Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future

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1/29/2015

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future.

First of all, keep in mind that human beings, because of the free will we were created with, have the ability to rise above the Angels – the ability to partake of the highest levels of perception of the Source – for eternity. We also have the ability to waste away this opportunity, caught up in the muck and mire of temporary materiality.

This lifetime – the limited number of years and months and minutes in front of us – which the sages compare to the shadow of a bird flying over a mountain – is the time we’ve been allotted to achieve our rectification and stake out our eternal proximity to the light Source. It is brought down that one moment in the world to come is more intense than all the experiences of pleasure during our lifetime. While there’s no real way to describe what hasn’t yet been shown to us, that fine wine that the Source is saving for that special occasion, “what no eye has seen” – from all I’ve learned about it, I expect it to be rather enjoyable, to say the least. It brings goose bumps just thinking about what’s in store for us – this “reward” for achieving alignment with the Source, which happens to be, on its own, the most enjoyable and psychologically advantageous way to walk through life, anyway. A gift for receiving and living a gift. Sounds like a fair proposition to me. A win win.

This lifetime is like having a minute to run into the Kings treasury and take as many jewels and gold coins as we can amass for retirement. A shopping spree for eternal bliss.

Is it really worth wasting another minute – especially not knowing if it could be our last?

If any of this speaks to you, like it does to me, we owe it to ourselves to immediately withdraw from nonsense and dedicate full time effort to maintaining consciousness. To establish a system to attain our objectives and to measure our progress obsessively. To cling to those who live and share the wisdom and not let go.

To cease all destructive habits and actions and avoid wasting time on anything that’s temporary. In other words, to detach as quickly as possible from the suckers game. You can wean off your destructive behaviors and actions, or go cold turkey – whatever works best for you. There are no pockets in shrouds. It’s similar advice to what you’d give to a crack head in a dumpster.

The sages of the past used to count their days. Always keeping a tally of how many days they have lived.

Doing the math at 40, I have lived 480 months so far. If I make it to 120, I’ll have 960 more. Average life expectancy for a male is 84 – that’s 528 more months, 15,840 days till the box, on average.

We see our kids if we are lucky about 3 hours a day until they become teenagers, and then for a few hours on weekends and then occasional holidays. With a 10 year old child, until they turn 16, that’s six years at 3 hours a day = just 6,480 precious hours of face time until they are off to their own world.

We may only see a grandparent or a parent for a few more years, months or days.

We have a finite amount of time to connect with our loved ones – to accomplish our rectification – to achieve our potential – to evolve.

This is the level of consciousness required to establish appropriate value for the time left in your life.

Especially when we see patterns of unconsciousness play out every day. Like if we consistently react in a certain way to a child because of our own issues, and feel remorse as soon as they walk out the door. This pattern of behavior can haunt a person, not only later in life on the rocking chair, but as soon as the door shuts – if left on auto pilot. Taking in the gravity of this ticking clock can snap us into a state of applied consciousness strong enough to break out of patterns of reactivity. This is called growth. And it’s what we are here for. Not to play out our pre-patterned character role until a wake-up call presents itself.

This applies to our relationship with the Source as well. We realize that we cannot afford another prayer session without deep intention and connection, as we do not know how many more we will have. Transforming our human nature into a partner with the soul, to accomplish their collective mission, is the purpose – and coincidentally –  the most enjoyable and rewarding way to move through this experience.

A life with Emunah (an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason) is a psychologically more advantageous path because we’ve made room for seemingly negative set-backs – we’ve bought into the reality that all comes from the Source, all is under His direct and personal supervision and all comes from higher mercy. This transforms an otherwise painful experience into a necessary part of our development process.

We can even learn to love some seemingly far out situations. For example, it’s taught that shaming someone in public is worse than killing them. Yet, if someone shames us, we should not respond, but rather look at it as a gift, an opportunity to accept a “death blow” to our ego – a relatively easy way out of accumulated karmic consequences intended for us. In fact, we learn that the sages did this intentionally, to bring themselves public shame, to proactively shatter their false connections to their ego. They were using this life as a tool to achieve something much greater than just the here and now. And by living this way, they transformed the “now” into the greatest possible experience and opportunity.

