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

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

4/13/2015

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

I know that Your laws of teshuva (returning to my true nature) allow for quantum leaps because I know that sincere teshuva on my deathbed can rectify all past disconnection.

Just like the enslavement from my past and anxieties about my future can hijack the now, so too can being in the moment free me from the past and future.

And I know that You created the Angels and I know that You empowered the Angels with control over the stars and I know that the stars and my name influence my life and I know that You created the orb of time and space from the Ein Sof (no ending-ness) and I know that You created the 10 Sefirot and I know that You uttered the 10 Utterances and commanded the 10 Commandments and unleashed the 10 plagues and I know that You are supervising over me 24/7 and I know that You love when I talk with You and pour out my truth and I know that You remind me to look at my good points because You love me and I know that every challenge and obstacle I am encountering comes from Your mercy and provides me with the opportunity to grow. So thank You for that because I know that one day  I’ll be looking back on this and seeing clearly all of Your goodness and I know that I feel free just saying this and I know that being intertwined with Your Will is the highest joy because I know what it feels like to be dis-aligned with You and I know how You call me back to You.

So, “Communicate Your innermost wisdom to me again in loving closeness, for Your friendship is dearer than all earthly delights”

-Song of Songs

I’m asking for a quantum leap my Master. I’m one of the few who dreams of complete teshuva but my bones are fragile from past dis-alignment. So I’m begging You for mercy. Lead my way with Your light and make my journey pleasing to my loved ones.

Hashem only You know what is best for me and what path is for me. At least let me remember this every moment to sweeten the judgements of life. Let me remember that You are concealed in every one of my experiences – giving me the perfect opportunity to rectify my past disconnection.

And then I heard from You tonight: “That’s the fine wine of freedom.”

That’s divine consciousness and that takes work to maintain and that comes in flashes of lightning. And this is one of them. But like Ben Franklin we can go out to the fields in the storms and fly our kites in the wind with a key attached and conduct lightning. And this is hitbodidut – lightning connection in the storm of reality and the healing waves of divine wind come flowing in proportion to the breath that flows from our mouths to the Creator.

My goal, my Master? To run the command center for Moshiach and support distributors of liberating light and truth, like Rav Dror and Rav Baruch. To bring Rav Chanan’s family in and liberate souls one by one starting with my own and then my family and friends and surrounding community of souls. I want my boys as personal agents of the Melech haMoshiach. And I want to sit at his table with my family in joy.

I’m asking You for a promotion. Can we call the past the past? I will if You will. And can I get a few wishes please?

Gevurah she’be Gevurah (Discipline of discipline)

Blessings,

Etan

Adventures in Hitbodidut | Divine negotiation at midnight

In Prime Position

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3/2/2015

In Prime Position

The setup of our perspective has unique relevance to our experience and it’s outcome. Often we become engulfed in the chaos of our experience, where we can lose sight of miraculous blessings unfolding in front of us.

Shifting our perspective from constriction to expansion – from closed to open – from fear to excitement and joy – from victimhood to empowerment – from being stuck in traffic to flooring our race car and not looking back. This surge of self worth and confidence achieved by freeing ourselves from negative mental patterns, and seeing the eternal possibilities in front of our eyes, activates the reality and tunes us into a headspace, of being in “prime position”.

Prime means first, highest in rank or importance – of the greatest relevance or significance – the most flourishing stage or state – the choicest or best part of anything – the period of greatest vigor of human life – and its antonym’s range from downfall to worst to end.

When we get tested with fears and anxieties – when we are faced with the same old usual mid level, able to cope with but low frequency day to day mental patterns – when we are operating while barely holding our subconscious chaos beneath our experience – at these moments it is critical to focus our mental powers on our “position” – as human conscious beings, here with the opportunity to rise above the levels of the angels – here with free will to utilize, to attain eternal bliss – we are gifted with being in prime position through all of creation.

A wise soul recently shared with me the importance of focusing on where you personally are in your prime position – and to experience and navigate from that perspective. It’s very easy in the game of life to focus on what we have to do, haven’t done, and how behind the 8 ball we are.

Getting back to focusing on the good – focusing on where you are in prime position – and launching off from there – from that point.

Awakening to your day, making lists in a state of anxiety, prior to connecting to a connected state of mind, can have an adverse effect on ones life. The message was to start our day, and conversation – with ourselves and with others – from where you are in prime position – because if you lay it all out, there are gonna be some areas that you are.

