Raise your head child

Cloud-Heaven

5/29/2015

Raise your head child

Well this week’s post was a tough act to follow.

I can tell you that the blog and social media lit up as heart felt love and directed props poured through the universe. Sometimes the most sane wisdom comes from the darkest moments.

When you open a channel to a constricted pipe you experience an explosion of repressed expression – and when you hear a man in constriction expose his deepest darkest truths, it draws in our attention. We can relate in our own way. We feel proud because it represents raw and honest expression which is a very ventilating concept to those of us trapped in a world of self imposed boundaries and limitations. It’s fresh air that strikes a familiar nerve deep within anyone on the growth path of conscious living. Because on the path, at every turn, we meet our adversary whose purpose is to hold us down and guard us from reaching our potential – from raising our heads upwards.

Many have come out of the woodwork expressing their own darkness this week – and leaving them on the curb left to dry without another dose is just cruel. So here we go.

Nasso et Rosh– RAISE THE HEADS.

Even when we are knocked down, cycling through the mental obstacles we are facing – even when we feel banished from connection with the Source – especially then, we lift our heads.

We show up to service with open arms, open vessels, and plead to the Source like a loved child for mercy – for redemption – for stronger faith.

We raise our weary heads to the Source above, in pure honesty, humility and with the realization that every single thing comes from the Source – there is nothing but the Source above – all apparent duality and multiplicity comes from the One Source.

At service, on that bench, dressed up and surrounded with brothers and sisters – melting away from the grip of the week – with your list of wants and needs and requests for mercy on yourself and your loved ones – raising your head in authentic expression at that moment is a prerequisite.

Nasso, my bar mitzvah parsha, is about lifting my head to Hashem – expressing my desire and love of Hashem and requesting that He help me win this war. Only Hashem can rescue me as there is nothing other than Hashem.

ark2.jpgbd2a32e2-2ef1-4eea-9ee0-7967552b5c2eLarge

“When Moses arrived at the tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he heard the Voice speaking to him from atop the Cover that was upon the Ark of the testimony, from between the two Chrubim, and He spoke to him.”

– Numbers 7:89

That same communication is going on today, every moment. The delight of experiencing the Divine Presence is the salvation. That’s winning the war. All other delights are fleeting. Shabbos Nasso gives us the opportunity to raise our heads and break free from our limitations – to re-establish our connection with the Source of our experience.

Our eternal soul is a giver and our temporary body is a taker. The joy experienced through giving is immeasurably greater than the pleasure of receiving. Soul connection is the desire to give, manifested.

The soul is an extension of the Source and the Source is endless blessing.

Soul connection is the experience of joy and sweetness in life. The sweetness of wisdom, connection and giving.

Lifting my head upwards means being in a constant state of gratitude for what appears to be going well and what appears to not be.

As the Baal HaSulam so eloquently put it:

“Eternal life is when you are ready to live every moment of your life forever”

Shabbat Shalom.

Blessings,

Etan

Raise your head child

Greetings from the psych ward | A message of hope

IMG_6310

5/27/2015

Greetings from the psych ward | A message of hope

From my nephew, Shmuel:

“So last night I had the most intense raw spiritual connection with God – something I have not experienced for years and completely lost hope in – I finally decided to put on my tefillin for the first time in years – the experience brought me to tears – I was in my room in a psych ward having a heart to heart conversation with God – I was telling Him, asking, begging to please give me the hope and strength to carry on – because I completely lost hope in my self, all humanity, and life in general – I never thought that things would get this bad for me, but for the first time in my life I had a suicide attempt – something that should have killed me – and it is a miracle that I am still in this world, which goes to show that I’m here for a greater purpose than my self and my mental illness.

I was hoping and praying that one day I could really touch the lives of other people in this world struggling like I am – I am in a constant battle with shame and depression – I am in a constant cycle of excruciating pain which I never see myself overcoming – what brought me to tears last night was my hope that God can show me something, anything that can bring me some level of hope – whether that was some kind of sign or purpose in this world.

I want everyone from all walks of life to hear my experience because although not everybody will understand, everybody can understand pain and has their ups and downs – and what I want to express to others is no matter how hard or how tough the experiences you are dealing with are, just know that we are all walking along our own narrow bridge through this world – and through sharing our own struggles and demons we encounter, we can come out of the shadows and break free from the mental and emotional battles that we face every day – break the chains that bind us.

