The Midnight Rectification

Midnight

12/31/2014

The Midnight Rectification

“A bit of sleep, a bit of slumber, a bit of folding the hands and reclining, and that which you lack comes as a runner, and that which you want like a soldier” – King Solomon

“At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee” – King David

Tikkun Chatzot “The Midnight Rectification” is a Jewish ritual prayer recited each night after midnight as an expression of mourning and lamentation over the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

But many of us are unaware of the incredible depth and power of this ritual of awakening at midnight.

Midnight corresponds to the point when the depth of “sleep” overwhelms our soul and seeks to destroy it completely by means of our disconnection and accumulated negativity – to the point that we are about to utterly give up any moment. It represents unconsciousness and darkness in our lives. It manifests in the form of depression, anger, shame and disconnection. At midnight, the Divine Presence is at its nadir.

Awaken corresponds to the injection of consciousness and light into our lives. To shift our focus to the good points within ourselves and others. To drive expansive awareness and faith into a moment of darkness and constriction.

Mourning over the destruction of the Temple corresponds to our distress and yearning for the return of the perception of Divine providence in our lives. Our perception of the Source is diminished due to the darkness we create and identify with.

There is also a Temple within us, where through prayer, we offer daily sacrifices of our selfish animalistic actions and desires to the Source. We lift up our heart and offer 100% of it to the Source.

And from this state of destruction we seek to rebuild. Hence by being distressed and concerned about the “Temple”, we begin to rebuild it – and the rebuilding of the Temple corresponds to the construction of consciousness.

Here lies a powerful lesson which we can apply to our lives during moments of constriction. By arousing ourselves like a lion to awaken from the darkness – we bring consciousness to unconsciousness – we shift focus from our limitations to our good points. And this rectification at midnight, this practice of awakening from the pinnacle of our sleep – strengthens our ability to rise above all moments of perceived lack and unconsciousness throughout our days.

As the clock strikes 12:00am tonight, let us start the new year off with an awakening at midnight.

Blessings,

Etan

The Midnight Rectification

Desire

Desire 2

12/30/2014

Desire

There is a kabalistic principal which defines our basic makeup, the essential elements of what we are made of. And this can be summed up in one word – Ratzon; “Desire”. There are three basic levels of human desire.

Level one desires are rooted in our animalistic lusts – our needs, wants and urges. This includes the desire to sleep, eat and all other forms of self gratification. Level one desires are aimed to serve our most basic needs.

Level two desires are elevated beyond basic animalistic desires, and include honor, fame and power over others. Level two desires encompass our quest for status.

Level three desires are fueled by our higher faculties of reasoning and are aimed toward fulfilling our desires for knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

These three levels of desire are found in all of us, blended in different degrees – and this is the difference between one person and another.

Kabalistically, desire is referred to as a “vessel” – an empty cup that seeks to be filled. And the object of our desire is referred to as “light”. Light is far more than the pleasure of our desire being fulfilled – light is unending joy – lasting fulfillment.

Since the universe is flooded with light, what stands in the way of our lasting happiness?

The “wall”.

There is an illusionary wall that divides our perception into two realms. The physical world, our universe, the temporary space of creation — and the eternal world, the Source – that which lies beyond basic human perception.

Sadness, anxieties and feelings of un-fulfillment stem from our perception that our desires are being ignored by the Source – being disconnected from the eternal realm, limiting ourselves to the boundaries of physicality.

However, when we learn how to reconnect to the eternal realm, that which lies beyond human perception, we can pierce through the wall – and the light bursts in. Our darkness becomes illuminated. This is the secret of how we can control the events in our lives. This opens the channels of light into our vessel, a recipe for lasting fulfillment. This process fulfills the desire of the Source, the light and the vessel – a win win win.

And this is accomplished through faith and prayer. Faith in knowing that we are eternal souls connected with the eternal Source, who desires to fill our vessels with the highest light — and prayer is the expression of faith and desire directed from our soul to the Source – opening the channels of light flow from the Source to our vessel and from our vessel to the world.

