Shrouds and Shovels



Shrouds and Shovels

Don’t cap your upside, transform your downside.

Fear and lack of self worth manifest a breeding ground for a dis-aligned relationship with success.

We need to welcome with royal treatment the experience of deep joy and gratitude when “good” things happen – and work on lessening the emotional turbulence of “bad” things as they are experienced- transforming “bad” experiences through perceiving the hidden “good” in the ‘bad”.

The Alter Rebbe revealed how seeing “good” in “bad”, through piercing the veil of the illusion of “bad”, merits the unveiling of higher perceptions of the Source in the World To Come – and we know that the World To Come is a state of mind we can achieve right now. We are, after all, in the Ein Sof (the eternal realm of no limit)- we are in God, not just God in us. Not only cap your downside, lift it higher than your upside. It’s all upside.

Spin how we look at things to best work for us – as Rebbe Nachman revealed – we need joy to best serve the Source – so why cap it? – especially since it comes from the Source as a sweet gift?

Reading stories of how some of the holiest sages shunned money – and how wealth and piety can rarely co exist – is always something that haunted me – because I had it set up that shunning abundance is on the most pious level. Now, however, I prefer to focus my mind on how through transforming themselves into dust, the holiest sages attracted all the abundance in the world. That’s a winning system.

A faulty relationship with abundance creates dis-alignment within ourselves, and is the adversary’s technique to set us up for inner conflict and failure – a repellant for light and abundance.


Most people get mad when they are late, but don’t jump up and down and throw parties if they are on time. Why cap the upside and let the downside roll? It’s punishment and self sabotage – and dangerous – and, according to the law of attraction, it just welcomes in more negativity like a magnet to metal dust.

Really? Not saying thank you for the gifts? – or worse, repelling them in the name of “piety”, and then sobbing and praying when they aren’t manifesting? Not a winning system.

Other people are relying on your miracles, and it’s not fair to them to inflict your repellant views on their portion. At least take a democratic vote from your dependents, partners and charities before you crawl into a hole and attract shrouds and shovels.

There is a well know yiddish saying that translates to “Man plans, God laughs”. True, huh?

Well, you know what’s also true with an aligned relationship to the “ups” and “downs” in life, where we tap into gratitude for the “good” in the “bad” – and ultimately reach a level of higher perception and joy which allows for the celebration of both?

“God plans, man laughs”.

And, we get to serve the Source in joy – through the ups and downs, ins and outs and “goods” and bads”. That’s a winning system.





Shrouds and Shovels

Clarity & Humility



Clarity & Humility

There is an art to helping others who are experiencing challenge.

Telling someone who is experiencing great distress that “it’s all from a higher mercy” can actually be a cruel and polarizing act, as true as it is.

Sometimes the most effective way to help others is not to tell them what we perceive as the “ultimate truth”, but to empathize with them. That’s what Chesed (kindness) is really about – and that’s what makes spiritual guides shine. Engaging another person at their level of experience is a highly effective way to assist them.

We see this play out in relationships between masculine and feminine energies. Sometimes the feminine is not looking for the “solution” that the masculine is attempting to deliver. The masculine may think that the “ultimate truth” is what their partner needs, but their partner is really looking for understanding, connection, compassion and empathy.

When we are approached with another person’s life challenges, we are in the spiritual position of the giver, the masculine – and the person with the challenge is in the spiritual position of the receiver, the feminine. If the challenge is a life threatening disease, the receiver may not be looking for the giver’s opinion of ultimate truth imposed upon their circumstance – they are likely looking for empathy and connection at that moment. The “ultimate truth” we are looking to communicate to others silently radiates through our constitution – our foundation, expressed through our mannerisms and actions. That speaks louder, and can be a lot more effective than a declaration of ultimate truth.

I’ve seen this quality in some of the greatest sages I’ve met. They have shed their own ego to the point of being able to serve as a conduit of compassion and empathy to those in need.

The impulse to bombard the recipient with solutions can come from our own lack of faith and maturity. We do not own the patent to ultimate truth, nor are we peddlers of it – as excited as we may be about sharing it.

I have learned that the highest form of giving to those experiencing challenge is through empathy and compassion – and sometimes, our rush to provide a solution is a reflection of our own limited understanding of what kindness is.