No matter how stagnant you feel and how long you’ve been going through your struggles don’t give up – one day you can really come out of it and make something of your life even though you might not know now what exactly your mission or purpose is.

I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you  – and if these words can reach anyone out there and help in any way then I feel accomplished and inspired to share more.

I almost took my life so I can relate to your pain and struggles. We must all walk this crazy bridge which we call life – be there for each other, help each other through life’s ups and downs – help guide each other through that dark tunnel. What you will come to recognize is that through helping another being you are helping yourself more than you will ever know. Together let’s push through the darkness as one. This is something I’ve come to realize. If there is anyone who can relate to pain and is struggling in their life, if there is any one person I could help, then I feel this blog was worth writing and it was worth sharing my story.”

“The whole world is a narrow bridge, the key is not to be afraid”

-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Blessings,

Shmuel and Etan

Greetings from the psych ward | A message of hope

Prophecy flash | Laying down a hero

IMG_6222

5/17/2015

Prophecy flash | Laying down a hero

Attention artists and rappers and poets and champions of restriction and chasers of God’s light – to those looking to soar.

If I’m not gonna live my potential what do I expect my kids to learn from me.

If I’m not gonna follow my eternal soul what do I expect to follow.

If I’m not ready to boldly grab the next rung what rung do I expect to remain hanging on.

The view gets old quick and the time is now to empower ourselves to see what’s around the bend on this holy path we follow.

“And remove spiritual impediment from before us and from behind us

– Hashkivainu (The Lay Us Down Blessing)

Both can equally entrap us. Freeze us in a tunnel. Less freedom than enlightened prisoners.

The Sitra Achra (the other side) is what stops us from doing what we know is best for ourselves – it looks to slow us down bring us down and lay us down, and it casts an enticing bait to those chasing worms and ignoring the hook.

It’s simple if we just follow the clues and learn from the past. Ask Einstein; “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

In fact, it’s only possible to drastically disconnect from the light of spiritual consciousness while under the influence of a flash of temporary insanity.

Eventually we learn what makes us insane and it becomes insane to continue the chase.

Heroes come and go –  and the elder generations of heroes leaves us in the position of seeing ourselves as the needed next generation of heroes. The ground is there below us, patiently waiting to welcome back every part of us but the soul. Time to start identifying with it and walking in its ways. Following its footsteps like the children follow ours.

“I applied my mind to seek and probe by wisdom all that happens beneath the sky – it is a sorry task that God has given to the sons of man with which to be concerned.”

” I said to myself: Come, I will experiment with joy and enjoy pleasure. That, too, turned out to be futile.”

“I ventured to stimulate my body with wine – while my heart is involved with wisdom – and to grasp folly, until I can discern which is best for mankind to do under the heavens during the brief span of their lives.”

“Whatever my eyes desired I did not deny them; I did not deprive myself of any kind of joy. Indeed, my heart drew joy from all my activities, and this was my reward for all my endeavors.”

“Then I looked at all the things I had done and the energy I had expended in doing them; it was clear that it was all futile and a vexation of the spirit – and there is no real profit under the sun.”

“The sum of the matter, when all has been considered: Fear God and keep His commandments, for that is man’s whole duty.”

-King Solomon

It is wise to contemplate and drink from the wisdom of the wisest man ever.

Now it’s time for redemption. Now it’s time for salvation.

B.D.E Mama Hannah

Blessings,

Etan

Prophecy flash | Laying down a hero

The Splendor of my Zaydie | Baruch Yaakov (The Blessing of the House of Jacob)

IMG_1341

5/1/2015 [12 Iyar]

The Splendor of my Zaydie | Baruch Yaakov (The Blessing of the House of Jacob)

“Rabbi said, What is the proper path that one should choose for himself? Whatever is honorable for himself, and earns him esteem from his fellows.”

– Pirkei Avot, Perek 2, Mishna 1

Over 2,000 years ago the author of this Mishna – Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi – contemplated the ideal path for us to take in our lives. As life is not always a straight road to follow – we need to chart our course with every choice we make.

But how do we acquire the confidence to choose wisely from an infinite array of possibilities? This is what Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi comes to answer in this Mishna. He advises:

“Whatever is honorable for himself, and earns him esteem from his fellows.”