Blessings,

Etan

Desire

How to be Happy

Zahava Baby
12/29/2014

How to be Happy

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

Holy boldness is what empowers me to share my personal transformative poetry in real time – gives me the confidence to express the wisdom which has crystallized and flows through me – and it’s been supported by the Source, massively.

I only knew this once I did it – and it was my biggest fear for so long. How about that…”Do what scares you most” – its what’s in the books and what I’ve read for years, and actually believe in and preach – but I never really tasted it and knew it until I tried it. It’s like having a child, being in love – can’t describe it in words – Can’t limit it to words and rational expression. Need to know it through experiential wisdom (Daas) – and then you know it. And this knowing becomes your perception and shifts reality all around you. It is the Devine flow of energy that gives confidence – and as my soul brother Dror just texted me yesterday:

“Believe in yourself!!!” “Its not faith without it”…how true.

When we are not doing what we love, expressing and sharing our greatest gifts, it is no blessing to be granted the gift of joy. And we need to be bold in the process of doing what we love.

It’s impossible to grow closer to the Source except through boldness. As Rabbi Yeudah ben Teima said: “Be bold as a leopard”, and we can take from this that he was referring to the importance of holy boldness – that a person must be “bold as a leopard” in the face of all who stand up against him to prevent him from his process of serving and growing closer to the Source.

Rebbe Nachman brings down in L”M #22:9 “Now, holy boldness is achieved through joy, as in (Nehemiah 8:10), “For the delight in God is your boldness.” In other words, [it is achieved] through the concept of “na’aseh v’nishma (we will do and [then] we will hear)” (Exodus 24:7). This is the concept of joy. – Contrary to rational logic, where we would first seek to “hear” – to witness, experience, fully understand – there is a power in first “doing” – taking action, jumping in, stepping out of our limited rational based perception – and only then do we “hear”. This was the only prerequisite to the process which unfolded when the nation of Israel stood by the mountain of Sinai and accepted the Torah – and this was the process which took place standing at the water edge with the Egyptians riding full throttle toward us – with nowhere else to run. Only through jumping in and “doing” do we experience the “miracle” of nature shifting and the path opening up in front of us. Only by “doing” do we express to the Source that we are its creation, with limited understanding, making the required room in our lives for higher wisdom to penetrate and expand our perception. And only then does the rush of joy, victory and song flow through us.

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Later in L”M #22:9, the Rebbe goes on to write that “we will do and we will hear” corresponds to [concepts] hidden and revealed. “We will do” is synonymous with the revealed– i.e., the precepts that each and every person can fulfill commensurate with his level. And, “We will hear” is synonymous with the hidden – that which is elevated and hidden from in, so that he is incapable of serving [God] with this.

The concept of “we will do and we will hear” applies to each one of us at every level of growth. We each have the aspect of “we will do”, that which is revealed to us – as well as the aspect of “we will hear” – which corresponds to that which is hidden from us.

And it is our mission to go from level to level so that we are always meriting higher and higher aspects of “we will hear and we will do”.

There is great joy in victory. And our most epic battle is against our adversary who defends against what’s best for our evolution and expansion – our alignment with the Source. His greatest strategy is to create fear – a wall of illusion defined and maintained by our self imposed false beliefs. He justifies it with convincing rationalizations – keeping us locked behind bars of megapixels. And, he is happiest when we settle because he gets to sip martinis on the shore, mending his wounds while we suffer. He wins when we settle under the disguise of modern balance where all seems ok. But if we are not climbing we are free falling – finding ourselves cut off from inspiration and meaning. The ramp to the alter had no stairs – our process of growth leaves no room to stop and rest – we are in a perpetual state of motion – one way or the other.

The greatest joy comes from aligning with the Source to such a degree that you mirror its actions – and the greatest form of imitating the Source is by expressing our creative self into the world – this mirrors the act of creation – it mirrors child birth – it mirrors artistic expression and the flow of wisdom from the sages.

We will not be truly in joy unless we are doing what gives us joy. When someone is in joy they become the main character in their lives – and the next path opens up for them, supporting their journey. We need to boldly slay our limiting identities to become a clear channel of the Source to the world – widening the bandwidth for the flow of blessing through us to the world. Let us do His will so that His will becomes our will. Joy to follow.