We can see this in our relationship with the Source. The Source “comes down” to our level to communicate with us – not all at once with “ultimate truth”. That would burn us, as we don’t have the vessel to receive it all at once.

I have learned that life’s challenges are just gifts in disguise – every one of them. Many times it only appears this way looking back at them. The ability to apply this wisdom in real time and to effectively transmit this consciousness to those in need is something to strive for.

What the receiver is really looking for is light. And the giver is most effective in sharing light through transforming themselves into a clear conduit of Divine light. And to be a clear conduit of Divine light we need two primary characteristics:

Clarity & Humility

We need a clear mind and a humble spirit.

Clarity involves the disassociation with all negative thoughts, actions and substances which can cloud our minds – the realization that the Source wants all of our vessel to work through, and we want all of our vessel filled with pure light from the Source.

Clarity is a prerequisite to wisdom and involves obtaining optimal energy. Anything draining or wearing can suck time and energy – the two most valuable resources to us. So anything that’s compromising our precious time and energy, like toxic thoughts, substances, or actions of any kind, are best swiftly dropped and avoided like the plague.

Humility involves the shedding of all forms of arrogance. The Baal Shem Tov often said, “Even after all of my achievements in the spiritual realm, I would give them all up just to be able to serve God with the plain, simple, straight-forward faith of a child.” Nevertheless, it is recorded that while on his death bed, the last words that left the pure and holy lips of the Baal Shem Tov were: “Let not the foot of arrogance overtake me” (Psalms 36:12).

As we prepare ourselves to be lifted out from slavery by “the strong hand and outstretched arm” of the Source Himself, the time is now to search within and remove all traces of toxicity and arrogance – all our chametz – so that we can most effectively fulfill our purpose of serving as conduits of Divine light to those around us in constriction.



Clarity & Humility

Figure 1



Figure 1

Rebbe Nachman once laughed and said, “If they would allow one dead soul to visit an assembly of philosophers, that would be the end of all their teachings.”

But for those of us who haven’t yet merited, or recognized a visit from a dead soul, here is a bite sized map of how to perceive reality.

Last night while learning Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Formation) – I ran out of those clear sticky things with the yellow tops used to mark pages that blow your mind away – and I ran out quickly – and I started off with a bunch. So I’m sharing something now while it’s fresh and beating through my 32 paths to understanding.

Familiarize yourself with the above “Figure 1”.

Ok, so Keter (crown), on top, represents the system of holiness that crowns our reality. The “Source” is not on this picture – can’t be understood or limited to a word or realm. This is merely a glimpse of the structure the Source chose to give us to allow for us to seek to understand that which He wanted for us to seek to understand about His (and our) attributes. But going into this we need to understand that, like a carrot to it’s farmer, it is not possible to “understand” the Source. Keter crowns everything, every system – from microscopic DNA to the ever expansive universe.

The crown is what we can relate to. The “King” wears the crown – the royalty – the highest – that which we seek to uplift – what we are really living for, and would die for.

Keter is the pinnacle of the system of life. Unique to every situation and stage in life exists the “crown” as the highest and most sacred purpose – that which we ascribe greatness and meaning to. What we stand for. The Keter is where we wanna be leading our friends and family to – always seeking, and reflecting upon the Keter in every experience.

The Source “radiates” His “light” and “systematic majesty” to the crown which is always a level above our comprehension and understanding. It’s the fuel for knowledge. It’s a few steps away from our ability to grasp – so we talk and write about it in allegory and poem – and those on my very limited level tend to use a lot of words to describe it. The crown on the King – the King’s glory – and we get to lift the crown up on top of our “Figure 1” individually and collectively – in every encounter in life and with every thought, action and intention – it’s our guide point – always seeking to raise the crown higher in a system with no ceiling.

And then there’s Chochma (wisdom). Wisdom alone is too bright to comprehend. Wisdom is singular and resides in the brain – and there are 32 paths to understand wisdom. Numerically, 32 corresponds to Lev, which is the Hebrew word for heart – and it’s in the heart where understanding rests.

Understanding requires limits and boundaries in order to contain pure wisdom – just like the inner space of a circle needs that ring around it to be a circle. We need limits to define and contain unbridled wisdom. Chochma is masculine unbridled energy, and Bina (understanding) is the feminine – the womb-like receiving energy which births unique understanding.

