Adventures in Hitbodidut
I’ve learned that it’s important to stop and think before I enter my home. To take time to disconnect from the energy and mental patterns of the day and to reconnect to the blessings. The time spent on my stairs before I open the door is like a mikvah experience to prepare myself to take in the gifts of my wife and children – to realize that I only have a limited number of years with them. I think about how I want to shape this time with my kids, before they are out on their own. I reflect for a moment on all that my wife went through physically, emotionally and energetically that day. These are relationship molding opportunity years and my actions affect their lives and the course of their future so that’s what I try to take in in 5 seconds of meditation outside my front door.
My holy friend of 25 years, a man who’s committed his life to Chesed – who provides pro sports tickets to ill children and their families, securing for himself box seats in the world to come, has a meditative practice he’s been doing for the past 14 years of his marriage – when he walks back from synagogue on Friday night he stops in his driveway, closes his eyes, and says a shehechianu blessing (a prayer said in gratitude for new and unusual experiences) outside of his home before entering.
It is unwise and unnecessary to come running into your home like a raging bull, coded with reactive behaviors from what you’ve experienced that day.
But the raging bull does not have to be shut down – it has to be channeled to raging into a connection with a child, pushing through the surface barriers of an itouch and age appropriate edginess taken out in the comfort of home. To putting the phone down and raging into connection to the details of their day – to basketball competitions in their room. Raging to unload a dishwasher and take the trash out is not harmful to the home environment.
We control who shows up at our home and who is unleashed upon our families, who creates the imprints in our children’s memories, affecting their relationship to themselves and to others.
We also end up housing the negative energy we unleash – and it brings us down through guilt and disconnection. But when we feel that we gave of ourselves, that we made it through whatever was thrown at us, made it a better day for others, that’s cause for satisfaction.
And this is what just a few moments of daily hitbodidut (active personal meditative reflection and communication with the Source) provides us with – the opportunity to elevate our awareness of what we are bringing to life. The opportunity to reflect and consider our actions over the day. To decide to make positive change. To ask the Source for support. We don’t have to run on autopilot – there’s a technical art to life if we want better odds at joy.
The art of constructing a system of accountability where we take stock of and measure our success.
Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
That part of you that’s keeping you on auto pilot is none other than the adversary himself. Spiritual evolution is what we are seeking. And as Rebbe Nachman said toward the end of Torah #308 in Sichos HaRan, to a man with a hardened heart who turned a stubborn shoulder, “ridicule these words and you only ridicule yourself. We speak the truth and it is yours to accept. But if you wish to turn your back on it and remain immersed in the deep quicksand of this world, there is no one to prevent you.”
May I merit to follow these words.