Blessings,

Etan

How to be Happy

The Power of Mikvah

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12/28/2014
The Power of Mikvah

“v’zarakti aleichem mayim t’horim ut’hartem: I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean … I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.” – Ezekiel 36:25–26

In our journey through the physical – the actions we make and the thoughts we think create both physical and spiritual consequences. When we give charity to the poor man, we bring a smile to his face, food to his home, and a sense of joy and purpose to ourselves. And when we think positive thoughts about ourselves, and focus on our good points within – our perception of and by extension how we experience our lives mirrors those thoughts.  We create positive energy by performing actions and thinking thoughts in line with our higher self.

The same applies to our negative actions, thoughts and intentions.  When we steal from another, we bring damage and pain to them, and a sense of shame and disconnection to ourselves. And when we focus on negativity, we become depressed and create the space for negative energy to flourish.

All negative actions create disconnection between the soul and body. And this disconnection creates the space for negative energy to survive and breed. To survive, the negative energy requires additional infusions of negativity – and this creates a cycle of negativity in our thoughts and actions. This is how addictions, fears, anxieties and character flaws develop and survive. And they become part of our identity – trapped inside the constructs of our ego, seeking cover in the fox holes of our subconscious.

The good news is we’ve been giving an antidote which has the power to shake us free from the accumulated negativity of our thoughts and actions – to annihilate the energetic parasites, feeding off and effecting our bodies and minds.

This is the Mikvah

The Mikvah is a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion. It’s what the high priests had to immerse in before they could enter the temple to perform their holy work. It’s also what many Jewish women immerse in after their menstral cycle is finished before they re enter the realm of intimacy with their husbands – as well as what converts to Judaism immerse in as part of the ritual procedure of conversion. And it’s what all of us can immerse in to neutralize accumulated energy and external forces.

A Mikvah must be connected to a natural spring or well of naturally occurring water, and thus can be supplied by rivers and lakes which have natural springs as their source.

You first clean yourself and remove all physical items from your body. And then you fully immerse your body in the Mikvah. At the moment of immersion, when you are bare, under natural water and nothing physical is attached to your body, you return to the womb, the waters of Eden – and re emerge renewed and pure.

The Mikvah is the antidote to the venom of accumulated negative energy. It serves as a transitory experience between two states, a process of physical and spiritual renewal – a rebirth.

Those who are energetically sensitive find great benefit in frequent immersion.

Over the past decade the Mikvah has become a tremendously important tool for me. I can’t recall a Friday afternoon that has passed without immersing in a Mikvah. At home I walk to the community Mikvah, while on vacation I find out where the closest Mikvah is, or immerse in the ocean or lake.

Winding down from the work week, the constant connection to electronic communications, monetary matters, negotiations and physical work – preparing to enter the realm of the holy Shabbat, when we leave behind the stress and routines of the week, there is no better way to honor the process of transformation than to immerse and shake free from the accumulated external forces of the week and enter the gift of Shabbat, the source of blessing, in purity and peace.

The Power of Mikvah

What is Emunah?

rav dror

12/26/2014 – What is Emunah?

My soul brother in Jerusalem, Rav Dror Moshe Cassouto, has dedicated his life to sharing the rare honest pure Emunah principals of Rebbe Nachman. In addition to hundreds of some of the most powerful and transformative video classes I’ve ever seen relating to and dealing with all aspects of life, the following description of Emunah appears on his website, http://www.emunahchannel.com

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Emunah: Generally translated as faith.

We’re used to thinking of faith as a strategy for people who can’t think for themselves. “The fool believes everything,” Solomon writes, “the wise man understands.” Emunah, however, is an innate conviction, a perception of truth that transcends, rather than evades, reason. Quite the contrary, wisdom, understanding and knowledge can further enhance true emunah.