The word, translated in the text as ‘honorable’ and ‘esteem’ is Tiferet – which means ‘splendor’.

The kabbalists have applied this description as the defining character trait of our forefather Yaakov, who inherited the spiritual legacies of his forebears: Chesed, which means selfless loving-kindness, from his grandfather Avraham – and Gevurah, which means inner spiritual self-discipline, from his father Yitzchak.

Like the forefather Yaakov; my Zaydie – Baruch Yaakov (zichrono u’levracha) successfully blended these apparently contradictory traits of Chesed and Gevurah and achieved a new synthesis – with the creation of a single attribute called Rachamim (mercy). It is for this resolution of conceptual opposites that Yaakov earns the designation of Tiferet (splendor) – and, it is with this quality in mind, that the Jewish people are named for him.

It’s easy to take a position at one extreme or the other: Chesed (selfless loving kindness) – or Gevurah (spiritual, self-discipline) – to seek out favor from others at the expense of personal integrity, or to follow one’s own path – no matter what others might think or believe.

But to strive to achieve both the inner calling of one’s soul (like graciously opening his home to those is distress, and proudly aligning his inner essence with his exterior identity) – even while defining himself in the context of the community (like pioneering a new Jewish community, schools, synagogues and related infrastructure) – that is a labor that calls for true spiritual heroism – and absolute splendor.

On the Tree of Life, Tiferet is situated on the center column, and can only be achieved through the merging of the right column Sefirot, which represents masculine energy, and the left column Sefirot, which represents feminine energy. This is where my Savta comes in – to complete Zaydie – to combine perfectly with him to form the Splendor that we remember Zaydie as embodying.

tiferet

Today is the second yahrzeit of my Zaydie — my own Forefather – Baruch Yaakov ben Sharaga Feivel Halevi (zichrono u’levracha) a heroic figure, who I remember as embodying the balanced characteristic of Tiferet – a man of magnificence and splendor – grandeur and elegance – inner and outer beauty.

IMG_5978

Zaydie walked the proper path – a path that was honorable for himself, and earned him the esteem from his fellows

I feel blessed to come from such nobility – and honored to push myself to live up to his legacy.

Amen.

IMG_2084

Shabbat shalom.

Blessings,

Etan

The Splendor of my Zaydie | Baruch Yaakov (The Blessing of the House of Jacob)

Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually

castles

4/17/2015

Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually

There are no shortcuts to soul rectification. The law of cause and effect is in full effect.

You might not see the effect immediately but you will meet up with it eventually – this spiritual law is not limited to time and space but a physical cause will meet its physical effect in time. Good intent and good deed contribute to future happiness while bad intent and bad deed contribute to future suffering.

Any apparent physical success achieved through shortcuts – through violating a spiritual law – will melt into the sea eventually. Only truth stands at the end.

“One who speaks falsehood shall not stand before my eyes”

(Psalms 101:7)

When you see this play out over and over and over again, you eventually “get it”, and just don’t have the strength or interest to build another castle, just to see it melt away again.

The simplest compass here is to not do to others what you don’t want done to yourself. Ask yourself this question before every decision – and the answer is clear if you’re courageous enough to follow it.

The whole Torah stands on this principal.

Man designs schemes and God melts castles into the sea eventually.

There is, however, an escape hatch from the affects of past actions which can override karmic consequences – and this comes in the form of Divine Providence, which means that we can reach beyond the system of cause and effect. We can plead with the Creator of the system through teshuvah (repairing and returning to our true nature) which retroactively alters and repairs our past actions.

But without active daily meditative contemplation and reflection good luck identifying and breaking old habits and negative behavioral patterns. What we can control is taking the time to get our head straight and reconcile our trajectory. To weigh our actions and come clean so that we can set back out with a pure heart and clean hands.

The alternative is to bump into the same wall over and over and over again – and it only gets harder and more frustrating over time. Hitbodidut (authentic one on one all out legit dialogue with the Source) is going back stage and hanging with the Director of your reality. It’s time when the star of the show can sit and look over the clips of the past day and take direction from the Director. The Director has His name on the line just like you and is fully aligned to make the best show ever – that brings Him glory.

“What profit is there in my blood if I go down to the pit? Will the dust give you praise? Can it proclaim Your truth?”