Not included in this figure is a realm called Daas (synthesized knowledge). In Daas, all sephirot exist in their perfected state of infinite sharing – it’s when you “know” something so deeply that it becomes etched in your bones and embedded deep in your soul so much that your kids look you in the eyes and feel it clearly without you saying a word. It is taught that Daas is what we “take with us” beyond this lifetime.

And that about does it for our head and brain, and what’s above that – and above the above.

Now back to the right Sephira of Chesed (kindness), which is balanced by Gevurah (strength). Unbridled “kindness” to one’s stomache can lead to terrible disease – to one’s pleasure sensors can lead to aweful addiction and destructive relationships – kindness must be tempered and grounded, and actually takes its true meaning only though partnership with strength and boundary.

And when they are in harmony, you have Tiferet (beauty) – a beautiful life – a beautiful heart – a thing of beauty. Tiferet marks the chest. This is where Bina heart energy comes to reside, joining the upper triangle to the middle. It also forms the site of the lungs – the organ that allows us to exchange energy with the world around us.

To the south we have Netzach (victory) on the right and its partner Hod (splendor) to the left – as we engage the world we need to fight for and defend a life of splendor.

And then there’s Yesod (foundation) – and like Magna Tiles on sand, building anything above this realm is frustrating, maddening, and just plain irresponsible without a strong and solid foundation.

Yesod corresponds to our reproductive organ and it’s the gate from Malchut (kingdom) – the sefirah below it – to the realms above. It is taught that illuminating the realm of Yesod is this generations greatest challenge, and opportunity for evolution. Yesod represents our foundation – our constitution – and only though transforming the desire to receive for our self alone into desire to receive for the purpose of sharing with others can we master this realm which serves as a syphon for the blessings above down to the kingdom below.

True mercy from above is not revealed through material accumulation laid upon a shaky foundation. Yesod is illuminated through the purification of what we say, see, hear, smell, think, and do. The rectification of Yesod  widens our bandwidth – transforming us from a vessel to a cable – from a recipient into a partner of Divine blessing delivered to the realm of Malchut. The highest form of joy comes through giving, because through giving we emulate the attribute of our Creator – the giver of life. We become “like God” as we fulfill our highest purpose of illuminating the world with Divine light. We become “like God” when we free ourselves from material identification and expose the no-thing-ness of our eternal soul.

And Malchut is where we are – this world in front of us when we walk through that door.



Figure 1

The Atheist’s Out



The Atheist’s Out

You don’t have to believe in “God” or the “Source” or any of this – but I think that all of us, as we move along through life start to comprehend cause and effect.

Even on the most basic level – we put our hand on a flame and get burned so we learn to not put our hand in fire to avoid pain – or if we help another person and we feel great, we become more inclined to help again – to satisfy our base or intellectual desire to experience a euphoric rush of endorphins in our cranium. tms_eeg Tight rope walkers need to do more than walk straight. They need to believe they can make it across. An eruption of doubt midstream can cost them their lives. Faith is similar. Faith activates an internal steadiness through our journey. And when it becomes shaky, we are subject to a collapse in our foundation.

The more we fortify our faith the steadier we traverse through our experiences. Once we see how faith works and we practice it for some time, the physical manifestations of it become as real as the energy we get from eating a bowl of Wheaties for breakfast. The physical cause and effect becomes established and apparent.

We leave behind our past levels of “blind faith” as we concretize our new found understanding of how faith evolves to a very real reality – very much like getting a good night sleep gives a child energy, and eating a healthy diet with exercise helps us feel better. It moves from faith into plain old understanding.

And “faith” becomes our passage to the next level up – we take the “blind” out of “blind faith” and realize the only thing blinding about faith is the closed eyes of those who lack it and the blinding illumination of those who are blessed with it. In fact, faith opens the eyes of the “blind”. Faith contributes to healing – faith contributes to joy – faith brings meaning.

Even starting off on a pure psychological level without the whole spirituality thing, and keeping things simple to accommodate the access point of those lurking amongst the masses, it’s a winning way to live with a life of faith. Do you have faith that you will receive your next fresh breath of air? Why? Because you received millions of prior breaths? Because you’re used to it, or the 9% of your brain that scientists say you can use “understands” it?

