Overcoming Unhealthy Patterns
understanding of Hashem in our hearts.http://beyondanydoubts.com/2018/12/13/overcoming-what-addicts-our-subconscious-to-unhealthy-patterns/
MODEH ANI- Hitbodedut step 1:
(From Esther Malka)
First thank Hashem for everything, and especially, for the precious gift of life itself!
לעלוי נשמת אלעזר שמחה בה חיים *יעקוב זצ״ל
Lately, there have been so many people in need of a yeshua, and so many names to daven for.
This causes me to reflect on the need to internalize that life is a precious gift.
This concept always mystified me. Whenever I would hear of someone's life suddenly being saved, for a moment, I could grasp the enormity of the difference between being granted more time in this world to exist here- or chas veshalom, not...
And then, the feeling eventually "wears off", as we return to the often difficult life situations that many of us face nowadays- from not yet finding a life partner, or crushing financial hardships, stressful marriage problems, difficult children or those that come with special challenges- to health problems and fertility problems- may Hashem help us all!
These situations can tear a person down, and even make it seem as if life has no pleasure or meaning.
Modeh Ani Lefonecha
Thank You Hashem for another day-- what does this really mean, to someone who might feel that life holds no hope at the present moment- or, that it's hard to understand how it's a "gift".
Little children naturally jump out of bed every morning, full of expectation and wonder at another day, and appreciation for the newness of opportunity and hope that it brings.
But by the time we've tasted many disappointments, hurt, betrayal, loss, or loss of ablilities, chances and freedoms we may have once had- life can lose its sparkle and it can be harder to understand what we are here for and we could be led to ask, "what's so great about it all? How is life a gift?"
Rav Bentzion Shafier brings the story of a Tanna who was so poor, he had nothing in his house to eat but a clove of garlic. Upon returning home from a medical procedure, he ate this clove of garlic- and fainted.
While unconscious, he had a dream where Hashem's Presence came to him and he asked Hashem how much time he had left to live. When told he had lived over half his life already, he wept!
Here he was so poor that he had almost nothing to eat, and was afflicted with medical problems too- you might think that he would actually be happy to hear he had less than half his days to live.
But he wept!
Rav Shafier brings that the reason is, because this Tanna knew the real meaning and value of each day. He didn't treasure life because it was so easy or luxurious or free from pain-- he treasured life for its most important value. For the thing we are really placed in this world for:
Opportunity to come closer to Hashem, and do His mitzvos, so as to earn ability to sit in the next world and take in the Radiance of the Shechina- to be able to bask in Hashem's Presence.
Without building our relationship with Hashem by doing His mitzvos and growing in love and awe of Him, our souls wouldn't have the ability to sit near Hashem's Presence and "take in" the Radiance that emanates from Him- which is described as the greatest and most supreme pleasures, more pleasurable than all the possible pleasure felt by every person in the world combined, since its beginning!
Another story which sheds some light onto the mystery of why we are here, and also the value of every moment:
There was a medical student, a non-affiliated Jew, taking care of a man who was on life-support and completely unconscious and had no brain activity left.
He also had no family or visitors- no one seemed to care if he was in this world.
The medical student came to the conclusion that this man had absolutely no quality of life left at all- he wasn't aware of anything, wasn't doing anything, wasn't important to anyone or interacting with anyone-- so he asked himself, "In what way is this man living? I might as well 'pull the plug' and not prolong this miserable state." And that's what he did. [note: this act may have been considered assur al pi Torah].
After this, the medical student was visited in a dream by a man who identified himself as the one on which the student had "pulled the plug". He accused him in the dream: "Why did you pull the plug on me?? I had another two weeks to live in that state, which would have been a tikun for my soul- and you deprived me of what I so sorely needed! Now my soul has no peace!"
Frightened, the student asked, "What can I do to rectify this?"
The deceased man replied: "If you become religious, and publicize this story, then my soul will have rest."
And that's what he did.
Until I read the above two stories, I used to not quite understand why we say the Modeh Ani tefila every morning. After all, many of us, unlike children, don't exactly feel like bouncing out of bed as soon as we wake up in the morning, upon being given a new opportunity to experience the gift of another day!
But with the above explanations- that it's not about how pleasurable or exciting life is at any given moment- (and for sure, it certainly can be!)- but rather, the intrinsic value of every moment as a gift in itself- that allowed me to understand.
