. And so as we contemplate Hod within Tiferet, which is the lens of Day 19, we get to consider how this works in our lives.

Hod, which is typically translated as Majesty, is also understood to represent our motivating emotions. Tiferet is beauty and balance. How could the two possibly be connected if we are talking about “negative” emotions? After all, what does anger have to do with balance?

But if Tiferet is balance, equilibrium and holiness, it means that it must contain, integrate, and balance out everything. Just like the white light associated with the Divine incorporates all colors of the spectrum, Tiferet must, among other things, incorporate all aspects of our emotional being – even the ones that we refuse to admit are part of us. Rather than being a sterile place from which the so-called “negative” emotions have been scrubbed, Tiferet is the place where they are fully integrated.

In her classic book, Molecules of Emotion, Candace Pert, Ph.D., an internationally recognized neuroscientist and pharmacologist, refers to emotions as signaling mechanisms which serve to connect our mind and body. Each one has a critical biochemical purpose. Each calls our attention to something important, invites us to investigate what it is that we have been overlooking in our lives.

If managed with appropriate understanding and wisdom, anger can be a driving force for change. So can sadness and any other emotion that we identify as painful. We just need to learn to discern their messages and choose a skillful and balanced course of action.

To me, the purpose of Hod within Tiferet is to help us gain insights into balancing and integrating these powerful forces, which are given to us by Hashem to motivate us into positive action. When we have learned to harness the best of every emotion for the purpose of creating more harmony and beauty, we have mastered the essence of Hod she’b’Tiferet.

 

 

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