Faith is the key to unlock the deeper storyline of our lives. Faith is the bridge from here to the higher levels of understanding – and when we get to those higher levels, its faith again that’s the bridge to take us higher.

It’s the passage to higher perception – and when we exercise it we see physical results – so to those with faith, they really don’t look at it as “faith” like they did before they had faith. It evolves to more of a knowing or confidence – and the concept of faith ascends to lead us to the next level of understanding.

That’s why people blessed with faith just can’t seem to stop talking about it – and thank God for that altruistic, yet hedonistic mentality – as faith unlocks a higher level of pleasure to those who indulge in it.

I can understand why people think of faith as a strategy for people who can’t think for themselves. “The fool believes everything,” King Solomon writes, “the wise man understands.” Emunah (the faith I’m taking about), 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.

Shabbat Shalom & Chodesh Tov, New-Year-New-Moon

Blessings, Etan

The Atheist’s Out

The Cosmic Window of the 14th


The Cosmic Window of the 14th

Tomorrow night, Friday March 20th, 2015 at sundown – the Hebrew month of Nisan (Aries) arrives.

As the first of the fire signs and the first sign on both the Lunar and Solar astrological cycles, Nisan is officially the first month of the calendar year – and when it comes to fighting for their freedom, those born under the sign of Aries will do anything to be the winner – the first to hit the target and defeat the enemy.

Nisan marks our nation’s exile from Egypt – the journey from bondage to freedom – and according to the Kabbalah, this month provides us with the cosmic strength to shatter all limitations and bondage of any kind.

Aries allows us to leave behind the personal blockages that prevent us from attaining true freedom in all areas of our lives. And on the 14th day of Nisan (Friday April 3rd, 2015 at sundown), when the moon is in full force, the same energy that was revealed when the nation of Israel left Egypt is revealed once again in the comfort of your own home.

We receive a very special gift on the 14th of Nisan. At the event known as the Pesach Seder, we are given our own special afikoman (“that which comes after” or “dessert”) present from our Father in Heaven – the opportunity to redesign our entire year – to implement order instead of chaos – freedom instead of slavery.

Each one of us has the power within to utilize this cosmic window and reign victorious in our battle against negativity – a life changing opportunity to harness the cosmic forces of creation, with stars and moon aligned, and get witchy deep on releasing wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, gluttony, selfishness, shame, narrow mindedness, addiction, fear and any other self destructive vice or trait that enslaves you.

Freedom implies the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint – the absence of subjection or foreign domination – the state of being unrestricted and able to move easily – and as we set off toward freedom from slavery and order from chaos, the power of Aries is what we must activate within ourselves.

Ariens are individuals who love their freedom – they don’t want to be controlled or confined by nobody. Right Zaza?


The typical characteristics of Aries are energetic, pioneering, persevering, brave, unlimited thinking and sharing – all excellent characteristic traits to help enable one to push forward in life and make change.

However, their main motivation is to satisfy their desires. As a result, their main challenges stem from seeing themselves as the center of the universe.


According to the wisdom of the Kabbalah, Ariens tend to be impulsive, repeat the same mistakes, twist the truth to cover their immediate needs, rush to meet their goals to the detriment of others, lack sensitivity, give with the desire and expectation to be recognized and are easily hurt – basically the other side of being such successful pioneers.

Their transformation comes through thinking about what others are feeling, thinking before acting, foreseeing the future by learning from the past, being honest, compassion towards others, working on not taking everything personally and treating people with care from the heart.


The Lubavitcher Rebbe taught that in our quest for freedom, we need to maintain a perfect synergy between our body, soul and dealings with others. It is not enough to immerse ourselves in the spiritual worlds of study and prayer only to later serve as a slave to our base bodily desires – nor can we neglect our physical well-being in pursuit of spirituality. The higher purpose of physical and spiritual liberation is to allow for us to convert the substance of our surroundings into substance of great and infinite potential.

L Reb

True freedom can be attained only when the soul, body and surrounding world complete each other – the lower elements of the body and environment elevated to the highest possible affinity with the soul and it’s aspirations – and the soul liberated from everything that hinders its fulfillment.