What I took from that was a reminder to continuously work toward maintaining a lens of prime position focus to begin, lead and end my days.

As the checkered flag approaches, we need to look in the mirror and be honest – and through prayer and connection force the hand of the Source to penetrate into physicality and move our hands to write down what we need to be focused on – to face subconscious destructive patterns with battle plans in hand – to do everything that leads us closer to fulfilling the will of the Source.

Also, when we are charged with those blessed moments of heightened clarity or joy – or emotional connection to a family member or friend- those flash moments from above felt within – at that moment, we should not move from our place – literally don’t move your feet when you get these thoughts to return to and celebrate your true self. Stand there and take that in. That’s the Source communicating with you – answering your prayers. Don’t move your feet. Widen that lens, extend that experience to take up more bandwidth in your life – that’s gratitude – that’s focusing on the positive – that’s generating and broadcasting a frequency which attracts it’s like in kind.

That is prime position.

Blessings,

Etan

In Prime Position

The Sefirot flame meditation

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3/1/2015

The Sefirot flame meditation

As combinations of spiritual and physical beings in this lifetime, points where the two are revealed in harmony – reliant on each other – enabling and fulfilling one another’s purpose – are worthy of contemplative reflection.

We see in nature, spiritual systems revealing themselves – spiritual laws imbedded and intertwined with physicality – signs which draw our attention to the foundation of creation, and the Source’s creation and manifestation of the Sefirot.

Everything that happens in the spiritual worlds takes place through the medium of the Sefirot. They are often referred to as the Creator’s “garments”, revealed worlds through which the Creator conceals Himself from us.

It is taught that the Source is the One who binds together the ten Sefirot – uniting them – and as much as He is “within” them – one who separates one from another of the ten Sefirot – it is considered as if that person had effected a “separation” in the Source (which is an impossibility BTW). Regardless, the above graph is one to get highly comfortable with, as its system and symbolism outline that which the Creator and Sustainer of our experience chose to reveal His eternal attributes to us through.

The Sefirot are ten modes or attributes through which the Source manifests Himself – and the Sefirot are the medium through which specific qualities and attributes can be ascribed to the Source.

In the Hebrew language, the word “Sefirah” is related to the word “sapphire/sapir” – A sapphire is a precious stone – brilliant and illuminating – signifying that the function of a Sefirah is to broadcast light.

In describing the relationship between the physical and the spiritual, the Zohar states:

“if one wishes to know the wisdom of the holy unification, let him look at the flame rising from a burning coal or from a kindled lamp. The flame cannot rise unless it is unified with something physical.”

In a similar fashion, spiritual levels cannot function and interact unless they are bound to the physical.

The Sefer Yitzirah (The Book of Formation) therefore states that “their end is imbedded in their beginning…like a flame in a burning coal.” The only way in which the end and beginning can interact is because both are bound to related physical concepts.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan connects this concept to a powerful meditation, which I call the Sefirot flame meditation.

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The wick itself represents the physical world, while the blue flame nearest to the wick is the counterpart of Malkhut (kingship – lowest sphere) . Surrounding this is the bright yellow flame, corresponding to the next six Sefirot: Chesed (love -middle right sphere), Gevurah (strength – middle left sphere), Tiferet (beauty – center column, third sphere up), Netzach (victory -lower right sphere) , Hod (splendor – lower left sphere) and Yesod (foundation – center column, second sphere up). Above this is the barely visible exterior flame, the hottest part of all, paralleling Binah (understanding – top left sphere) . Then comes the light radiating from the candle, which is Chochmah (wisdom – top right sphere) . Finally, there is the concept of flame itself, and this corresponds to Keter (crown – the top sphere).

All of these parts are unified only through the wick – the physical world. By contemplating a flame in this manner, one can bind oneself to the Ten Sefirot.

This is enlightenment. This is pure unity. Garden of Eden consciousness.

This also makes this level of awareness the most guarded treasure. Protected by more than just the most challenging opponent – protected by it’s polar opposite – the concept of evil – Amalek – often described Kabalistically as “doubt” – yet it can mean so much more – the lesson here is that we need to really watch out for this one – and be prepared to engage and overcome this type of manifested energy when we meet up with it. This is how we transform its energy into its highest potential while attaining ours.

The power of our experience heats us up during the times we recognize the Source’s miracles in our lives –  when we feel illuminated and connected as a people – and just then, Amalek attacks to cool us off from the heat of connection. That’s the greatest weapon of the adversary – to cool us off from spiritual momentum and steer us back to physical stagnation and constriction – back to”Egypt”.

