When I reflect on my spiritual journey, I realize that it began before my immersion in traditional texts. It started while sitting behind an old wooden desk in Tallahassee, Florida, in my college apartment, writing in my journal. Though I couldn’t articulate it clearly then, the deeper my self-introspection, the closer I felt to God.
The burning search for meaning and truth is a Jewish tradition that dates back to Avraham. The midrash teaches that before Avraham heard the voice of God, he was a charismatic spiritual seeker traveling from place to place searching for answers.
According to the Chassidic master Rabbi Mordechai Yosef, also known as the Mei HaShiloach, God’s first message to Avraham is that he is looking in the wrong place. “Go to yourself,” God says. You are combing the physical realms, but if you really want to find me, look inside yourself. The more that you search yourself, the closer you will come to Me.
A deeper relationship with self is a deeper relationship with God. This is not to say that any one of us is God; however, each one of us is a unique facet of God’s infinite personality. The deeper we delve into ourselves, the more we sense that divine spark inside us.
“Go to the land that I will show you,” says God to Avraham. This is the Land of Israel, which is symbolic of constant process. It represents development that never reaches finality. God’s message to Avraham is: search yourself and you will find Me, but know that this inner journey has no end. Just as you can never reach absolute self-awareness, so too you can never fully reach the infinite place in your heart where God dwells.