On one of the summer days a friend of David, my fifteen-year-old son, came to our house and we had an interesting conversation about alcohol, drugs and the spiritual path offered by ALMA INSPIRA.
What is the connection between the two? I would like to answer this question, and in the process tell of a dialogue I had with that friend, whom I will call Gonzalo.
Gonzalo told me that he, like the rest of his friends, likes to drink alcoholic beverages. Sometimes he drinks a little, but when he goes out dancing with friends, he likes to drink a lot, until loss of senses. His parents, he said, know nothing about it. They told him that they forbade him to drink until he reached the age of eighteen, and that if it were discovered to them that he did not respect the law, they would not allow him to go out again. “So, I have no choice and I must lie to them, I feel alienated and angry… How lucky David is, that his parents do not forbid him to drink!”
I replied that I too did not like the idea of excessive alcohol consumption; But I prefer to know the truth and talk to David openly about any subject, rather than hear lies and thus block the possibility of knowing what is really going on in his life.
After a moment of silence I added “But I understand you! I understand why alcohol attracts you so much, however… I think there is something better than that!”
I think that at that moment my son, David, said something like, “My mother is weird… I already told you.” but Gonzalo was fascinated and asked curiously, “What exactly do you mean?”
I told him about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who in the 1960s wandered among the communes of the hippies in the United States and said: “I have something better than drugs! It does not cost money, is not harmful and its effect lasts longer!”.
Of course they asked him, “What is this?” And his answer was: “The Torah!”
Gonzalo looked at me, confused.
“Look,” I said, “I do not mean the boring Torah lessons that many of you heard in school, but the spiritual interpretation of the Torah, which allows for an experience of transcendence and freedom.” And I went on to explain to him the meaning of this freedom: “Every person, and especially a young person, strives to live freely, and this aspiration is beyond the need for political or economic independence. It is related to a deeper longing: to the ability to be who I really am and to express my unique and original talents, without being constantly limited by social or family demands. Nowadays, as a young person feels chained and oppressed in life, the greater the urge to break free, and rebel against the systems, and this is often reflected in the consumption of alcohol and drugs.”
Gonzalo looked at me and said: “I never thought that our desire to pass the time and be in a state of ‘lack of control’ has a root in our desire for freedom. It’s interesting!”
I went on to tell of Rabbi Kook, who in the 1930s wrote an article entitled “The World of the Chaos souls,” in which he explained that any deviation from accepted norms, and any manifestation of rebellion against existing systems, carries with it the essence of a sublime thing. But there are people who just destroy the system (and often themselves too!) Others destroy the “old” and also succeed in building something new. To the last, belongs the young Jews, who at the beginning of the twentieth century left their religious homes and immigrated to Israel, in order to create a different kind of Jewish life, which is more connected to nature and earthly life.
I did not know if this latest example fits the reality of Gonzalo’s life in Argentina in 2013, so I added:
“For this reason, when I look at you and David, I try not to judge your actions, but try to understand what is behind them. To me, in many cases, alcohol and drugs are an expression of a desire to break old systems and be free.”
Gonzalo was completely focused on my words, even though David had already gone to his room to watch a soccer game.
“So, you agree to the consumption of alcohol and drugs in order to break old systems?” He asked curiously.
I smiled. “I agree with the fact that there are a lot of outdated systems, but I do not think that drugs and alcohol lead to real freedom. In true freedom man finds and expresses the deep desire of the soul, and this freedom is closely connected with responsibility. Drugs and alcohol, on the other hand, create a state of transient illusion, addiction, and in fact detachment from the will of the soul.”
And I added: “I do not know if you have any more patience to hear. But if you have, I would like to explain another thing on the subject.”
“I’m all ears, Hagit!”
“In the book ‘In the Light of Truth – The Message of the Grail’, the author, Abed-Ro-Shin, explains in detail and with maximum precision what is happening physically and spiritually in adolescence. I will try to summarize his words in the simplest way I can.” I said and opened with an explanation: “According to this book, the essence of man is not material but eternal which is the spirit. During childhood, the spirit is protected and wrapped, and only during sexual maturity does it begin to express its power. In adolescence, free choice begins, and with it the choice of where to direct such strong impulses that arise in a person: we have the choice to direct this power towards something that is beyond mediocrity, that is, towards something ideal, to build the new (which is the role of young people), or to direct all this power to debauchery.”
After a long silence Gonzalo asked me if he could show me something online. “I wanted to play you a song by my best friend’s brother, who is a musician.“
After hearing the song “Look for Answers” on YouTube, he said excitedly: “It’s amazing that everything you told me right now is in one line in a song I love so much: “Want to fly, want to break the sound bars at sunrise!”
“I really liked the music,” I told him.
“Really! I even thought of inviting him one day to perform at ALMA INSPIRA. ”
“What is ALMA INSPIRA?” He asked.
“ALMA INSPIRA is a place I set up for all those people who really want to be free, those who want to fly, fulfill their dreams and live-in passion. I invite you to come and get to know the place.”