Wake up calls | Mercy in disguise

IMG_8589

12/17/2015

Wake up calls | Mercy in disguise

Rebbe Nachman said, “There are times when God sends a person suffering and punishment, but He does not weaken him. This is only intended to increase his faith.”

Thanking Hashem for your suffering is an expression of faith – it transforms your experience of suffering into gratitude – knowing that within the suffering itself, is the salvation. Within the suffering itself is the opportunity to rise higher.

You are going to reach your destination through joy or through suffering.

Our eternal soul was sent down to this world and placed in this body with a mission to rise to the highest realms. To lift up physicality. To reveal Godliness in the lowest places.

And when you combine an eternal spiritual soul with a temporary physical body you have inherent conflict. You have friction. You have two hearts. The animal heart which craves comfort and pleasure, rest and security. And the spiritual heart which craves connection to it’s Source.

We have a choice here. We can let the physical heart, the horse, lead the carriage, dragging the spiritual heart through these years – or we can steer the horse on the holy mission of the spiritual heart – the return to the Source.

We can serve Hashem in joy with this understanding, or we can forget our purpose and drift off into the illusionary material world  – and mercifully be dragged back on the path through wake up calls.

Wake up calls are a tool of the Creator.

They are used to awaken us from our slumber. They come in many forms and they are crafted in the precise fashion needed to most effectively shake us from sleep. There are financial disaster calls, there are calls of war, calls of sickness, calls of depression and addiction, calls of confusion and calls of hitting dead ends.

Those on the path of soul evolution need these calls to rouse us back to reality. Without them, we risk drifting along the waters of comfort and false security wasting our years away.

What kind of wake up call I need depends on how steeped I am in the slumber.

A gentle tap, a ruffle, a cycle of madness, an injury, a terminally ill disease. Theres no end to the powers of the Source – no end to His Mercy.

We hear it all the time… “Thank God for that accident, it woke me up and lead me to who I am today”… “Looking back, I thank God for those troubles, otherwise I’d still be on that same unconscious path…”

Let us not forget we are all just a collection of small separate particles of star dust bunched together in the illusion of mankind each with a profound purpose. The happiness we think we are experiencing outside of the soul’s mission is not real happiness. It just won’t last. It may seem comfortable but that’s also an illusion – the discomfort of stagnation and unconsciousness.

If you pay attention after a trauma a new found  path toward connection and clarity opens up and becomes recognizable.

I accept the temporary suffering. I know it’s custom crafted for my best interest. And also, it just is. And I love what is because that’s all there is. What is. And when you can learn to love what is, you are free.

Yiras Hashem (awe of the Divine) is recognizing the consequences of dis-aligned actions. Through faith, perceiving the suffering as the elixir we need in order to evolve – seeing the hidden mercy, the salvation in the suffering.

There is nothing random here. It may be well above our ability to grasp, but there is no chance or bad luck. The designer of the universe made no mistakes. We may think a bout of suffering is unfair but there are bigger things at play. The soul has a specific tikkun (repair/mission) to accomplish here. This platform is not meant for comfort and relaxation, it is an arena for growth.

Time spent chilling is time spent already in the grave. This is the world of action. Every day we need to keep our eyes on this truth.

Wake up calls are a gift. A test designed to give us the choice to shift back toward our purpose, or to complain and numb out. The soul is unlimited and our tests will only increase as we grow. That’s what it means to serve the Source in joy. The service, the path of growth, is the joy itself.

May we all merit to be gifted with the opportunity to grow in a time of peace and love and comfort. May we merit to ride through every moment of every day with this understanding – to not need the kind of wake up calls that startle us too much.

But when they do come, and it seems they always do, may we merit to use our wisdom to perceive the mercy imbedded in the call, and to find the true message in the temporary suffering.

As the holy Rebbe taught us, the suffering itself cannot weaken us. That’s up to us and the perspective we house. Only we can weaken ourselves – and “if we believe we can destroy we must believe we can repair”. Our tests are only intended to increase our faith.

Blessings,

Etan

Wake up calls | Mercy in disguise

How to transcend time | Rectifying the imagination

index

10/2/2015

How to transcend time | Rectifying the imagination

Inspired by the teachings of my guide, Rav Baruch Gartner.

Life can appear to be bound by the laws of nature.

We really don’t realize how bound we are to the laws of nature when we are living in nature.

The Torah is the gateway to living above nature.

The world is fooling people.

Our consciousness is really nothing more than imagination.

We really don’t know anything for sure, as much as we really wanna believe we know something.

There are a lot of things that cannot really be proven that we are choosing in our minds to believe.

Many people choose to believe a lot of things that are producing a lot of fear and anxieties, rather than choosing thoughts that are empowering us and bringing us closer to the Source. “I’m gonna get sick again”, “the world is coming to an end”, “I can’t get this out of my mind”, “this is not going to work out”.

The sages attempt to rectify our mind so that we can think properly – to raise our consciousness to a higher level – to reach a platform of higher levels of perception.

The sage’s goal is to try to change our way of thinking from being constricted to expanded. And this is called rectifying the imagination.

Through the rectification of the imagination, we ultimately get to a whole different realm – a different way of living and experiencing life.

We go from one level to the next level to the next level to the ultimate place of clarity – we get to a place which is above imagination.

Rebbe Nachman teaches us that God is above time. Really, only children believe that God is a man in heaven. The truth is that God doesn’t have any character traits. The ones He revealed to us simply serve as rungs to rise up through our imperfect imagination – we rise up from not knowing to knowing that God is above time and space.

Rebbe Nachman said that it is impossible for the human mind to grasp this.

However, we see that there are other things which are also above time.

Teshuvah (returning to our true nature through repentance) is above time. The day a person does teshuvah, he is above time. He rectifies the past.