Nevertheless, emunah is not based on reason. Reason can never attain the certainty of emunah, since, reasonably speaking, a greater reasoning might always come along and prove your reasons wrong. In this way, emunah is similar to seeing first hand: Reason can help you better understand what you see, but it will have a hard time convincing you that you never saw it. So too, emunah endures even when reason can’t catch up.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught: “…In the world at large, faith is considered to be a small matter. But, by me, faith is a very great thing.” (Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom, #33)

What does this mean to me? When people talk about cultivating simple and straightforward faith, most make light of it—as if it is too minor a thing to take seriously or respect, or aspire to. Yet Rebbe Nachman placed a very great emphasis throughout his writings and teachings on the importance of building within ourselves a strong faith that is unburdened by the trappings of pseudo-intellectualism and philosophical speculation.

Avoiding what Rebbe Nachman called chochmot — intellectual constructs that are artificial and place us at a distance from God—is an important part of his pathway. This doesn’t mean that we abandon asking questions or that we do not exercise our minds; what it does is remove the taint of doubt from the question so that it becomes a simple expression of our longing to understand God’s truth.

Emunah is a gift that must be nurtured and developed like a muscle. We must become defenders of this most important gift.

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We must practice the art of emunah until it becomes our craft –  our nature. Emunah grows deeper as we accustom ourselves to experience the phenomena of life as expressions of the Source manifesting its presence and love.

There is no greater joy than seeing your children work on and express their emunah. This was captured for me in a secret note I found earlier this year in my son (Gal Zohar’s) bed.

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Shabbat shalom,

Etan

What is Emunah?

Out of the shadow

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12/25/2014
Out of the shadow

In LM #172 Rebbe Nachman brings down another radical piece of wisdom about the experience of lack in our lives.

“All lack that a person has, whether children, livelihood or health, is ALL caused by the person himself”

There is a concept of “not being in this world” – not being limited by our physical identity.

Whenever we identify from the perspective of the physical, the limited, the temporary – we create a shadow that blocks the light.

“For instance, a wooden or stone object in line of the light of the moon or sun will cast a shadow, and a solar or lunar eclipse is caused by the earth’s shadow. Similarly, the sun itself is physical compared to that which is above it, and casts a shadow opposite it.”

This concept also applies to our actions. “A person’s own negative conduct casts a shadow upon himself, so that the source’s light cannot reach him” And, through repairing our actions, we remove the obstruction which blocks the light source – eliminating the shadow.

When we transform our perception of our identity to the spiritual, the eternal, we eliminate the shadow, and therefore the perceived lack, and see only the light of Source. We acquire the higher perception of “not being in this world” – removing the obstruction which prevents the light and influx from reaching us.

The Rebbe goes on to further explain that “the Source’s light is mainly honor, for everything that the source created was for its honor, as is written, “For My honor I created it” (ibid.6:3):” And if a person is “not in this world” at all – then he can receive the Source’s light, which is honor.

“This is the meaning of , “The wise will inherit honor” (Proverbs 3:#5), for, “Wisdom comes from nothing” (job 28:12).” Therefore, the sages who are “nothing”, receive honor, for they do not cast a shadow to obstruct, since they have no materiality.

And this was Moses’ greatest quality, humility – nothingness. And this is why the greatest gift – the highest wisdom from the Source – was channeled through Moses. By shedding the constraints of his physicality, he made room to receive the light. And this is the greatest quality of leadership – and a most important task – to remove the blockages that hold us back from receiving the direct light from the Source, so that the Source can lead through us. And this is the most important prerequisite in sharing with others – to remove our ego and focus on channeling wisdom and light to our friends.

Blessings,

Etan

Out of the shadow

Experiential Knowledge

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12/24/2014
Experiential Knowledge

There is a Kabalistic concept that the only reason we don’t manifest something into our lives is because our level of desire and certainty is not high enough – not in line with what we are looking to draw in.

So if having the required level of desire and certainty is what allows for us to channel abundance and blessing into our lives, how do we explain it when we have desire and certainty and feel as though we have created the vessel to receive, yet often times we don’t end up getting what we want?

Some people are born with tremendous challenges – debilitating deformities, genetic depression, terminally ill. What’s that about? Ok, so if they are born into this world with these challenges and we can accept that their souls needed to go through this lifetime with those challenges for some reason, how do we know if our lack of success, health, wealth is the same scenario? Maybe we were really wealthy and miserly in a prior lifetime and we were born into this life destined to be poor in order to repair a part of our eternal soul. If that’s the case, how will desire and certainty even help us? How do we know what we can and cannot change in our lives?