And now for a bit of advice from the sages on how best to spend your time…

A good start is to mold your thoughts, actions, intentions and spoken words from the perspective of looking back upon your life post expiration – in a way, to live out your desired eulogy. To treat others like you want to be treated. To only focus on the good points in others, and to recognize that everything is coming from the Source. To immerse yourself in the wisdom of the Torah – the guidebook to life -and accept upon yourself the Divine structure – the spiritual circuitry connectors – known as the Mitzvot. To sensitize your awareness of the Source and to walk in His ways now, to the extent that when the veil is lifted you will experience as little a shock as possible between your temporary physical identifications and your eternal soul. To carry a constant dialogue with the Source of all life experiences. To return to your true nature by accounting for your actions and intentions daily. To believe in yourself, that you were created with something unique to develop and share that no one else has – and that you will never be fulfilled until you trust, explore and live that wide. Be you. There’s no time like the present. If not now, when?

Ein of Milvado! (There is nothing but You, Hashem)

Blessings,

Etan

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future

Harnessing the power of pain to reach new heights

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1/28/2015

Harnessing the power of pain to reach new heights

Are you experiencing any physical pain now? How about financial anxiety? Loneliness and depression? Guilt or jealousy? Mired in addiction? Whatever the cause of our pain, it is helpful, illuminating and liberating to understand how to perceive and unlock its hidden potential.

V’afilu b’hastora shebatokh hahastora bevadai gam sham nimtza Hashem Yisborach. Gam me’achrei hadevorim hakashim ha’omdim alekha, Ani omed.

Even in a concealment within a concealment, Hashem may He be blessed is certainly there. And behind the difficult things that stand before you, I stand.

-Rebbe Nachman of Breslev

Even in the most constricted times in our lives, the Source is there, hiding behind the scene, standing with us. Revealing and hiding and revealing and hiding Himself – this is what to expect in our relationship with the Source.

Like a roller coaster, every great ascent requires the momentum of a previous descent. We learn that the ups and downs, the “good” and “bad”, the hidden and revealed that we experience are really all connected – somehow, all good – part of the ride.

There is a teaching in martial arts, where we learn to redirect an adversarial force coming at us, and use it to our benefit. Kind of like a windmill, harnessing the power of the wind to generate energy.

This wisdom applies to all that we battle with – we can use the force of what’s sent to us, what we are experiencing, to create spiritual electricity. Once we move beyond the initial shock, fear and pain of the forceful charge, and utilize our intellect to frame it properly, it becomes, not only the fuel to harness momentum for the ascent toward the next rung on our ladder of potential – it retroactively redefines the meaning and sensation of the experience.

Teshuva (repairing and returning to our true self through contrition, and determination to not repeat an act), has the power to retroactively define negative energy we unleash into the world. It’s not just an eraser – it transforms the wild lines into priceless abstract art fit to be proudly displayed over your parent’s fireplace.

When we understand the significance and opportunities that our descents in life provide us with – the birth pains before new life – we can borrow from and experience the joy of the next ascent – right now.

No greater example of this exists than the soul’s descent into this world. What a painful experience – ending, if you’re lucky, with a breakdown of your mind and body – with merciful strangers tending to your most personal needs. Yet, we learn that the soul cherishes the rare opportunity to reincarnate into a human form to gain another chance at achieving its rectification.

So when we are sick, in pain, depressed, full of anxiety and fear – when the goodness of the Source seems concealed – it’s time to elevate to a birds eye perspective and transform the sensation of pain into excitement for what’s to come. Just watch and let the painful force build the required momentum to scale the next obstacle in your life. This process re-occurs again and again – leading up to the final great ascent – the return to the Source.

