image credit: La Pause-Café 2
There is only one way to become close with somebody and that is to speak to the person. So many people that I meet are married to wonderful people who they don't really know because they simple don't speak.
It works the same way for those who yearn for closeness with Hashem. We simply must talk to Him! It's really quite easy, though.
Here are some guidelines that are designed not only to get you started, but can keep you speaking to Hashem and enjoying the royal benefits for years to come:
1. Don't worry about grammer or complete sentences. You're not giving a speech.
2. Focus on what is in your heart not your head. Express whatever you are feeling. Our intellects tend to take us astray.
3. If you hit on a special word, phrase, verse, or saying that produces a positive feeling state within you or sense of connection with Hashem, continue to repeat the word or phrase and let the good feeling state build up inside you. State is everything!
4. Feel free to express yourself in song. For example, if while speaking to Hashem a melody pops into your mind. Create your own lyrics to the song by speaking to Hashem to the sound of that melody.
5. Try your best to always be present and authentic with Hashem because He treasures your attention and the Truth above everything. Don't ever be embarrassed to tell him the total and complete truth.
6. If you don't feel enthusiastic. That's okay. Try to be content with whatever level of energy you have at the time. Should a storm of emotion burst forth in you - by all means - scream and cry out to Him with full force. The prophet said to: "Pour out your heart like water from a bucket before Him." If you do this, picture what it looks like for water to pour out of a bucket until it is completely empty.
7. Never force yourself to conform to someone else's method of doing hisbodedus. For example just because Rav Arush begins with gratitude does not mean that you must too. If you are feeling pressured to express gratitude but don't feel particularly grateful at the time, just accept it. You can express to Hashem that you are having difficulty feeling grateful, then change the topic - for example you may want to focus on happy memories or plan out your day with Hashem. Rav Arush's guidelines for hisbodedus are just that - guidelines. When in doubt, spontaneity is always the best course to take.
Dr. Zev Ballen