(Psalms 30:9)

“If your desire is very strong, you will certainly be able to accomplish what you want and bring it from potential to actual. For the main purpose of the obstacle is to strengthen the desire. When the strength of your desire matches the strength of the obstacle, the obstacle becomes surmountable.”

(L’M I # 66)

Shab Shal

Blessings,

Etan

Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

4/13/2015

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

I know that Your laws of teshuva (returning to my true nature) allow for quantum leaps because I know that sincere teshuva on my deathbed can rectify all past disconnection.

Just like the enslavement from my past and anxieties about my future can hijack the now, so too can being in the moment free me from the past and future.

And I know that You created the Angels and I know that You empowered the Angels with control over the stars and I know that the stars and my name influence my life and I know that You created the orb of time and space from the Ein Sof (no ending-ness) and I know that You created the 10 Sefirot and I know that You uttered the 10 Utterances and commanded the 10 Commandments and unleashed the 10 plagues and I know that You are supervising over me 24/7 and I know that You love when I talk with You and pour out my truth and I know that You remind me to look at my good points because You love me and I know that every challenge and obstacle I am encountering comes from Your mercy and provides me with the opportunity to grow. So thank You for that because I know that one day  I’ll be looking back on this and seeing clearly all of Your goodness and I know that I feel free just saying this and I know that being intertwined with Your Will is the highest joy because I know what it feels like to be dis-aligned with You and I know how You call me back to You.

So, “Communicate Your innermost wisdom to me again in loving closeness, for Your friendship is dearer than all earthly delights”

-Song of Songs

I’m asking for a quantum leap my Master. I’m one of the few who dreams of complete teshuva but my bones are fragile from past dis-alignment. So I’m begging You for mercy. Lead my way with Your light and make my journey pleasing to my loved ones.

Hashem only You know what is best for me and what path is for me. At least let me remember this every moment to sweeten the judgements of life. Let me remember that You are concealed in every one of my experiences – giving me the perfect opportunity to rectify my past disconnection.

And then I heard from You tonight: “That’s the fine wine of freedom.”

That’s divine consciousness and that takes work to maintain and that comes in flashes of lightning. And this is one of them. But like Ben Franklin we can go out to the fields in the storms and fly our kites in the wind with a key attached and conduct lightning. And this is hitbodidut – lightning connection in the storm of reality and the healing waves of divine wind come flowing in proportion to the breath that flows from our mouths to the Creator.

My goal, my Master? To run the command center for Moshiach and support distributors of liberating light and truth, like Rav Dror and Rav Baruch. To bring Rav Chanan’s family in and liberate souls one by one starting with my own and then my family and friends and surrounding community of souls. I want my boys as personal agents of the Melech haMoshiach. And I want to sit at his table with my family in joy.

I’m asking You for a promotion. Can we call the past the past? I will if You will. And can I get a few wishes please?

Gevurah she’be Gevurah (Discipline of discipline)

Blessings,

Etan

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

Exodus

title

4/2/2015

Exodus

When you gotta go, you gotta go – and when you wanna leave Egypt, you gotta make a run for it – there is no time to lose. According to the sages, Egypt is the archetype of limitation – and each one of us is bound by both internal and cosmic constraints.

We enter this world with a soul-makeup that profoundly influences our spiritual, intellectual and emotional inclinations – predisposing us to be a person of expansiveness or constraint, a walker or a talker, a doer or a watcher, an actor or a reactor.

Our head space is influenced by our home town environment, cultural assumptions and biases – and our surrounding family and bio-chemical makeup further imprints our process of being in the world. All of these factors subconsciously guide the choices we make on a daily basis and the way we interact with others.

Being mostly unconscious of this underlying structure, we live a reactive life rather than proactively creating the world we live in.

Secrets_subconscious_mind26

“The Exodus from Egypt” means becoming consciously aware and freeing ourselves of these limitations so that we can live the infinite life we are capable of and intended to experience.

The Passover Seder is the structural blue print and escape plans from the prison of constriction – our way out.

jail

And since leaving Egypt is a state of mind we strive to manifest each moment of our lives, we must continuously re-enact it – not only on Passover night at the Seder, but each day we are graced with the privilege and blessing to be here on earth.

