The Path of Jacob

esau jacob

11/24/2015

The Path of Jacob

I see how this works – that it’s You behind everything.

It’s not just using You to accomplish something physical – it’s using the physical to connect to You.

Help me to not fall into the mentality of selling myself short through chasing small desires.

Help me to raise my faith and clarity higher to serve You with a pure and complete heart.

Help me find my highest joy in serving You with all my heart, all my soul all my might.

Let me find total joy in this. Absolute elation.

This is a winning equation.

This is reality.

This feels right and excites me.

This excites my body and soul and mind and heart and every part of me together in harmony.

This makes my soul dance with my body.

“Esau raised his eyes and saw all that Jacob had with him. He asked Jacob, what did you intend by that whole camp that I met? And Jacob answered, to gain favor in your eyes.”

Esau responded, “I have RAV” – I have plenty, I have abundance – a language implying arrogance and conceit.

And Jacob said, “I have KOL”, I have everything – I have all I need. A language of gratitude and humility.

Both had alot – but each had totally different perspectives on what they had and their relationship to the Source of what they had.

Let the wisdom of this epic encounter really sink into my heart.

We need to first learn what’s best for us, learn what true joy is, learn what our purpose is – and only then can we merit the joy of truly walking the high path because we understand what the high path is. We understand how to relate to the blessings in front of us.

This level takes training and tests of the heart in order to earn. It’s really a never ending process with higher and higher understandings but what else are we using our time here for? To decide on what we think we want and either achieve it or not and allow our happiness to rest on the outcome?

There is a higher path to walk. The path of Jacob.

Yes, there is the concept of serving Hashem for physical purposes and this is a good first step. It is higher than disconnection. It creates some sparks. It’s the next step for many of us from where we are at today. The next step toward the higher path. But there’s also the concept of serving Hashem with no ulterior motive. Simply because we realize that serving Hashem, aligning our heart and soul, actions and intellect, desires and wisdom, is the highest joy of all.

We reach a place of KOL – I have everything that I need right now.

The truth is that Hashem is spoon feeding us every split second. Every breath of air, every sip of water, every blink of an eye, movement of a limb. Our desires are influenced by where we are holding in our life. The sick desire health, the deaf desire hearing, the blind desire sight, the poor man desires money, the thirsty desire water, and the man of excess abundance desires another home, another vacation, another ring of security around his RAV.

This does not end.

When Jacob approached his brother Esau and offered him gifts, Esau said he had RAV, I have abundance – I have more than I need. Jacob said he had KOL, I have all that I need.

More than I need means I don’t need You anymore, I’m good, thanks.

All that I need means thank you for taking care of me yesterday, thank you for taking care of me now and I trust that You and only You will take care of me tomorrow.

It’s a live relationship.

It’s the way of the sages to walk like this.

Not full because of excess abundance, full because of happiness with their lot at this moment. The only lack is lack of faith that everything is coming from You and everything is exactly how You want it to be for my best interest at this moment.

When you make yourself small you shake off the chains of entitlement. You don’t need so much to feel full. You shake off the need for things to be a certain way – for your happiness to be dependent on an outcome.

When you realize that you are but dust and ashes, everything that comes to you is a gift that you are grateful for.

Being grateful is a very welcoming vibration to emit to the Giver who created the world to give of the highest levels of joy.

I have all I need right now. All I need is You.

Blessings,

Etan

The Path of Jacob

My setup here is fishy

Lion-Fish1

 

11/23/2015

My setup here is fishy

Dear Hashem,

I just had a very troubling discussion with my Rav.

Troubling in that it made me feel that I am trying to force Your hand in my life – and that I may be setting myself up for a downturn by taking on acts of devotion tied to the manifestation of certain things in my life.

He said my set up here is fishy.

That it’s not in accordance with all the Torah he has learned and the sages whose ways he has witnessed.

Fishy.

Now, he did start off the conversation with a bunch of reinforcing complements about my recent growth and how proud he was of me, etc.. But I’m troubled because my Rav said I’m doing something flawed. And my gut response was to be defensive and push him away and to be upset with him and think he is wrong and doesn’t really understand what I’m doing here.

The truth is I know he wants the best for me at least as much as I want it for myself.

But isn’t it OK to focus so intently on something that we are striving for in order to manifest a goal? To search out and edit aspects of our lifestyle which may be blocking an outcome in the name of clearing a path to ignite a desired result. Isn’t that a successful equation?

How do we align spiritually for something we so hope to accomplish in our life?

What about the Kabbalistic principal of building the requisite desire to achieve an objective and through restriction and exertion drawing in the desired light?

I started this daily hitbodidut commitment because I wanted something. So the question is, would I be this focused and consistent and connected even if I knew I wasn’t going to get what I was asking for?

It’s like a misbehaving child when we take away her toy will produce the most sincere sounding apologies, saying anything to get that toy back – but if she knew that she wasn’t getting that toy back she would still be complaining in her room. So her words are not really sincere because they are tied to an outcome which may or may not occur.

So what am I broadcasting to You here? Under these circumstances, Is it really in my best interest to give me what I am praying for? Or will that just cool me off and pull me back further from the yearning and connection I’m experiencing now?

I’m realizing that I need to not be attached to the outcome.

That the highest level, which I am striving for, is to not do things for the reward or even for the world to come but to simply do things because all I want is to connect to You. And just when I reach this level then giving me what I am praying for no longer will harm me.

I have to first let go, do my work and let You do Your work, and if it is Your will, then it will come. And if it is not Your will, so be it.

My lesson?

Serve Hashem for the sake of serving Him because that’s my purpose here. That’s the path to real joy. Serve Hashem without any agenda or fishy deals.

Sure, pray for things, but don’t commingle material demands and expectations with service – it takes the sincerity away. It takes the higher levels of why I’m doing what I’m doing away.