Amalek represents the embodiment of pure evil – united – with the purpose of diminishing the holy light of unity in the sacred service of the Source.

I heard from my spiritual guide, from his international headquarters in Jerusalem, this morning – that Amalek were the folks who whispered into Pharoh’s ear to chase the nation of Israelites to the Red Sea. That’s pretty deep – the senior advisors to the dark side.

Amalek comes when we ask, “Is the Source in our midst, or not?”

I’ll leave to myself the remainder of his teaching, as this post is starting to get long – and the remainder of his words were, what some may consider, a “sticky” subject to discuss. A subject which summons up very strong, deeply rooted emotional and intellectually formed viewpoints with regard to our Divine obligation to “remember”, “have no pity”, and “completely wipe out” pure evil – including how and when. So, I’ll end on a much “lighter” note.

stop start

Light your meditation candle  – and “see” your flame inside – envision the 10 Sefirot within – and fan that flame with the joyous winds of Adar.

Marbim b’simcha! (Increase Joy!)

Blessings,

Etan

The Sefirot flame meditation

Moon Pie

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2/22/2015

Moon Pie

The greatest purpose we were given was to mold duality into unity. The most sacred application of this task occurs between masculine and feminine energy – the holy covenant of soul mates.

Moments we allow ourselves the luxury of deep reflection and accounting are peppered with treasure chests of sparks of wisdom and understanding – accessing this wisdom leads us to a state of freedom time.

There’s an actual bond – a connection we have – a Briss (covenant) with the Creator.

The idea of Briss (covenant – in general, but usually associated with the circumcision of a child), is a fascinating concept – a covenant with the Source. A permanent physical mark, with the deepest spiritual significance.

Briss is not limited to a child’s Briss when he’s 8 days old – one day above nature – where “nature” is intended to signify the world having been created by the Source in 7 days of creation.

Briss represents our continued obligation to rise up to a level of standard fit for a nation of priests channeling the light of the Source.

Sefer Yetzirah (the Book of Formation), in its most basic translation, mentions another Briss – a covenant of the mouth – through which prayer and blessing originate – and both the traditional lower mark of the Briss, and the split which allows for the production of words – are connected to the center column of the Tree of Life.

Kabalistically, this center column represents the Tree of Good and Evil, because the realms of good and evil co-exist, intermingling with each-other in the center column – along the lumbar spine – just saying. We were told to eat from the Tree of Life – not from the center column, the “Tree of Knowledge of good and evil”.

The holy covenant involves elevating the foundation of creative expression to its highest purpose. This covenant also exists in our physical relationship with the world, and in the sanctity of our relationship with our soul mate.

Since our past is the seed which impregnates our future, let’s all agree to the following:

  1. Only plant good seeds
  2. Perceive our circumstance as an opportunity to heal past events.

The secret weapon of mass formation – A.K.A. – hitbodidut – works like plugging a device into a power outlet – Divine messages engrave our heart –  clarity pierces through cloudy visions – that’s what time spent during one on one private dialogue with the Source produces. All kinds of things can come up, and the codes of wisdom are contained in the messages sent – they become apparent and obvious. Your body reacts physically when Divine communication is absorbed – like the chills, and neck hair standing, and goose bumps – prophecy in the old days was achieved while convulsing with Divine messages, which the body just couldn’t absorb fully in its natural state – having to rock and shake to detach from the perceived steadiness of physicality – to grab the next rung up – to receive the higher energy and guidance – to articulate Divinity –  to perceive the future.

Deciding on the take away message of a session of hitbodidut is accomplished through processing and understanding the wisdom shined from above – containing the message and integrating it. Specifics on its integration and application will reveal themselves.

The luxury – the midlife gift of giving yourself (really, one hour a day – but really to start, even just 5 minutes of sincere time a day in active private dialogue with the Creator, should be our most cherished pleasure) elevating this need to connect, recognizing the value of relying on a daily authentic connection to the Source. The relationship and dialogue generates more than faith – it produces confidence and certainty.

So much will come from that 5 mins when you learn to access a window to your subconscious through understanding the secrets of the unfolding of our formation.

When the new moon is shining, the unity of the sacred bond aligned and love reigns – when the depths of unconditional love radiates so strong – the face of the Moon Pie unfolds into its natural state of Emunah, healthy, joy – Divine connection.

I am forever and eternally grateful to my soul mate, Stephanie.

sssunnamed

Blessings,

Etan

Moon Pie