A Crack in Everything
Ralph Waldo Emerson writes that there is a crack in everything God has made. Meister Eckhart understood, six hundred years earlier, that the major crack is built into you not as punishment or even as a test, but rather as a directional signal, a hint in your search for your Unique Self. Eckhart liked to say, “To get at the core of God at his greatest, one must first get into the core of himself at his least.” Remember the story of the king who has a particularly rare and beautiful set of fine silver serving dishes:
The intricacy of the design was unmatched anywhere, and the king took great pride in serving his closest friends on these plates. One day, the king notices that somehow one of the pieces has gotten scratched up. No one knows how it happened. But even worse, no artist can promise to fix it without marring the design — that is, until one unknown artist appears and says he can do the job.
Despite his hesitancy, the king has no one else to turn to, so he entrusts the man with the contract. Strangely enough, the artist requests that the entire set — even though they were not scratched — be sent to his studio. And so it was.
A full month later, the artist returns. The king is shocked . . . the plates are beautiful! The artist had integrated the scratch into the plate — actually making the flaw the guiding principle of the new design. All the other plates were repainted accordingly — making an even more magnificent set than before.
Your unique scar needs to be your guiding principle in revealing to your self your unique beauty.
The image of the scratched vessel returns us to the Kabbalistic metaphor of the shattered vessels. The primordial vessels of reality shatter, and sparks of light are hidden in the shards of the broken vessels. The work of a life- time is to raise the sparks that are uniquely matched to your signature, and return them to their source.
Initially, I suggested that the vessels shatter because they cannot hold the light. At this point, I can explain more deeply. The vessels shatter precisely in order to hold your unique light. For the paradox of the vessels in Kabbalah is that the reconstituted vessel is far more powerful than the vessel before it shattered. In the Unique Self-realization of the Kabbalists, the reconstituting of the vessels is from the light itself — particularly from the light that was hidden in the darkness.
Your full light can only be held after you have shattered and deployed the uniqueness of your own particular shattering — the scar — to fashion the vessel of your full beauty.
The master of Slonim, writing from a small, nondescript house in the depths of Jerusalem, said: “The unique service of the generation is to serve through our point of resistance. Every human being has a unique resistance which reveals to us the unique reason for our being in the world . . . and that is the key to service.”
An excerpt from Your Unique Self by Marc Gafni