The Next Test

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3/7/2016

The Next Test

“Behold, I set before you a blessing and a curse.”

-The Source

“Torah, for those who merit it, becomes an elixir of life. Torah, for those who lack such merit, becomes a potion of poison and death.”

-The Talmud

Torah is instruction designed to teach us the truth about the Creator. Torah means direction, teaching, instruction or doctrine.

The words of Torah are a blessing, or a poisonous curse.

If your deeds are pure, the words of the Torah become the elixir to life and joy – but if your deeds are spoiled and bent then those same words of Torah can become a lethal poison. How?

The words of Torah are truth. Cosmic law. Divine law. Reality.

Joy comes through alignment with truth. Pain comes from dis-alignment. When your actions are aligned with Torah, its words of wisdom reinforce the spirit of joy within. Its words become a blessing.

But when you fall to base desires, and by choice separate and become dis-aligned, it doesn’t change the truth – the words of the Torah. Those words just become painful to face, because you are in a low place as a result of your own choices.

The key to a joyous life is to align with the truth. To align your actions to the truth. Then you can feel the joy in the words of Torah and bask in the blessings surrounding you – through your choices to rise above the pullings of your adversarial force.

You rise higher through restricting from the alluring call of base desires – impulses pulling you to dishonesty, lust, anger, ego, revenge, addiction, jealousy and fear. These are the internal and external gods which we are warned to not worship in Exodus, “You shall have no other gods before Me”.

King David said it himself, “There shall be no strange god in you, neither shall you worship any strange god.”

That flare of anger, that high, is a strange internal god. That persons property is a strange external god.

When you overcome a test, you experience a burst of exertion followed by a flow of sustained joy. When you succumb to a lower pull, you experience a flash of adversarial release followed by sustained pain. You further envelop yourself in the husk of illusion and physicality.

And the tests keep presenting themselves, one after the other, day after day. Fortunately for us, the Source is all merciful – “slow to anger and quick to forgive”. But this just leads us to the next opportunity where the choice is ours once again.

All these tests are here for a reason. Through them, our heart’s desire is measured. Our will is established. And according to the sages, at the end, it’s the will, the ratzon, which we are responsible for, not how high we climbed or how far we traveled.

We need to show up to the fountain of blessing with a strong vessel.

Poor choices can crack the vessel we need to hold the blessings coming to us. Wise choices strengthen the vessel. Teshuva patches up a crack, reinforcing the vessel even stronger than it was before the fracture.

As transformers, it is our job to elevate the spiritual sparks within all matter – to rebuild the vessel of humanity which was shattered at the Big Bang, at the destruction of the Temples and through our our own destructive choices today. We accomplish this by connecting and adhering to the spiritual laws of the Torah through our thoughts, actions and intentions.

We are building a spiritual structure here, like the 3rd Temple which the sages say is already built above us, that we will once again experience. We are crafting the foundation of our eternal reality through our physical actions. This is why we are here. This is what we are building.

It’s that big. That important. Every test.

Contemplate this when your next test shows up today.

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Blessings,

Etan

The Next Test

The gift to the friend who needs you now

gift

2/26/2016

The gift to the friend who needs you now

Honoring the ever present link between physical life experience and spiritual root cause, the seeker weaves life’s signs together into a rope of Divine communication.

Shattering duality between effect and cause, the seeker strives to associate physicality with spiritual root cause. Seeing through a spiritual lens, each moment is magnified into something above time and space.

The seeker feels that confident in his powers.

His powers cannot be denied once discovered. It becomes his obligation and calling to help lead others into the realms he discovers. It becomes his purpose and his own path to self expression and joy.

Life experienced through five senses of physicality alone, is a 3D movie without the glasses.

More alarmingly, the dualist challenges the spiritual root cause to gain his attention through the amplification of physical effect.

The Creator is All Merciful. He will not leave us stranded in the desert of duality, wasting life away in madness for too long. He sends His callings through the 5 senses we perceive with. Through nature He awakens the slumberers and leads us back to His captive unity. Down to our knees we cry and return out of love.

The volume is proportionate with the level of awakening required to shift the seeker back toward the spiritual root cause – the point where authentic evolution occurs.

And when he sees unity again, he sees the big picture in the smallest particles – his pains and anxieties melt away. Victomhood falls. Walls of Fear crumble. Entitlement dissolves. Temptation reveals its dark colors. Mental loops flatten. Yesterday and tomorrow, time and space merge into one. Every molecule is programmed to play a role in the endless unity of the One.

It is soothing to walk with the understanding that all comes from Hashem and all is for the good, as hidden as it may seem at times.

What advice would you give to the hamster on the wheel with a door at the side of its cage, yet so focused on the sugar water it consumes briefly while at the top of the wheel hanging from a ledge?

It’s freedom is trapped in the physical moment of satiation from occasional swigs of liquid.

It’s joy limited to the momentary satisfaction it receives from the potion, and the heavy sleep it falls to from a long days work on the wheel . Stuck in the cycle of work sleep work sleep like a slave in Egypt.