There is another concept which is connected to the idea of certainty which states that we need to prepare ourselves to “take it” and that by doing so we prepare ourselves to be able to seize the opportunities in our lives in a more certain and active way (i.e. don’t miss the boat). This makes sense as there are people who are stuck in this way, of not grabbing the opportunities which present themselves for a variety of reasons. Fear of success, lack of self worth, all forms of self sabotage. So for these people, we can understand how by increasing their desire and certainty, they can overcome their dispositions effecting positive change in being able to welcome in and “take” opportunities presented to them. But what about those who were destined to experience a particular lack in this lifetime? How do we know what our story is?

We see in many Chasidic teachings examples of pious people despising money, separating from physicality by fasting, and in some cases stating that monetary wealth and piety are very difficult to co-exist. But assuming we want success for the right reasons, what if we are destined to not have it? Will prayer, desire, certainty and the mind set of “taking it” help? And how would this work with a person born with no legs who practices desire and certainty for legs? Can this person utilize the law of attraction to channel the blessings of legs into their life?

Further, how can we explain great tragedy both personal and collective? If the Source has its own pre-determined plans for us, what’s the point of all of this?

Is just the knowledge that we as created beings are not capable of understanding our creator’s mind enough to satisfy this question? Is it just a dead end? How do we explain this and how do we take this knowledge and apply it into our lives, our prayers, our expectations?

Rebbe Nachamn of Breslov brings down in L”M #21 that all troubles, suffering and experience of lack in our lives, specifically in the areas of livelihood, finding a soul mate and having children and health, is only because of a lack of daas (experiential knowledge). And when dass is perfected, all deficiencies are filled. One can ask, if I attain true daas, will I then have more money, find my soul mate or be blessed with being able to have children? Will my deficiency become filled? Here lies a very important and deep lesson. The Torah and the teachings of the tzadikim are not to be understood solely in a literal and physical sense. We are eternal souls and these teachings are intended to enlighten us with wisdom meant to be utilized in the highest ways. Physical lack we experience is real. It hurts, and we are supposed to pray for relief and blessing to effect change in our life. When we are lacking a livelihood, in addition to working as intelligently and focused as we can, we pray to the source to channel blessing into our lives – the same holds true for finding a soul mate or having children. We are supposed to understand that this lack comes from above and to direct our pleading and supplications to the Source.

If the lack we experience in these areas is only because of a lack of daas, why then when we increase our daas do we not experience an actual physical change in these realities? Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. Increasing daas will not always effect physical changes in these areas. The “lack” we experience in these areas relates to the lack of understanding that we have in knowing that our difficulties are coming from a higher place, somehow out of ultimate goodness. Sometimes a lack in these areas is experienced as a result of our past actions, this lifetime or previous lifetimes. Increased daas may not effect a physical change in these areas, but it will effect a change in terms of our being able to believe and perceive that on a higher level having these challenges in our life does not have to be experienced as a lack. We still have to pray and plead with the Source for its assistance and blessing in our life, but it’s the prayers and pleading that our Source is looking for from us. We may not know why challenges happen to us, but we must understand that they exist and are experienced by us as lack, only because we have not yet acquired the amount of daas we need to neutralize the sting of the physical challenge.

This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to understand and even more so incorporate and experience, but I believe it’s the truth. It’s our yearning that the Source wants – the relationship that will bring us close to it, which is the ultimate joy. Sometimes it will answer our physical needs as well, but only the Source knows what’s really best for us. Our work is to yearn, plead and increase our experiential knowledge believing that every word is heard, and every word makes a tremendous difference.

Sometimes our challenges are what bring us closer to the Source, and without them we would feel that we have no need to connect to the Source. A life with no challenges would therefore not be a gift at all for us. It may seem easier during our lifetime, but we are working for much more. Looking back on our life, we will learn the reasons behind every test and challenge – but while we go through them, and we sure will go through them, our job is to pray and plead to the Source for its assistance and elevate our daas – to increase our faith and become closer with the source.

Blessings,

Etan

Experiential Knowledge