Sometimes, a positive attitude can even help shorten the duration of the descent. Let’s learn from the wisdom of our prophets and boldly apply it to our life in real time. This is not just radical transformative talk – its eternal truth distilled to spiritual medicine prescribed to perceive with higher awareness and joy.

A spoon full of Emunah (an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason) helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down – so that we can reach even greater heights.

Blessings,

Etan

Harnessing the power of pain to reach new heights

Psalm 131 – Widening the lens to achieve tranquility

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1/27/2015

PSALM 131 – Widening the lens to achieve tranquility

A song of ascents by David.

HaShem, my heart was not proud and my eyes not haughty;
And, I did not pursue matters too great and wondrous to me.

I swear that I have stilled and silenced my soul like a nursing baby at the side of his mother; so too, is my soul like a nursing child.

O Israel, yearn for HaShem from now until eternity.

- Psalm 131

I am meditating because I want to come to the point of feeling like a baby, nursing in the arms of its mother. When nursing from its mother, a baby does not lift its eyes higher than they must go. The baby is plugged into its direct flow of sustenance, overcome with joy and comfort. At that moment, the baby has all it is looking for – all it needs.

The following steps help lead us to this level of connection and tranquility:

Step 1: Wait for those moments when we are not thinking about what we are lacking – when we are physically comfortable – totally taken care of – and then meditate on, “I am taken care of “… “HaShem, You are my Mother”…“You provided for me all I need for this moment”. These moments may present themselves on Shabbat, on vacation, at work after a successful deal, during a positive experience with a child, or even after reading this piece. At these moments, when we feel filled up – through this meditation we acknowledge our connection to HaShem, who fulfills our needs.

Step 2: We practice this meditation as often as possible – drawing the connection between our experiences of fulfillment and the Source of our experiences.

Step 3: Perfection will be when we take this meditation and slowly start to widen its lens to include that, “HaShem is taking care of all my needs”, even during times of distress. This is not a rush – it’s a progression, where once we’ve practiced enough, we can start letting in other types of experiences – those where we don’t feel fulfillment – and even experiences that can be annoying, scary or test our patience. We expand our capacity to see the Source behind the experience – to nurse from the experience – and to know that HaShem is giving us exactly what we need.

Ultimately, we will feel the same tranquility in life’s more challenging times.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I will not lack. He causes me to lie down in grassy pastures; He leads me beside calm waters…”

-Psalm 23

King David was in the desert when he wrote this Psalm – there was nothing.

This level is achieved only when we are plugged into the Source. We cannot achieve and master this when we feel there is a lack.

Most people are not able to savor the good in the “good” times, let alone the “bad” times – like sitting in a restaurant and worrying about what you’re going to eat tomorrow.

In Psalm 131, David said “I did not lift my eyes too high” – not higher than I was supposed to – I saw you HaShem at all times, behind every experience, and It was equal – “good” and “bad” – exactly the nourishment I needed.

We choose all the time how to view ourselves.

If we view ourself as a spiritual being with all of our needs taken care of, then we will feel content and rich – tranquil in the arms of our Mother above.

Blessings,

Etan

Psalm 131 – Widening the lens to achieve tranquility

Take the plunge – Pre Shabbat Mikvah Adventures

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1/26/2015

Take the plunge – Pre Shabbat Mikvah Adventures

It’s Friday 1pm and I’m standing here at the edge of the Mikvah. One foot still in the week and the other in Shabbat. When I come back up those stairs I’m another man in another zone.

Shabbat is all about shaking free from the accumulated energetic buildups of the week – and hitting the Mikvah (ritual bath) before Shabbat, elevates Shabbat to the sanctuary of a crispy clean palace fit for Divine royalty.

In addition to the angels who descend upon your dining room this evening with gifts of peace and blessing, guess who else is joining your family for dinner tonight? Yup, the Source. He’s here to celebrate with you the purpose of creation – the first in thought, last in deed. It is wise to prepare the home environment for a visit from the King of kings. Items left on the floor or pillows out of place may be viewed as suspicious. The Mikvah is the spiritual shower for the prisoner who is brought before the King’s throne.

