There is a kind of forcefulness that is essential for anyone who wants to come closer to G-d. If you wish to pursue a life of Truth, you will need to be forceful in order to overcome the obstacles in your path and enter the gates of holiness.
It's with joy and gratitude to Hashem, that I offer you this gift - I believe it's one of the best videos we've done so far - it's loaded with many simple and practical tools to help you push through whatever is stopping you. Have a great week!
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.
As I was walking through the old religious neighborhood where I live in Jerusalem, a little boy splashing in a tiny pool caught my interest. It was the tiniest little pool on the tiniest little terrace that I ever saw.
I stopped for a moment and wondered how that little boy could be having so much fun in that cramped little space. I watched him as he splashed around with total abandon.
A thought went through my mind: Maybe he didn't realized that he was playing in the tiniest little pool that I ever saw. Maybe he wasn't comparing his pool to the Olympic size pools on rolling estates that I have in my mind. Maybe the little boy on the other side of the world
who is splashing in his more lavish pool is not even as happy as this boy is.
So I asked myself: "`what is the message in this scene for me?"
The answer came:
I can also have fun with less. I too can appreciate what I presently have. What good does it do to think back to the spacious home that I once owned. The truth is I am happier now. I need to be grateful for that and also jump with glee!
This was my message.
But if a hundred of us were standing together watching the same exact scene. All of us would be getting a different message.
One of us might think that it is dangerous for that boy to be there by himself without supervision. The message for that person may be that she needs to be more careful in the coming days to supervise her young children more closely. The message for her may not relate directly to a swimming pool, but it could relate to helping them cross a busy street or avoid playing near the electrical outlets.
For someone else, this scene might trigger a pleasant memory - perhaps a picture of himself as a child having fun in some similar way. The message for him might be to take a few moments to re-visit those joyful memories and re-integrate those positive feelings into his current life.
Another person might receive still a different message from this scene. For example: that he needs to be more spontaneous, playful and uninhibited in his relationships.
It's so amazing that Hashem is spontaneously speaking to all of us all of the time in trillions of different ways.
When the Jewish people were standing at Mount Sinai, we received the greatest gift that G-d ever bestowed upon man - His Holy Torah. As Hashem uttered the first commandment: "I am Hashem your G-d," everyone present heard something personal and uniquely designed for himself. Those who were well-versed in the deep Kabbalistic mysteries of the Torah, heard Hashem on that level - the woodcutter and water-carrier, on the other hand, received a simpler message from the very same words.
Hashgacha Pratis or Divine Providence is everything that is taking place in the world from the movements of the celestial bodies to the heart beat of a tiny worm. The world reaches out to us through our senses, imploring us to enter its hidden calmness and security. As he lets go and falls into G-d's embrace, the person-of -Faith is immune from fear, anger, envy, impatience or doubt. He is no longer fighting the current of reality, but humbly flowing with it. Every loving nuance that G-d sends him is like a mother whispering to her beloved child: "Come to mommy, sweetheart ...that's right...you can walk...take another step...and another...you see...now you're walking by yourself!"
The following day I was feeling restless and blocked. I decided to take a walk outside. Continue here...
Is is possible to be happy all the time in every situation? Yes it is - but it is the most challenging goal in Judaism without without resorting to some extreme behaviors to psych ourselves up and get the joy into our physical selves. We need to combine speaking with Hashem with activities like fast walking, jogging, dancing, speaking loudly, singing, clapping, and jumping up and down. If you decide to do this, be prepared to not care about the opinions of some religious authorities that say this is not appropriate behavior. Just do it! We need simple non-intellectual methods to get ourselves into peak states of faith and certainty. From certainty flows the power of real joy.Its just like King David said: Nasata simcha b'lebe. We must actively bring the joy into our hearts!
Good spiritual health requires a strong belief system, a compelling vision of what is possible and the motivational tools to get there. The "Spiritual exercise" that is superior to all other methods is conversing with G-d. Join me as we discuss this in depth.
Here is a small sample of what Rebbe Nachman said about conversing with Hashem (from: Advice by Rebbe Nachman, translated by Avraham Greenbaum):
* Speech is the vessel with which we receive the flow of blessings. According to the words, so is the blessing. This is the reason why when we pray, we must actually pronounce the words with our lips (Likutey Moharan 34:3)
* Words of holiness - Torah and prayer - are a very high concept. Holy words are theShechinah, the Divine Indwelling, because the kingship of G-d and the truth of His existence is revealed through them. Holy speech is the "breath of Mashiach." (78)
* Words of Torah and prayer have the power to raise up the fallen [holy] sparks and restore and renew all the fallen worlds. The one who speaks them is accounted as if he had created Heaven and Earth and all the worlds afresh. (75)
* Longing and yearning by themselves create only the possibilityof spiritual strength. But the words of your prayers and conversations with G-d draw this spiritual strength into the realm of the actual.The letters of Torah are present throughout the Creation. By expressing your yearning and desire (for Hashem) in words, you invest these letters with strength for good. You give new life and strength to everything, drawing goodness and blessing into all the worlds. (31:8,9)
* When a person speaks to G-d and uses every kind of argument and appeal to "conquer" G-d, then G-d Himself has great joy and pleasure. He Himself sends words to this person's mouth so that he will be able to "conquer" Him. (124)
* It is impossible to convey the true greatness of this method. It is superior to all others. It is the way of serving G-d, and through following it everyone can attain the ultimate good in this world and in the World to Come. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished by prayer and entreaty. (25)
* Even if you find you are unable to express yourself before G-d, even if you can say no more than a single word, this is still good. Even if you can say nothing except "Master of the Universe" it is also good...and very precious in G-d's eyes. (25,100)
May you be inscribed and sealed in the Good Book of Life,