As we sail into the new month of Nisan – with the moon at its crescent – let us keep in mind what’s gonna go down when that moon hits it’s fullness. The wise will busy themselves now with preparation – the cosmic window of the 14th is just around the bend – and, “none but ourselves can free our mind”.



The Cosmic Window of the 14th

The Foundation of the World



The Foundation of the World

We hear a lot about “The Law of Attraction” – that like attracts like – and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, we can bring about positive or negative results. The idea is based on the belief that people and their thoughts are both made from pure energy, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy.

Although there are cases where positive or negative attitudes can produce corresponding results (as with placebo and nocebo effects), there is no universally accepted scientific basis to the law of attraction – so it remains subject to skepticism and criticism. After all, if the universe manifests abundance at a mere thought, why is there so much starvation, poverty and death in the world?

Yet, we see virtually all “New Age” authors and spiritual guides, as well as many successful entrepreneurs, athletes and industry leaders practice and preach about this law that is connected to the concept of “mind over matter” – that our thoughts can effect our reality – that our energy can be experienced by and affect other people – that our thoughts are creating the vessels to draw in and receive that which we are thinking.

We can see this play out when we are in a “bad” mood and wake up thinking about bad things – and how our day can just spiral downward as we meet every new experience with a negative track playing in our brains. We see the bad in things, we expect more bad to occur, so when something comes at us that would require a bit of effort to yield into a positive, we just openly accept our first negative reaction to it. We are already prepared to draw in more negativity.

But if we wake up in a bad mood, and exert energy to get ourselves into a better head space, we broadcast to the world that we are not going to just accept the negativity that may be thrown at us – we challenge our challenges and seek to spin them in a positive way – we have an underlying belief that all is somehow for the good even though we don’t understand how it is good – but this keeps us from spiraling out of control. We meet another challenge and we don’t just automatically accept it as bad, we look to spin it further, see it from another perspective – it doesn’t merge into our internal negative thinking because we broke that pattern this morning by changing our thought patterns. We are sending out frequencies of strength, healing, confidence, faith, positive energy – and the world around us responds in kind. We show up with a broader base of ourselves – and to those who are energetically sensitive (like many of the New Age leaders, sages, successful entrepreneurs and athletes) this is more impactful than what meets the eye. That’s the law of attraction.

We are really all subject to the law of attraction. Just look at the earth’s gravitational pull. Everything we see originates from the earth, and we all move and rest on the earth. The only way to detach and move away from the earth is through a countering force.

The extent to which something moves away from the earth is in proportion to the strength of the countervailing force – and when the countervailing force is depleted, the object returns and falls to the earth. This is because the earth has a gravitational pull – and if it didn’t, nothing could exist on it – everything would just fall off because the earth is round. And there’s a lot more than just physics to learn from this.

Like all laws of physicality, there is understanding the law itself and how this law effects other things in the physical world – and then there is comprehending how this physical law represents deeper energetic and spiritual laws. Why did the Creator set this law into effect? Just to learn about it on the surface and how it applies to the Creator’s other creations? OK, that’s interesting, but are we OK with just being observers and explorers, or do we seek more meaningful connection with and deeper understanding of what our Creator is communicating to us through His laws of creation?

And once you cross over the line of physicality and go beyond the boundaries of time and space to learn about and draw from the essence of that which affects time and space, it naturally becomes an easy target for skepticism and criticism. You cannot measure something that cannot be measured or precisely describe the indescribable.

It is my humble opinion that within our physical bodies, we have an eternal soul which gravitates to the Source – and through exploring the deeper significance of the laws of nature to reveal energetic and spiritual laws, we reveal a system which leads our souls, and all that we seek to uplift, back to the Source – like a stone returning to the dust after being cast high into the sky.

Rebbe Nachman teaches in L”M #70 that the Tzadik (the righteous spiritual master) is the aspect of earthly dust – he is the world’s foundation – all things stand on him – and, like earth, he has an attracting force through which he draws everything to himself.

He also states that similar to the singular earth we live on, “there is only one such tzadik in the world – the world’s foundation from which all things are drawn, even other tzaddikim (righteous sages)”.