Even after all that, sometimes I still wonder at the idea of life itself- apart from any pleasures or experiences- being an intrinsic gift- and I realize that it's a concept that needs to be pondered and understood, and an appreciation that must be learned. Why?
Because the gift of life is THE greatest gift from Hashem. In order to feel fully grateful for everything Hashem has given us, we must come to understand and appreciate this greatest of gifts.
A few years ago, waiting to cross the street on a dark street corner, I stepped down off the curb, not realizing that at this spot, the road had been stripped, and the distance from the curb to the surface of the street was a big drop.
I stumbled and fell into the street, but Baruch HaShem managed to quickly get up again and get back into a safer spot next to the curb- just as a car came speeding around the corner, right over the spot where I had just fallen!! Hodu LaShem Ki Tov! That was close!
In that split second, I felt a shift between Heaven and earth. I felt for a moment, the reality of what could have been- and wasn't! This feeling, I think, must be what it feels to feel the gift of life- the split- second difference between being here and not being here. It's a mystical feeling, and it can't really be explained.
But what do you do when this feeling fades away? What do you do to hold onto the gratitude that's so vitally important to feel and express to Hashem?
Take the time to thank Hashem every day for all the gifts and abilities He's given- and remember to ponder that mystical feeling of being granted this moment of life, and that it's not always just a "given"- each moment life and the opposite of life, are in the Hands of Hashem- and He decides to whom to bestow it! It truly is a gift.
May Hashem grant all of us in klal Yisroel many happy years of fulfillment, drawing ever closer to Him and His service- and may they be years full of meaning and gratitude to Hashem that He chose to bestow this gift of each moment, for free!
Thank You Hashem!
One way of looking at our repeated patterns is that we are “addicted”to our coping mechanisms. We know they are destructive or self-destructive, but we simply cannot say no when they come up. There is a “payoff” within them that,although destructive, gives us enough to keep repeating it over and over.
And what is that payoff? Rabbi Nivin teaches how to dissolve a negatively charged complaint where he lists 22 payoffs that keep us charged and upset with others. When we do not have a sense of Hashem’s love for us in the moment, the unhealthy payoffs of the material and physical world “move in.”
When Hashem creates the world, He does so as an act of chesed, to give life and existence to a world so that there can be mankind, a creation that has the ability to recognize and appreciate the chesed that Hashem is doing with us. The entire world is an act of chesed. So why doesn’t it look like that to us?
Hashem gives us free will and a nature that develops in the material and physical realm with the false impression that we have independent existence, that the world has independent existence, and that we are our mortal bodies and that when we die, that is the end of our existence. Hashem hides the truth from us so that we have the opportunity to apply the real free will He gives us to recognize Him instead of the false beliefs of autonomy and futility – Hashem did not place a living being in this world so that it could live and die for this world alone. This world is a corridor in which we are given opportunity to exercise real free will in a way that rises above the natural appearing world, circumstances, and human nature. When we want to rise above the natural, we are not suppressing the natural reactions. Rather we are comprehending the natural reactions as the raw material that can add fuel as well as purposeful meaning for our real free will to be exercised, especially when challenged, in times of darkness.
There is a pull of our human nature that tells us what we desire and when we are frustrated in not receiving it, and how to “do business”so that we reach the object of our desire. That is a one world picture.
And there is a much quieter pull that we must search for, and that is a pull to be one with Hashem’s chesed and compassion, a pull to really absorb the holiness from within the darkness and bring Torah and compassion into our hearts so that Hashem’s chesed not only reaches us, but reaches our hearts and into our speech and deeds. That is a two world picture.
So let’s look at how that translates to the moment.
Something happens that is challenging, perhaps in a relationship, and we feel a negative urge or a frustrated desire. Our reason and understanding tells us to say something to bring closer the outcome that we desire. But we remember that there is only Hashem and that everything comes from Hashem, and we consider, is what I am about to do compassionate or will it cause a hurt feeling or be destructive in anyway? If the latter, quickly explore what is the false belief – is the false belief that we deserve something? Is the false belief that the other person is judged negatively, which makes our thought lashon hara about that person? Once we see the false belief, we can then be more objective. We do not need to have negativity to see someone’s limitations, nor do we need to behave in a negative way if Hashem has said no to something we desire. After all, it is not another person who is keeping what we desire from us, is it? It is Hashem, the Only Power, the One King Who is responsible for all outcomes good or concealed good.
