The gift to the friend who needs you now

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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

The Path of Jacob

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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

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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

Charity

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1/15/2015

Charity

For his wage he endangers his soul” – (Deuteronomy 24:15)

Giving charity creates a partnership between the giver and that which he supports.

We each have unique talents. Our job is to actualize our potential, elevating it to the highest purpose.

Successful partnerships are made up of individuals who each contribute their talents – what the other partners may lack. Together, they make the partnership stronger than the sum of its parts.

Some are able to contribute money, others contribute wisdom. When the partnership is aligned with a higher purpose, all forms of contribution are holy.

In L’M II: #46 Rebbe Nachman teaches that giving money to charity is a form of self sacrifice. He compares money to the soul – meaning that a person surrenders his soul by toiling to earn money – and when he then takes that money and gives it away, he is thus sacrificing his soul.

Earning a living requires the sacrifice of time, energy and sometimes even danger. A person thus “sacrifices” his soul to make money. So when a person gives away that money to charity, he is giving away a part of his soul.

In L’M #29, Rebbe Nachman states that “With every step a person takes and every word he speaks as he goes about his business, he should bear in mind that his goal is to make a profit in order to give charity. This is the comprehensive remedy for wealth. Giving charity expands and elevates the mind, which brings blessing and livelihood.”

And, in L’M #204 Rebbe Nachman teaches that “When you give charity to Torah scholars, the money becomes actual Torah. No negative action can extinguish the merit of giving money to Torah scholars. For no negative action can extinguish the Torah, and the money given to Torah scholars is actual Torah.”

Starting to give charity can be very challenging. It is human nature to focus on one’s own needs and to worry about one’s own future – to lock ourselves in a comfortable room, sit down on a lush couch with dim lights and eat hot food while watching entertainment – to fortify a bank account with enough to eliminate all needs and concerns for one’s great grandchildren. Our main task is to break this innate cruelty and turn it into kindness in order to give generously. This is the main idea of charity.

Charity has the power to generate blessings for new beginnings – to open and widen the entrance to a new endeavor. When a person wants to enter a pathway of devotion and service of the Source, it is necessary to make an opening in order to enter that pathway. All beginnings are difficult because it is first necessary to break through and open the entrance, which is very difficult. However, charity has the unique power of being able to open and widen the entrance further.

We are meant to be conduits of blessing into this world. To transmit the flow of abundance through us to others. Without a hole on the bottom of our cup, there can be no flow. Giving charity removes the blockage of selfishness, drilling a hole in our cup – welcoming abundance to course through us.

When a person is in need of love from the Source, the Source sends him an opportunity to show love to someone else. This is what makes it possible for the Source’s love to be channeled to the person himself, because “Everyone who shows love for the Source’s creatures is himself shown love” (Shabbat 151b).

Maimonides defines eight levels in giving charity, each one higher than the preceding one. On an ascending level they are as follows:

8. When donations are given grudgingly.

7. When one gives less than he should, but does so cheerfully.

6. When one gives directly to the poor upon being asked.

5. When one gives directly to the poor without being asked.

4. Donations when the recipient is aware of the donor’s identity, but the donor still doesn’t know the specific identity of the recipient.

3. Donations when the donor is aware to whom the charity is being given, but the recipient is unaware of the source.

2. Giving assistance in such a way that the giver and recipient are unknown to each other. Communal funds, administered by responsible people are also in this category.

1. The highest form of charity is to help sustain a person before they become impoverished by offering a substantial gift in a dignified manner, or by extending a suitable loan, or by helping them find employment or establish themselves in a business so as to make it unnecessary for them to become dependent on others.

The wise hedonist who loves himself the most of all, should follow this sage advice and spend his life giving the highest forms of charity – attracting to himself the highest forms of love from above.

Support flows in two directions. At its potential, it’s a cycle – a relationship. If we are being filled up with light and strength – and by extension, so too are our families, friends, communities and beyond – it is in our best interest to look out for the source of our fuel. This is the key to charity. Grab the key.

The Key

Blessings,

Etan

Charity

How to Save Your Marriage – For Men Only

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1/2/2015

How to Save Your Marriage – For Men Only

“The Zohar compares the husband-wife relationship to that of the sun and the moon. The moon merely reflects the light that it receives from the sun, for it has no light of its own. So too, a wife’s vitality depends upon the “spiritual light” that her husband shines on her. When he’s kind and considerate, she radiates. When he’s critical and stingy, she suffers in a dark cloud of sadness. Her state of mind and behavior depend on him”

– Rav Shalom Arush, The Garden of Peace.

Similarly, the nation of Israel corresponds to the moon and the Source to the sun. We must be in alignment with the Source in order to most effectively receive its light and illuminate the world.

We are here to repair ourselves through relationships. Our closest relationships are the clearest mirrors and best suited conduits to transmit areas of necessary rectification. The closest relationship we have is with our “other half”.

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  1. Your wife is a mirror. Do not criticize or have expectations. You are being shown, from the Source, exactly what you need to work on through your wife. You want change fix it yourself from within, and it will show up in the mirror. Don’t shoot the messenger.
  2. Observe your wife to see what the Source is telling you through her words and actions. Devote secluded time for this every day with no distraction. Love rebuke. It’s what we need in order to evolve. Smooth sailing is for the final ship – the pine box.
  3. Man corresponds to the sun. We are givers – that’s our nature both physically and spiritually. Women correspond to the moon, receivers. You want better vibes, shine better light. We reap what we sow – Sow the light you desire to bask in. We give, they receive, and we experience the light of what we shine through their glow.
  4. Comments and criticisms are debilitating and arrogant – and, they are a boomerang.
  5. Guard your eyes from looking elsewhere. Roaming eyes and imaginations burns imprints in your head that are compared to and destroy what you have.
  6. It’s not 50/50 – it must be 100/0. Any expectation or need unfulfilled is feminine. Our joy comes only from giving, aligning with our nature. There is only room for one woman in the home.
  7. Honor your wife and you will experience honor.
  8. The “poor” of your household come first – hook their needs up before going wide. Nothing more painful to a wife than for her husband to spend his life giving to everyone but her.
  9. Stand by her as #1 always, especially in front of your family.
  10. Peace in the home is commensurate with your Emunah “Faith.
  11. Running away from a relationship is like a game of whack a mole. What you need to work on will pop up elsewhere in the next relationship. You can’t escape the Source.
  12. Never hold a grudge, argue, or lose your temper – it’s just poisoning your own system.

The above wisdom is inspired by Rav Shalom Arush’s book, The Garden of Peace.

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Your welcome,

Etan

How to Save Your Marriage – For Men Only

What is Emunah?

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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?

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