1. Uncertainty

She: “Don’t worry, everything will work out.”

He:   “How do you know?”

 

Uncertainty is a part of life. As we move into the unknown, encountering difficult situations, there is an inner call for security, a desire to know that everything will work out, that we will overcome obstacles and succeed. How we deal with these moments of uncertainty reveal our essential character and belief. The ability to muster unwavering confidence, without any fear or panic, is a common challenge.

 

From where does one draw the personal strength to stay calm and free of doubt? Why should one believe that things will work out? We will look at the Jewish perspective, noting which aspects overlap with other belief systems, and which are unique.

 

Faith versus trust: We will examine the soul power of “trust”—an offshoot of victory—as it is distinct from “faith” in Jewish thought. Trust requires more effort than faith, and is about relationship more than conceptualization. We will also discuss the difference between active and passive trust: our confidence in the ability to succeed in fulfilling ambitions versus the trust in Divine providence).

 

            “Think good and it will be good.”

                                                                        —Yiddish aphorism

 

Trust is not simply a matter of calming our nerves in order to function well and succeed. Our attitude plays a crucial role in determining the outcome. The fight is to awaken—within the mind and heart—an essential bond with G-d that senses no boundaries. When one arrives at a place that is free from doubt, one awakens the corresponding response from above.

 

[This topic of one’s attitude bending reality seemingly has parallels in Eastern philosophy and other disciplines (karma, positive thinking, the Law of Attraction, etc.). How and why one’s attitude or relationship can influences the outcome—the specific “operating system”—is different in Judaism and this intricate difference in perspective may be interesting to highlight. The same is true of other concepts—i.e. “luck” and “consequences”—that will be discussed.]

 

Trust begins with a paradigm shift.In life, we encounter five general categories of experience. These may be interpreted as blessings, opportunities, challenges, problems, or crises. Developing trust begins with revisiting our initial perception. Challenges are meant to be overcome. They are given to the person to awaken their inner talents and resources—the deeper level of soul—that may have otherwise been untapped.

 

“Don’t rely on miracles”: We will discuss a progression offered by the Baal Shem Tov: faith leads to trust, which in turn leads to happiness, which leads to action. Finally, we will discuss the challenge of perspective as it relates to our effort and to Divine blessing—knowing when to push harder or to when to pull back and say we have done all that we can.