We want our choice to bring us in alignment with the compassion and not with anything destructive or painful. The circumstances are now just circumstantial – we can see that Hashem is showing us that within our inner world, there is an imbalance within our nature.
Nature is composed of earth, wind, water and fire, and these are the roots of our characteristics, impulses and urges. Understanding how fire is the root of anger and fear and how water is the root of desires and lusts helps us to see how to regain balance. Wind is the root of speaking too much and wind acquires heat from fire. Do you see how when we feel charged against someone that we are more inclined to speak poorly to or about that person? The real issue is our imbalance in fire, not the other person.
Hashem has sent the circumstance to give us the opportunity to use real free will to ask Hashem to help us balance the fire within us so that we are serving Hashem and revealing His light and not causing falsehood or pain to proliferate by investing our thoughts words and deeds in the goals of darkness.
The topic of earth wind water and fire as the root of our characteristics and how to work with these elements is discussed on www.bilvavi.net extensively.
The point to understand here is that everything that Hashem sends is ONLY so that we may free our holiness from its trapped places within our heart and mind so that we may “clean off the lens” with which we see our circumstances and instead of just looking at our own imbalances that we are inclined to project upon every circumstance, that we unaddict ourselves to these patterns because we love Hashem and have awe in the design and comprehend that our imbalance is the blockage that is keeping that original beam of chesed that Hashem is sending into the world from being revealed. We want to use free will to unblock that chesed.
We cannot do this by ourselves. Everything we do is intention and will,including this. Success is up to Hashem. What is our effort? To confess our place, that we are subconsciously repeating patterns we subconsciously want but that we consciously do not want anymore. Describe it in detail while kinetically feeling love for Hashem and awe in the design. Holding the pain next to the love and awe in our hearts brings from the pain the part of our soul trapped in the dross. We need that part of our soul to unify with us and we want to be unified in all our soul with Hashem’s compassion. WE ARE NOT THE DROSS, the negative coating animated by the spark of holiness trapped there. When we feel hate or grudges, we identify with the emotion when we ought to identify that the holiness of our soul is trapped in our previous choices to connect with human understanding.
When we realize this and want to not want to be trapped in dead-ends and quicksand, the result is that Hashem gives us the inner simcha for recognizing that the circumstances He sends are not the issue, but rather the object of the matter is our hearts, that we nullify our ego which is blocking Hashem’s compassion from being seen. In so doing, we bring into balance the fire,water wind and earth that are the root of our characteristics, and this impacts on the amount of positive influence in the spiritual realms that Hashem may then use to manage the world.
Ever since many of us have became addicted to the internet,it is easier to see how a small positive feedback affects our nefesh behema. When the nefesh behema can instead feel the simcha from serving Hashem as part of giving compassion to others, it submits and serves Hashem in unison with the nefesh elokis.
In the moment, when we have our urges, just remember that we only have those urges because we have some human addiction that developed at a time when we had no real way to guard ourselves from it due to not having the mature mentality to choose simcha and love and awe of Hashem. This IS the design. We do not judge or define ourselves by our unique challenges. Universally though,we are able to build eternal identity by loving Hashem and having awe in the design and trusting Hashem in the moment so that we breathe with awareness of Hashem in our heart and a yearning only for Him, for His compassion to be revealed, for His light to shine through us. We see that keeping this concentration steadies the ship through the otherwise bumpy terrain of interpersonal relationships and difficult challenges. Everyone has the same struggles, but not everyone chooses to exercise emunah and bitachon to remain connected to Hashem knowing that everything He does is for our best, so that we have opportunity to go beyond nature as He does, simply by willing that we go beyond our reactions and nature. Key though is that we have to mean it, mean it in our hearts, be sincere, love Hashem, and truly understand the design because we have the wisdom of the Torah and the emunah to activate love for Hashem and be a bridge for fallen sparks to be absorbed into and revealed as part of Hashem’s true compassion and truth.
This becomes a far better pursuit. We want the wonderful feeling of closeness with Hashem and the clarity and inner simcha that goes along with being part of giving His Compassion more than we want to counterfeit payoffs. Then we heal our addictions and grow in spiritual maturity and purpose.
May we deeply understand and embrace these ideas and strive to purify our thinking to grow in emunah and bitachon, that then brings an increase in our awareness and integrated understanding of Hashem in our hearts.http://beyondanydoubts.com/2018/12/13/overcoming-what-addicts-our-subconscious-to-unhealthy-patterns/