Growth that’s dependent on something is not real growth – only growth that’s in the name of heaven is real growth. Because if what you are depending on doesn’t materialize than what happens to your growth?

Fishy because you put your fate in the hands of a desired outcome – something other than Hashem’s will alone. You can’t force Hashem’s hand. Blessing will come when you are aligned, period. It will come in the form that Hashem chooses. Expectations and entitlements only detract from humility and gratitude.

I can still want and pray for what I want and pray for. But the approach should be checked – it should be kosher – listening to the wisdoms of our guides can seem painful at first. The pain comes from their truth. And the truth burns like fire. Best to singe ourselves now to avoid the fishy fires to come.

Blessings,

 

Etan

My setup here is fishy

Adventures In Hitbodidut | Clarity & Connection

Bal 21

 

11/19/2015

Adventures In Hitbodidut | Clarity & Connection

During a hitbodidut session on October 15th I was asking the Creator for something that’s important to me.

I asked what I could do to help make it happen.

An immediate response came through me which said to stop consuming alcohol and substances, attend minyan (prayer group) every day for shacharit and mincha and spend an hour a day in hitbodidut.

I was like, can I just have alchohol on Shabbat? And the response I felt was “no”.

I was like, what about just some wine on Shabbat for Kiddush, since it’s a spiritual requirement?, and the response I received was “no”.

So since this thing I want is so important to me, and since the clarity I received while reaching out to the Source was so clear, I made the commitment. And since then, I’ve kept it 100% and intend to.

The deal I made was that until this thing either happens, or clearly doesn’t happen, the deal is on. So I’m restricting from the intake of intoxicants and I’m exerting in effort to attend minyan and practice daily hitbodidut.

The feeling I got was that for me, for this to happen, I needed to be totally clear and connected. And now I feel like I am doing everything I can, physically and spiritually, to make it happen.

This comes on the heels of a new type of prayer that I’ve been connecting with over the past few months. I know that I’m here for my will to be tested – given the opportunity to exercise my free will to test my heart. And I know that at the end it’s the will of the heart that the Creator wants from me. So I’ve been praying and asking that I be given the strength to accomplish my rectification during a time of abundance and not lack, a time of health and not sickness, a time of blessing and bounty – for me to be a worthy recipient of blessing and to be able to grow fully into my potential without the need for difficulty and turmoil in my life.

This requires great pro-activity. It’s common to awaken from slumber when an emergency strikes. It’s common to get on our knees at a time of tragedy and great challenge. But when things are smooth sailing and dreams are becoming reality, it’s mad tough to remember the Source and keep it real. We are too busy relaxing and enjoying the new and improved creature comforts to rouse our self from sleep and grasp at the next rung of our spiritual potential.

I believe that I was created to receive the highest good from the Source, and that highest good is connecting my soul – which is a part of the Source – to the Source. I recognize that my ego and identity has developed its own separate version of what it considers good. And surrounding this image of what is good, are protective barriers which are not always so positive.

For example, I noticed that it was important for me to be viewed as good and successful in the eyes of others. So, at times when those around me would succeed, I would feel diminished in comparison. This handicap did not allow for me to fully celebrate others successes, and at times led me to even feel relief from others failures. Like, I could be their savior when they are down, or my reality somehow seemed more positive compared to their suffering and challenge. I recognize this as an illness caused by my own twisted view of my self from the perspective of my limited identity. Believing this leads to a form of baseless hatred, since I am separating myself from my brothers and sisters, secretly unable to share their joy.

Baseless hatred is the reason why the first and second temples were destroyed because God cannot rest the unity of His Presence among this form of hatred and separation – I’ve prayed for hours and hours on this matter. To not only realize, but to internalize and transform my own self worth and how it is effected by my identity’s version of my self.

I am commanded to love my brother like I love myself. Really, there is no difference. The only seeming difference comes from my ego which sees my self and my soul’s will as separate – and this is a form of enslavement to the physical. True joy comes from ascending beyond the constraints of my ego and transcending my physical identity into alignment with my eternal soul. This is how to build a worthy vessel for Divine abundance.

Since October 15th I’ve been hitting the mikvah every morning, praying in a minyan, refining my character traits during hitbodidut and judging my actions and intentions all throughout the day – realizing that everything is a test. Everything is from Hashem. My job is clear – to align with Hashem’s will through aligning my attributes with His revealed attributes. And only when I am on this path and involved in this process am I really happy.

The daily hitbodidut allows for me to scan my last 24 hours. To remember how I lost my patience with my son, how I talked about business on Shabbat, and on and on. And, how I felt about each of those actions. How they produced a sense of separation between my soul and my body. An energetic feeling of dis-alignment I get to revisit. I repent on each of those actions and I vow to try my best to not repeat them. And I forgive myself and I earn true deep joy through the process of rectification of my actions. My disconnection brings me to become even more connected. This is the power to teshuva – and without mindful contemplation, it’s very tough to accomplish on the fly.

I feel clear now. I have more energy. I feel more productive – and the things I was and am praying for which started all this are seeming closer and closer. I feel like I’m doing my part. I’m grateful for what I have and for what’s in front of me.

I know that my life will be full of twists and turns ahead but I know that if I stay clear and connected, I’ll be able to get through it all successfully.

Man, I miss Balvenie 21 Portwood and Oban and Glenmorangie 18. I can put down more than most. I miss that Friday night pre shul lullaby high and that Saturday morning buzz l’kavode Shabbos kodesh. But, something inside so clearly is telling me that I need all the energy I can access now – I need clarity, restriction, focus and exertion to take my game to the next level and to create a vessel worthy of receiving all that I’m asking for.

Blessings,

Etan

Adventures In Hitbodidut | Clarity & Connection