I share this, to this extent, because at the end, you’re not gonna be thanking a friend with awe of heaven, who didn’t honk a loud horn in your ears, to wake you up, as you casually strolled toward the sunset along the endless boardwalk of disconnection.

When we share truth its natural for someone to question the underlying elements of belief. “How do you know for sure?”, Creeps out of the mind of he whose soul craves what they are about to hear.

If you stand a dead man up on his heels, perfectly balanced, and ever so gently let go, the dead man will always collapse. The magic of the soul is what’s within the cellular structure – the hand beneath the glove.

Nature and the physical universe is a beyond magnificent display showcasing the even more awesome, and on going, capabilities of the Source of all sources – the Merciful Megapixel Broadcaster Himself.

You need to shout in your brother’s ear and rebuke him from his iPhone inbox to break through the paralyzing grip of the Egypt of today.

A total sell out to the adversary – to keep us constantly clinging to devices that become, if judged according to action, more important than a new born child crying for milk.

Shabbat is a reminder that really, we serve the Creator. Mikvah is about re-emerging pure and connected, rejuvenated and refreshed, invigorated, light filled, in a holy zone – free and in joy, dancing in the footsteps of Shabbos Kodesh.

There’s a guy I usually see at the Mikvah – he must be like 80 – long white beard hunched over with a black hat – there every week like clockwork – rain snow or shine – and the joy he gets distributing the light of the Lubavitcher Rebbeh- those weekly pamphlets – the joy and complete certainty of purpose to share the wisdom of the holy prophets and sages who have inspired him - who have led him from Egypt to freedom – his hand is his computer, his pamphlet his blog post – he just says “Zei Gezunt” (be healthy/well) in a Russian accent, and hands you a pamphlet – That’s it.

And here he comes right now…

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I don’t see things by chance – and for this to be happening right now, the first sign sent to me upon exiting the Mikvah – as I’m writing this piece, on this bench, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.. Personal supervision is clear to me – so that’s why I try to break it down and explain it clearly. You’re the main character and this is your set, and I’m just an old friend with a horn, in your inbox.

Now back to humming the Breslov Lecha Dodi niggun…

and off home to sail into shabbos.

Blessings,

Etan

Take the plunge – Pre Shabbat Mikvah Adventures

Rosh Chodesh – Ladies Night Out

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1/23/2015

Rosh Chodesh – ladies night out

Rosh Chodesh is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the birth of a new moon.

Fresh out of a few hundred years of crushing slavery, the first commandment the nation of Israel was given as a people is the mitzvah of celebrating Rosh Chodesh, the New Month.

As a free people for the first time in ages, there was at last, a good reason for us to be aware of the time – to be in tune with life cycles – to hone into our relationship with the Source who lifted us out from constriction and delivered us to expanded awareness. The moon represents the nation of Israel whose job it is to reflect the Creators’ light into the world. Having just left slavery, we are free at last to serve the Creator – free to fulfill our purpose in creation – free to manifest the purpose of creation. It was finally “our time”, not the time of our task masters.

A new moon – a new energy – a new opportunity to re establish our relationship with the Source of all – and to draw in new mazel (drip from above).

It is wise to seize the opportunity to draw in the new energy and blessings which originate from this magical day of the month – a day which has its own set of laws and traditions sprinkled throughout.

One thing about Rosh Chodesh is that it’s all about the WOMEN – Feminine spiritual witchcraft is brewing at this time, so get wise or watch out.

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According to kabbalistic teachings, women share a special relationship with the moon, and as such they have special reason to celebrate Rosh Chodesh, the new moon.

Some women abstain from work on Rosh Chodesh, absorbing the energy of the day as their exclusive holiday. Whichever way a woman chooses to connect to the incredible power of Rosh Chodesh – there’s a whole lot to connect with – and she should feel supported and be encouraged to separate from all the minutiae of life and bask in its restorative glow.

