Stretch Finding Light in the Darkness Kabbalah Co-Founder Karen Berg shares the first step in finding the good in life’s most trying moments. By Karen Berg Photo by Allef Vinicius “When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves,” said Victor Frankl. How true that is. But the power to change does not solely exist in times when we are pushed up against a wall or at the end of our rope—it happens every day. As we grow our consciousness to experience reality from a more spiritual vantage point, we realize that the good, the bad, the ups, the downs, and each singular challenge we face exist 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, an extremely important figure in Judaism, 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 according to the Chayei Sarah portion of the Torah, Abraham “came with his days,” meaning that every morning he opened his eyes and greeted the day ahead. And he did so with the intent of facing his challenges so that he could transform them 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. When 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. Maybe we begin to question the validity of our path, choices, and spirituality. We forget all the miracles that we have already seen. But in the everyday (and not so everyday) struggles there sits an opportunity for growth. You can find empowerment in the open window 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. — Karen Berg is a best-selling author, public speaker and co-founder of The Kabbalah Centre. Over four decades ago, Karen and her late husband, Rav Berg, set out to make Kabbalah understandable, relevant and available to all people, without exclusion. In the face of persecution and constant obstacles, Karen successfully defied thousands of years of “religious” tradition and restrictions, opening the doors for women and all people to study Kabbalah. Today, Karen continues to passionately lead and nurture over 40 centres worldwide and has expanded her efforts to bring peace to the world through spiritual unity.