There is a verse that relates how we were instructed by the Source to partake of the Seder – it sets out a three-step program for freedom.

“You must eat the Passover Sacrifice with your hips girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand.” (Exodus, Bo 12:11)

Hips Girded: If we really want to leave Egypt today we need to “gird our loins” – this first phase involves summoning up our inner resources in preparation for action – preparing ourselves with the proper headspace of what’s about to go down when we make a run for it.

Shoes on your feet: The next phase of attaining freedom has to do with how the different aspects of ourselves interact, and the establishment of a working relationship between our higher (spiritual) and lower (animalistic) self – and this process corresponds to wearing shoes on our feet.

The crafting of shoes involves the utilization of animal skin assembled in order to adorn our feet – but there is deeper metaphysical correlation to shoes.

The purpose of the higher soul is to refine the animal so as to make it a vessel for truth and Godliness – enabling us to achieve the heightened state of loving and serving the Creator in joy with both inclinations – our physical and spiritual selves.

We are looking to work the animal within in such a way that it becomes a garment for who we really are – to harness it’s imagination and direct its passions in the direction of the Source of life.

Staff in your hand: The final step involves honest internal dialogue and engaging the mind in contemplative meditation. Like a stick to a dog, the “staff in hand” is a tool which is sometimes required to tame or guide the wild animal within.

We have the ability to lower ourselves into animalistic desires and tendencies to the point where our animal soul no longer has a connection to the intellect – and the only way to deal with this part of ourselves is to tame, guide and even “strike” the animal soul with a staff.

This is not a physical act. The metaphysical strike refers to the power of speech. We see this when Moses saw an Egyptian beating an Israelite to death and stepped in to save his brother’s life. When the Egyptian refused to stop, Moses “struck” the Egyptian – and Rashi teaches that this means that Moses struck and killed him through enunciating God’s name.

Striking evil with speech means waging war against our ego and delusions. The message we are looking to impart to our animal soul is the truth that the entire world is not running on its own. The Source may be hidden, but is embedded within the atoms directing everything we experience and beyond – that one day this will all become manifest, and the animal soul will be able to see it with physical eyes – the veil of illusion shall be lifted – the glory of the Source will be revealed, and all flesh on earth will together see that “the mouth of God has spoken”.

According to the Kabbalah, “the mouth of God has spoken” refers to the first commandment – “I am God your God who took you out of Egypt.”

The Hebrew word for the first “God” in the verse is Havaye, which is connected to the words haya (was), hoveh (is) and yi’heye (will be)

This name of the Creator alludes to God as He transcends time, space and all other limitations of the world.

Our work here is to harness this infinite expansiveness and internalize it.

This consciousness, that we are not bound in any way by the limitations of the world, becomes our strength and vitality – transforming our reality and effecting a personal exodus from Egypt.

And there is literally no better time than tomorrow night (Friday April 3rd), at the Passover Seder to transform our reality and break free from all forms of enslavement. Might be a good idea to list them out as a cheat sheet.

There is a certain power, a once a year opportunity hovering above us tomorrow night – and we don’t want to miss it. On Passover eve, the night that freedom was born, we experience freedom by following a sequence of 15 ordered steps called the “Pessach Seder” (Passover Order).

The 15 steps are:

1. Sanctify
2. Cleanse
3. Appetizer
4. Break
5. Tell
6. Wash
7. Bread
8. Matzah
9. Bitter
10. Wrap
11. Set the table
12. Hidden
13. Bless
14. Praise
15. Accepted

The first step, “Kadesh” (Sanctify) corresponds to our transcending of the mundane world – and once we’ve set ourselves free from material slaveries, we can then return and sanctify them. That is when true spiritual freedom begins – when we introduce a higher purpose into every physical act we do.

And the final step, “Nirtza” (Accepted) corresponds to us doing nothing – it’s time for the Source to take over. We are not designed to be perfect. Once we’ve done what we can do, it’s time to focus on the good and strengthen our faith even more.

For over 3,300 years we have been making freedom runs from Egypt – doing our jobs of transforming the darkness of this world into light – and now it’s the Creator’s turn to lift us up out from slavery and banish the darkness once and for all – bringing perfect illumination to our path for eternity.

Chag Kasher v’Sameach (Wishing you a happy and kosher holiday)

Blessings,

Etan

Exodus