How To Give Contentment?
One if not time most perplexing statements those searching for the purpose of their lives encounter is that in order to reach their most optimal state, to become similar to the single, creating and governing force of reality, they have to aim to “give contentment” to that force.
There are lots of reasonable questions awakening by that statement. Why would an omnipotent, creating force need contentment? How can a “lowly creature” give contentment to the source creating, governing it? How can one even comprehend what the source would want? And how can one be certain what the creating source feels, how could one check if one succeeded in this “giving contentment” or not?
Rav Yehuda Ashlag, the greatest kabbalistic sage of our generation explains this notion through a parable about the host and the guest.
The Host And The Guest
A wealthy, charitable host invites a guest for a beautiful feast, where only delicacies, rarities are served that are the exact favorites, most desired meals of the guest. The guest is hungry and goes almost crazy, salivating seeing the food and drink that he yearns for most.
But the moment he wants to take the first bite he starts becoming disturbed by seeing the host sitting at the head of the table, watching him expectantly. If he was eating alone, he wouldn’t have problem gobbling up everything off the table. But at the present of the host, who is just sitting there waiting to see his guest enjoying the feast the guest starts to feel very uncomfortable. He sees the carefully, mindfullly prepared feast, senses the unconditional love from the host preparing the feast, sees the host waiting to see how his guest enjoys the hospitality.
And all this gradually incites great shame in the guest. After all he has nothing to reciprocate the host with, he has neither similar service, nor the love, the desire to serve. His appetite disappears immediately. This starts an interesting interaction.
The moment the guest declines to eat, the host starts to show distress, disappointment. He is perplexed why the guest wouldn’t accept, consume the feast which was specifically, precisely prepared for him, for his exact taste. The host honestly, with all of its intention tried to made the guest happy, content and fulfilled, and now that this doesn’t happen the host feels rejected, tries persuading the guest to accept the meal and eat. The longer the guest resists the more desperately the host is offering his services, trying to made the feast the most perfect as enjoyable possible.
This in turn suddenly changes the whole dynamics of the encounter. Suddenly the previously impeccable, untouchable host shows “weakness”, a need, a lack that needs fulfilment. He wants to see his guest consuming and enjoying that consumption. As a result suddenly the guest has something to give. If he agrees to eat and enjoy the feast by that he gives clear and obvious contentment to the host.
Externally nothing has changed. The host is serving and the hungry guest is eating, fully enjoying each bite. But the intention and the dynamics has changed completely. After learning of the true, loving desire of the host and the host’s sensitivity, need for the guest to enjoy the feast the guest can now reciprocate the host’s loving service by accepting the meal and eating it in order to give contentment to the host. The guest doesn’t actually give anything except a changed, loving, bestowing intention. And by that intention he becomes equivalent to the host extinguishing the earlier shame.
The Cosmic Chess Game
Still in our case who is the host, what is the feast, and how can we ourselves become equivalent sensing, and fulfilling that host?
We live in a fully determined, vast, cosmic natural system created and governed by nature’s creating force. This source has put the plan of evolution into motion, and this plan has a single objective, to lead, guide human beings to their purpose in life: revealing, attaining their creating source.
This natural creating source is our host providing us with the perfect feast. Revelation, attainment is only possible by acquiring similarity of form, similarity of qualities with the revealed, attained. Which means human beings need to acquire the quality of the creating force which is pure, unblemished, unconditional bestowal and love towards its creatures. After all this source creates and nurtures life and provides the most optimal, perfect conditions for the created life-forms for their development.
The feast we are receiving on a set table in front of us is the vast, cosmic natural Universe we find ourselves in. It is like sitting at a chess table, playing a cosmic chess game with an invisible chess grand master, who wants to teach us how to reach his level, become like it through the game. But not all the figures on the chess table are active. Only a few other people who are also committed to enter this game proactively, trying to become like the grand master can we “play with”, influence.
These unique people then start playing mutually together. They form a mutually supportive, complementing circle. Each starts to face, play against all the others, trying to become the selfless, altruistic servant of those others, unconditionally providing them with everything they need in order to succeed in their mission of revealing, attaining the source, becoming an equal “chess master”. Each tries to become like a loving parent, a “creator” towards all the others and towards the whole system.
Actually while the source remains concealed for each participant the others replace the host. They are sensing that it is the invisible grand master who placed those others on the chess board, pulling, pushing them into different positions, inciting the person to react and make the right, next step. Thus each starts relating to the others as live, tangible representatives, live “pawns” of the chess master, trying to learn the actions, intentions of the source through the live interaction with those others.
The source laid in front of us the whole system, with that small active, soft core so we can learn and prove that we are able to become similar to it. Whatever conditions, step combinations we are presented with, our task is to react in a way that we aim for becoming more and more selfless, altruistic, only serving those others and the whole system in order to reach similarity with our “master”.
But the real challenge is unfolding only through the “end game”. The above described critical encounter in between the host and the guest starts when through reaching similarity we finally start sensing our creating source behind the table, behind all the pawns, surrounding conditions, everything. The more we acquire selfless, altruistic qualities the more we start sensing that this all encompassing curve indeed exists and it goes through us when we act like it.
As a result – as if walking in the shoes of this force – we start to be able to guess, predict how that force would feel, act in certain situations. We start impersonating our source. And the more we sense, the more we are in control the prouder and self-confident we become. We are ready to consume, gobble up the whole set table for our own justification. And then shame strikes.
And then just as Rav Ashlag described we have to go through the same encounter of first humbling, restricting ourselves and then gradually restarting “being like” our host but not in order to justify ourselves, but only to give our creating force contentment, justifying creation and the whole evolutionary plan. But of course it is not the omnipotent creating force that needs this justifying, contentment, it is us who need it.
Only when we manage to completely humble, nullify ourselves do we merit to become completely like our source fully deserving the feast and our place as partners with the creating force.