Kindness is not adding sugar to the water or another step to the wheel. Kindness is leading him through the door to freedom. And freedom comes from understanding wisdom and integrating it, not scratching itches.

In order to be a good friend you have to constantly strengthen yourself in applying your understanding of the wisdom so that you internalize what to give of to your friend.

You strengthen yourself by desiring to align your true self, your eternal soul, with the front end circuit board of your personality. Interior and exterior alignment through transforming exterior components of personality, ego, the emotional system, into reflectors of the soul like the moon does the sun.

A friend needs strength and faith. Light from darkness. The greatest joy comes from lifting up others who are down. Right Dube? And if we look around us we will see the ones who are calling.

The highest kindness is to help liberate a friend’s mind. To emancipate him from inner slavery. To bring him to the joys of life.

Shabbat Shalom.

Blessings,

Etan

The gift to the friend who needs you now

Clarity & Humility

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3/25/2015

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.

Blessings,

Etan

Clarity & Humility

Loving You is a roller coaster

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3/13/2015

Loving You is a roller coaster

Dear Source of my reality,

I don’t even know Your Name – but I feel You deeper than anything I know.

You are my reality – my make up, and all that ever was, is or will be. You tell us You love us and we should love You, but loving You is a roller coaster.

Why couldn’t You have made it just a little bit easier? I mean, I know the answers – about how giving us the opportunity to have free will requires us to be pulled 50/50 in equal and opposite directions. About how growth is only possible in an environment where we have resistance and opportunity to evolve. I’ve learned all about Your higher mercy and I’ve learned the secrets of why and how You created the world I’m in – but loving You is a roller coaster.

I even know why I need to go through ups and downs and ins and outs and everything in between, but sometimes when I do, my emotions and anxieties can take over. At times when I tax myself hard and push physically to follow the path You set before me, I come up against moments of excitement, fear, optimism and let down – You drag me through the whole spectrum of emotional experience.

Sometimes You spoon feed me, and sometimes You dump bounty on my head – it sometimes feels like it makes sense, and other times I’m in the dark. I have feelings of clarity and inspiration, and feelings of anxiety and frustration – loving You is a roller coaster.

You give me gifts of exhilaration through Your kindness and then temper it with Your judgement – and I can’t keep up with You – it seems You’re always one step ahead. I know I’m planting seeds, and I know I’m experiencing fruits from past grows – but loving You is a roller coaster.

The thing with me, my Benefactor, my Maker, is that I just wanna do Your will, but have so much of my will that I’m still so attached to. You take me high and low, and all I want is to be with You in joy. I know it can be done because I’ve seen it – and I am asking for another major free gift from You.

Please take these words as an expression of my complete teshuva (retuning to You). I give my life to You publicly, even though I’m nowhere near ready to be tested at this level. At least I know the truth, and I share the truth, and I ask that You have special mercy on me and line my path with an extra dose of kindness – the basic kind of kindness that I can see. Help me purify myself completely so that I can transform into a pure channel of You in this world, and bring me to the heights of joy in the process.

I know about all the sages and the major tests and struggles they endured, and still do, on behalf of Your nation – I’m not at their level – I watch and learn from them in complete awe.

Well, my Master, my Friend, my Love, my Creator, I give my life to You. I’ve figured out the only way I’m happy is when I’m bound to You and fulfilling Your Divine utterances and commandments.

I fear You so much, and I love You more.

And I know that behind everything that happens to me, there You are communicating to me.

Please help me see it more clearly so I can serve You better, and please do so in a way which brings me massive success in all I endeavor upon –  massive health for all who I pray for – massive abundance for all who I work with – and complete unity for Your nation and all of humanity.

bjgqomqm

Your humble servant,

Etan

Loving You is a roller coaster

Riding the waves of pain

Hawaiian surfing culture

2/7/2015

Riding the waves of pain

Ok, so as you can tell from the title –  no recovery stories to share yet. But I did realize this morning that, thank the Source of life, I’m alive, and so is my family. But, the gratitude, while authentic, soon fizzled out – submitting to the distraction of piercing electric shocks radiating down my left leg.

I’m realizing how challenging it is to separate my physical experience and spiritual path – to maintain focus on my soul’s mission to the degree that stabbing nerve pain drifts out of focus. I mean, it does make sense to me, and I believe that it’s the truth – but man it’s been hard to integrate.

You’d think that now with all this going on I’d have so much more to meditate on, to communicate with the Source with – truth is I’ve been slacking on hitbodidut (active personal meditative reflection and communication with the Source) even before this happened. I now seem to gravitate more toward long meditative periods of focus on my pain – which really doesn’t seem too wise – seems like something that an adversarial force would lure me into. It’s like obsessively tracking a future storm or watching the same loop of news over and over.

Something just occurred to me.

As we’ve learned, we were created with the ability to – through our actions – stimulate the flow of Divine benevolence. One who wants Divine compassion in their life will express compassion to another. One who wants relief from pain in their life will try to help alleviate another’s pain. One who wants deeper connection to the Source – especially during painful experiences – will work on that connection rigorously.