The special connection between women and Rosh Chodesh goes back to the episode of the golden calf, when the women declined to participate in the collection efforts by refusing to surrender their jewelry for use in making the idol. As a reward, they were given Rosh Chodesh as a day which they can draw special blessing from.

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The Lubavitch Rebbe elaborates on this a bit and explains that the women’s non participation stemmed from their greater faith. Though they had just spent more than two centuries in idolatry steeped Egypt, a fact that explains why the men caved so quickly at a hint of trouble – the women’s faith remained unshakable, and they considered the idea of making an idol totally unthinkable.

The Rebbe further explains that Judaism is based on this strong faith, which at times can become “fuzzy “– it’s the women who remain steadfast in the faith and pass it on to their children – the future generations.

This explains their special connection to Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh celebrates the monthly renewal of the moon – after it wanes to the point of disappearance. Rosh Chodesh celebrates the concept of perpetuity through life’s peaks and valleys – and it’s the woman who, through her steadfast faith, ensures our nations survival – it is she who ensures that no matter how much we wean we will always be renewed.

When things seemed dark and hopeless, the women knew that light was just around the corner.

Like the moon becoming bigger and brighter only after it vanishes completely into darkness, the women knew that brighter times were on the way. They were willing to believe in the power of renewal and trust the Source no matter how difficult things seemed.

Rosh Chodesh teaches us that everything can and does change. It’s when a situation hits its bleakest point that the light appears again.

Shine on.

Etan

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Rosh Chodesh – Ladies Night Out

Bedtime episodes of deep Torah exchange by a 9 year old

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1/22/2015

Bedtime episodes of deep torah exchange by a 9 year old

*The following unedited prophetic words were channeled by my holy son, Lev Tzion last night.

Title: “If you’re wondering why you don’t get enough respect”

Author: Lev Tzion Butler

The world is created for three reasons:

1. For never ending happiness and joy
2. For us to work for Olam Habbah (the world to come) and Moshiach (the coming of the Messiah)
3. For free will

If a person wants respect, respect is going to run away from him or her, as they say. The world is created for three reasons, as I said earlier, and there is no reason for one certain person to get all of the respect. That person who got all the respect, you would think that he would be the only one who gets the big sin – but no. If that person had all of the respect, that means that basically all of the people in the world would be doing a sin because he would basically be acting like HaShem, because HaShem is the one who gets all the respect because He created the world. And HaShem was the one who created that person, so that means that HaShem should be getting that respect that the person has. And HaShem made it so that people don’t just not get all the respect, but also doesn’t get just what they always want – and I personally think that HaShem is good for making those things that we should work for and that is why HaShem created us, to work for those things.

From Etan Butler’s son, Lev

PS. “Bring love to all. If you do a little, it could do a lot”.

PPS.” Abba, first of all we should move in with your Rabbi – I have to talk with him about a lot of things”.

Both of my 9 year old sons, Gal Zohar and Lev Tzion then asked me to ask them any question that they could provide an answer to. So I asked them the following question, and their responses to it are listed below:

Question: If HaShem created the world to give us never ending happiness and joy, and if giving charity is what opens up the pipes of blessing into our lives – then why is it that sometimes when a person gives charity, he does not see an increase in the flow of abundance in his life?

Lev Tzion’s answer: “No one realizes that they’re still alive. They just want want want want want everything and are so focused on wanting things that they don’t even realize that HaShem already paid them back by making them alive – people just realize that they want everything.”

Gal Zohar’s answer: “ You may think that HaShem is paying you back with money, but really its happiness, health and a good family – and some people are in the street – you should be thankful that you have a house and a family and that’s your payment from HaShem.”

