The Creator gives each of us a soul, which I like to compare to a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces. It’s our job over many lifetimes to assemble the pieces of this puzzle, to make it whole again. Before we’re born into this world—while we’re still one with the Creator—we are shown what our particular soul-puzzle looks like with all its pieces in place. Up there, where there are no veils to hide the Creator’s truth, we learn that only with a physical body can we continue the work of assembling our puzzle, of completing that part of ourselves that must eventually return to the Creator. We are shown the corrections that remain to be made. This is the work that gives purpose and meaning to our soul’s many lifetimes and to this, our latest incarnation.
Once we’re born—once our souls are made manifest in this physical world—we can no longer see our soul’s pieces in their assembled form. We see only fragments, which we have to blindly fit together ourselves. So we set to work, finding the borders first—our mother, father, siblings, husbands, wives, and children (or the absence thereof). These border pieces fit together to give us the general outline of the puzzle. But then comes the guts of the puzzle, which is far more difficult to assemble because we don’t yet know the story that ties all the pieces together. Our mission is to uncover that story.
Sometimes we find a piece that, at first, seems to fit in the right place, but later we discover that maybe it doesn’t. But isn’t that what happens in life? The seemingly great relationship that doesn’t work out? The career we’ve spent years training for that doesn’t make us happy because it just isn’t the right fit for us?
So how do we go about putting the puzzle together properly? By first understanding that this work is the reason we are born into this lifetime, and then by being engaged in this process every minute. Life is involvement. We wake up in the morning and embrace the people around us. We nurture business contacts. We savor love-relationships and friendships. There will be people we’re not wild about, but still we deal with them. These involvements some smaller, some greater—are the pieces that make up our lives.
When we see our life as a collection of puzzle pieces, we begin to learn how to handle ourselves in difficult situations. Recently, a friend told me that she went to dinner with someone who said, “Karen Berg? What a terrible person she is.” Comments like this continued throughout their dinner. When my friend shared this story with me, I thought, I could get upset and say “How could he say those things?” But instead, I realized that this experience, too, is a part of my puzzle. It’s just one piece among many. It doesn’t have to define me, although I do want to use it to learn something about myself, to see how this piece fits into the bigger picture of my life.
There is a story about King David that sheds light on a similar experience. As King David was travelling, a man named Kasbi cursed him. The king’s soldiers moved toward Kasbi to punish him, but King David said, “If he’s cursing me, I deserve to be cursed.” By this, he meant that if there is something in our life that presents a challenge or a difficulty—like a harsh father, a conniving coworker, a serious illness, or a person who speaks badly about us—this is ours to own (that is, we deserve this) because somehow it fits into the grand plan that our soul came to uncover. There is no such thing as chance: Everything that happens is intended to teach us a lesson or give us a message. Everything.
And if, over many lifetimes, our soul eventually manages to understand all its lessons and puts the entire puzzle back together, then it returns its Light back to where it belongs—with the Creator, the Source of all Light. All of these fragments, these puzzle pieces, will reunite after sufficient lifetimes of working through the challenges we face: This is our purpose for being here on Earth.
Reprinted with the express permission of Kabbalah Publishing.
© 2012 Kabbalah Centre International, Inc.