So what does all this mean to me, now?

I need to look for opportunities to be compassionate towards others, attempt to help alleviate other people’s pain and anxieties, and commit to longer periods of daily hitbodidut – to get reconnected with the Source.

The compassion toward others should help clear the blockages and expand my bandwidth to usher in Divine benevolence – and the hitbodidut should stimulate the flow of higher perception, dropping clues to uncover the purpose of my pain – and hopefully, retire it.

Look, this is all a live and learn process. What I have certainty in, is that nothing happens to us for no reason.  The key is to apply our wisdom in real time – to maintain faith no matter what – so that when we eventually re-emerge, we can come up stronger – better equipped for the next test. And, thank the Source for tests – these custom catered opportunities to grow and achieve greater heights. Life would be pointless without them.

Well, thanks for letting me vent. I now have a plan. Off to an hour of hitbodidut.  I’ll keep you posted.

Shavua tov (have a great week),

Etan

Riding the waves of pain

Conflict resolution through mercy

Tzimtzum
1/21/2015

Conflict resolution through mercy

The Source created a space for us to have free will. This is called the tzimtzum – a “contraction” of the Creator’s infinite light in order to allow for a “conceptual space” in which finite and seemingly independent realms could exist.

In the image above, the tzimtzum is the line coming down from the top and represents the limitless pleasure and Divine goodness that we were created to experience – an experience bestowed to creation from a place of unconditional love and pure giving – as there is no need to receive in our Divine Source.

The tzimtzum is the root of all spiritual principals discussed in the kabbalah. The kabalistic principal of tzimtzum explains that it is only in the consciousness of pure giving that we can be receptive to the experience of the Creator’s goodness. A basic idea of the tzimtzum is that the limitless pleasure and Divine experience that we were created to experience, is only revealed to the extent that we become similar to our Source and manifest the desire to give.

Mimicking the Source, we need to give others the space to be who they are – accepting them for who they are – offering the space for them to express their free will.

We often times try to manipulate, change and impose our will on others. This can create conflict between our wills. This conflict leads to questions we create and face – “do I reprimand my child for this behavior?” – “do we part ways because of this problem?” – “do we go to war over this issue?”

There is a place for others in the world. We are all connected as a part of One. Similar to our individual body, with all of our bones, organs and cells – this universe is one body made up of all of us.

Imposing our will on others, or demanding honor from a child can create a separation of wills.

We are taught that anyone who runs after honor, honor runs away from him.

Interaction with others is a dance– where our buttons are pushed and we push their buttons.

In any type of conflict, especially with a child, it is helpful to learn to become a master of the diffuse button – to try to validate the others feelings of being upset rather than digging our heels in and enforcing our will upon them.

This transforms the defending of our identity – our need to receive from them the response we seek, into becoming a tool for their transformation. This brings duality back to unity.

Otherwise, through conflict, we are only emboldening our child’s external self – hardening their ego to protect their perceived identity in the world.

To the extent to which we are caring only about ourselves, there is disconnection from the goodness. To the extent to which we are trying to truly care for others, there is connection to goodness.

By aligning our actions with the attributes of the Source, we can overcome our impulse to react when our identity seems threatened by another. We can bring unity into an episode of conflicting wills. Here are the 13 Divine Attributes with which the Source governs the world:

1. Compassion before a person errs
2. Compassion after a person errs
3. Compassion to give all creatures according to their need
4. Merciful, that all others may not be distressed
5. Gracious, if others are already in distress
6. Slow to anger
7. Plenteous in kindness
8. Plenteous in truth
9. Keeping kindness unto the multitudes
10. Forgiving iniquity
11. Forgiving transgression
12. Forgiving errors
13. Pardoning

Through living these attributes, we partake of the abundant wellsprings of Divine mercy prepared for us and effect the flow of Divine favor and grace through ourselves to others.This is the elixir to conflict and duality of wills.

Blessings,

Etan

Conflict resolution through mercy

A prayer for a friend in need

Western-Wall-Karen-Wilmer
1/19/2015

A prayer for a friend in need

I was asked by a close friend to help compose a prayer for a newly established prayer group. This group will be meeting weekly for the purpose of offering a collective prayer in the merit of one of their friends who is undergoing surgery for a serious disease.

Here it is:

Holy Power in heaven thank you for my life, thank You for the miracles You shine on me every day. Thank You for leading us together as a group to connect with each other and offer the fruits of our connection to You. Master of the universe, Source of life and love and blessing. Your ways are beyond our understanding and only through faith can we bridge the gap and see beyond our self imposed boundaries and limitations. I offer all I am, my ego, self perception, wants and needs to You, my Source, my Sustainer. May Your light shine upon us as we bend our will to Your will so that Your will becomes our will. Illuminate me with faith, blessing, peace and abundant health. Fill me with more and more faith that You are here with me every step, through every challenge – strengthen me with this knowing and have mercy upon your child. Wink at me through nature to encourage me. In love and gratitude, Your humble servant. Amen.

Blessings,

Etan

A prayer for a friend in need