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During my evening hitbodidut, I thought about how there are moments in our lives where breakthroughs occur, and we receive a burst of true soul knowledge that speaks crystal clearly to us. An awakening from above met with an awakening from below resulting in true daas (fully integrated understanding, knowing)

The process of spiritual evolution requires us to recognize parts of ourselves which are not in alignment with the Source – to shine the light on our destructive tendencies, self sabotaging behaviors, and to formally let go of bad habits. Those on the path of evolution are going through this process at every moment. The process works in the following order:

First we access internal honesty –  which leads to weighing our actions – leads to sensitizing ourselves to the vibrations we emit through our behaviors – leads to gratitude for the holy and connected areas of ourselves and the love of the light; the clarity of the Divine dance – leads to honoring our true selves – our eternal souls.

This establishes a connection to and identification with our good points within.

This level of awareness and authenticity leads to openness – leads to seeking – leads to finding a guide – leads to integration of wisdom – leads to growth – leads to strength – leads to evolution – leads to incubating and housing insights – leads to sharing – leads to leading – leads to creating – leads to the Source.

It is up to us to work to increase our sensitivity to behaviors which need to change. This requires awareness and introspection – and then the courage to implement the wisdom which follows, and to share it with others.

Blessings,

Etan, Gal and Lev

Bedtime episodes of deep Torah exchange by a 9 year old

Conflict resolution through mercy

Tzimtzum
1/21/2015

Conflict resolution through mercy

The Source created a space for us to have free will. This is called the tzimtzum – a “contraction” of the Creator’s infinite light in order to allow for a “conceptual space” in which finite and seemingly independent realms could exist.

In the image above, the tzimtzum is the line coming down from the top and represents the limitless pleasure and Divine goodness that we were created to experience – an experience bestowed to creation from a place of unconditional love and pure giving – as there is no need to receive in our Divine Source.

The tzimtzum is the root of all spiritual principals discussed in the kabbalah. The kabalistic principal of tzimtzum explains that it is only in the consciousness of pure giving that we can be receptive to the experience of the Creator’s goodness. A basic idea of the tzimtzum is that the limitless pleasure and Divine experience that we were created to experience, is only revealed to the extent that we become similar to our Source and manifest the desire to give.

Mimicking the Source, we need to give others the space to be who they are – accepting them for who they are – offering the space for them to express their free will.

We often times try to manipulate, change and impose our will on others. This can create conflict between our wills. This conflict leads to questions we create and face – “do I reprimand my child for this behavior?” – “do we part ways because of this problem?” – “do we go to war over this issue?”

There is a place for others in the world. We are all connected as a part of One. Similar to our individual body, with all of our bones, organs and cells – this universe is one body made up of all of us.

Imposing our will on others, or demanding honor from a child can create a separation of wills.

We are taught that anyone who runs after honor, honor runs away from him.

Interaction with others is a dance– where our buttons are pushed and we push their buttons.

In any type of conflict, especially with a child, it is helpful to learn to become a master of the diffuse button – to try to validate the others feelings of being upset rather than digging our heels in and enforcing our will upon them.

This transforms the defending of our identity – our need to receive from them the response we seek, into becoming a tool for their transformation. This brings duality back to unity.

Otherwise, through conflict, we are only emboldening our child’s external self – hardening their ego to protect their perceived identity in the world.

To the extent to which we are caring only about ourselves, there is disconnection from the goodness. To the extent to which we are trying to truly care for others, there is connection to goodness.

By aligning our actions with the attributes of the Source, we can overcome our impulse to react when our identity seems threatened by another. We can bring unity into an episode of conflicting wills. Here are the 13 Divine Attributes with which the Source governs the world:

1. Compassion before a person errs
2. Compassion after a person errs
3. Compassion to give all creatures according to their need
4. Merciful, that all others may not be distressed
5. Gracious, if others are already in distress
6. Slow to anger
7. Plenteous in kindness
8. Plenteous in truth
9. Keeping kindness unto the multitudes
10. Forgiving iniquity
11. Forgiving transgression
12. Forgiving errors
13. Pardoning

Through living these attributes, we partake of the abundant wellsprings of Divine mercy prepared for us and effect the flow of Divine favor and grace through ourselves to others.This is the elixir to conflict and duality of wills.

Blessings,

Etan

Conflict resolution through mercy