And the characteristics that Rebbe Nachman uses to describe this single tzadik: “Humble” and “modest”. He makes himself like dust – this is why he is the foundation of the world.

Rebbe Nachman also shares a powerful understanding of a phrase that is included in the Amidah (the silent standing prayer we say 3x/day). Toward the end of the Amidah, we recite “and may my soul be like dust to all” – like dust, it should have an attracting force for drawing everything to it. Through humility and modesty, we draw an influx of bounty to ourselves.

Just like with the earth, there are countervailing forces which detach and distance people from the tzadik – and their distance is in proportion to the strength of the countervailing force. But when this countervailing force is depleted, they return and draw close to the tzadik’s attracting force.

The natural question to ask is, “who is this sole tzadik”?


I learned from my guide that if a person is traveling in the dessert and they get lost and lose track of time and do not know what day the Sabbath is, they have to treat every day like it is the Sabbath. So they are subject to the laws of Sabbath every day they are lost and can only do the work they need in order to save their lives, as it is not considered as though one violates the laws of Sabbath if the action is performed in order to save a life.

But he still has to pick one day of the week to say Kiddush (the sanctification of the Sabbath on Friday night when Sabbath begins) and Havdalah (the ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Sabbath) – the celebratory rituals of drawing in and letting go of the Sabbath.

I think the message he was conveying to me was that for those who are seeking the true tzadik, and cannot determine who the true tzadik, “the foundation of the world” is, they should draw from and treat all tzaddikim as potential candidates – but pick one that they develop a deep connection to, and believe might in fact be that true tzadik to celebrate.



The Foundation of the World

The good life



The good life

It makes no sense to put stuff out that doesn’t come from the heart. I think that the sages were putting their hearts in everything they taught. They covered the spectrum of life experience in their lessons. Chassidus (the Torah of the Baal Shem Tov and his “Wellsprings”) hits the core of the Neshama (Soul).

Artists, musicians, modern orthodox depth seekers, reform rockstars and souls searching for light from rehabs connect with it – as do the pure innocent rosey cheeked children of the lions of faith in Jerusalem. The holy chassidim living in the fence of roses – swaying arm in arm in trance like rhythm with their Rebbeh late Friday nights – bidding proper farewells to the Shabbos Queen late Saturday nights – with candles and drum beats – eyes rolled back and wide smiles.

This is the good life.

Chassidus is a treat – a source of great pleasure and meaning to life – cool waters to quench the souls which break through boundaries and scream to lead.

The teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, and the vibes of those who gravitate to his illuminating works, are the gifts that are transforming this generation. I’m calling it here, live, on Saturday night March 14, 2015.

I’m not one to talk or write about politics – but I’m a believer in what’s going to happen between next second and the next 225 years. That’s like our great great great great grandchildren or maybe sooner. They will have family pics of us on their smart phones when this all goes down. I believe what the prophets prophesized and I see deep significance in the creation of the world in 6 days and Shabbat (Sabbath – the first in thought and last in deed) on the 7th day. Almost enough to carry around a fresh pair of yom tov clothes in my briefcase 😉


We are talking about the ultimate veil being lifted. Lights on. No more fuzzy random images when you shut your eyes tight. Clouds lifted and gates to the subconscious raised high. Are you You, or are you just you?

My view – on not thinking about this – is self sabotage in the long run. Like waiting till your death bed to say “I love you”.

And if your on the fence or think this is crazy, I respect that – as long as you are searching for consciousness and meaning in life. Not everyone has this kind of faith. It comes in so many flavors.

To the mainstream, this kind of faith is considered highly radical. A very very small percentage of us live this way – with it all being this personally crafted – believing that every single thing is from the Source. But, some people tell me they are inspired by hearing me describe how I’m feeling – and that gives me strength to go deeper, because it makes me feel good to give inspiration. And when I do, I get lit up with clear signs of Divine satisfaction – and it happens every time – so I’m gonna continue.

Also, shout out to the Christian followers who have been jumping on board the blog at a consistent pace. God bless you all, and I am honored by your interest in these words – these messages about my faith and love of the Torah, and our nation’s obligation to become pure conduits of Divine illumination in the world. If we do our jobs this can be an incredible existence together, where all nations can serve the Creator in peace. This is what the original plan was in the Garden of Eden.



The good life