And the holidays are all above time.

A person can at any moment of his life be reborn. At the time of his passing it was this idea that Rebbe Nachman was bringing himself to life with – the concept of being above time.

There is a type of understanding referred to by Rebbe Nachman as transcendental understanding. It is also referred to as “Shefa Elokim” a Godly outpouring – a sort of Divine flow “Ruach Hakodesh” –  a state of Divine inspiration. A supernatural realm which does not come through thinking or working hard for. A channel of higher perception which bypasses the constraints of the intellect.

This type of wisdom will change your whole life and produce something called “V’hitlahavut Halev” a passionate heart. But it is impossible to experience this level unless a person first sanctifies the seven windows of his face.

This is connected to the holiday of Sukkot, when we commemorate the seven Divine clouds of glory which surrounded the nation of Israel throughout their travels in the desert.

Rebbe Nachman taught that the seven clouds correspond to the seven windows of the purification of the human being, required in order to receive the outpouring of knowledge called “ruach hakodesh” which allows for a person to know things in a supernatural way.

The holiday of Sukkot is connected to the idea of a type of knowledge called “makifin” a transcendental intellect that surrounds us – no matter what level you are on you have a surrounding makif – just like God is infinite, so too is our ability to perceive Him – but our minds cannot contain this perception.

So too, our body is not able to fully house our soul. As a person perfects his senses, the person brings into his aura a higher level of intellect , a makif, into his level of understanding. This is accomplished through purification.

There are certain concepts that a person’s mind cannot really grasp. For instance, the concept of free will and an all knowing God. How can I really have free will if God knows what I’m going to do? No human being can perceive this. This is something beyond human consciousness. A person cannot grasp this.

This in itself is the reason that a person has free choice.

As long as a person cannot grasp that understanding then his free choice is in place because he has the ability to choose this or that, life or death.

But as soon as this wisdom comes into his realm, that free choice will dissipate and he will no longer have free will.

We learn that in the future, the sages will be sitting with their crowns “in their heads” (not on their heads) – what is permeating beyond and around them will come into their intellect – into their heads. Our free choice will not be the same. The sages will be “sitting” (ie. not moving from their place)

How do we bring transcendental reasoning into our minds?

First, we must conceive these transcendental concepts. Similar to the way a woman gives birth through crying out, we give birth to our understanding from the hidden realm. This is the deeper meaning of the process of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Hoshana Rabbah – to scream out from our constricted consciousness to God to help us to sanctify these windows with holiness of Hashem so that we merit to reach a place of expanded understanding.

A person brings higher intellect inside, which is the aspect of Sukkah – the transcendental intellect that comes to us from sitting in the sukkah and connecting to the powers of sukkot through observing the spiritual technology of its laws.

Transcending our ways of being obsessed with the past and the future – transcending our thinking to being above time is what Sukkot is all about. A temporary dwelling – transcendence . The makifin – the higher levels of intellect – the culmination of all the holidays.

Shabbat shalom and chag sameach.

Blessings,

Etan

How to transcend time | Rectifying the imagination

Uman Uman Rosh Hashana!

IMG_1761

9/3/2015

Uman Uman Rosh Hashana!

This blog is all about sharing with others what turns me on. I’ve learned with friends on a one on one basis and a number of them have encouraged me to go wider and this is the format that feels natural for me.

What turns me on, and really all I am interested in thinking about, talking about and writing about is consciousness and our relationship with the Source. How to perceive what’s going on in our lives, how was the world created, why was it created, what’s our purpose and role in creation and where are we going from here.

My personal expression of spirituality is grounded in the wisdom of the prophets and the holy sages past and present. I learn from and with sages and I absorb their teachings and look to integrate their wisdom into my life. Sometimes this is a slow process and other times it’s a swift radical change. Sometimes I don’t have the choice. I believe that life is a constant lesson and our job is to keep our eyes wide open to learn from the wisdom flowing toward us. I look to share this wisdom because it brings me great joy and I enjoy sharing what I believe can bring joy to others.

I have a special connection to the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. His teachings can be found in several places including http://www.breslov.org

For decades, the individuals at breslov.org have tirelessly worked on organizing and translating the teachings of Rebbe Nachman. Their efforts have provided me with the luxury of having these teachings organized and translated, ready to consume.

Rebbe Nachman, a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, breathed new life into the Hasidic movement by combining the esoteric secrets of Judaism (the Kabbalah) with in-depth Torah scholarship. He attracted thousands of followers during his lifetime and his influence continues until today through many Hasidic movements such as Breslov Hasidism. Rebbe Nachman’s religious philosophy revolved around closeness to God and speaking to God in normal conversation “as you would with a best friend.” The concept of hitbodedut is central to his thinking.

I’ve found that there is a general disconnect between many peoples understanding of what Breslov Hasidism is and what they imagine it to be. Unlike Chabad Hasidism, there are no “Breslov Houses”, and without an official leader over the past 200 years, many people connect to Breslov wisdom on their own through books. There are very few Breslov communities one can find and be a part of and the organizational infrastructure is sparse and centralized to a few locations around the world.

Many people think of Breslov as a movement of hippies in white na na Nachman hats dancing to techno music around spray painted vans. A movement of ex cons and social outcasts who have found a gateway to spiritual ecstasy.

As exciting as that may sound to some, there’s an important opportunity now to educate the masses in what Breslov is and how the teachings of Rebbe Nachman are more relevant and critical than ever, for everyone.

The wisdom and relevancy of the teachings of Rebbe Nachman, as well as the teachings which have come from his teachings are extraordinarily powerful and appeal to a very wide spectrum of the population within Judaism and beyond.

The teachings of Rebbe Nachman are deep and multi-layered and one can connect to them on many levels, each according to their own perspective and stage in life.

I’ve found the most beneficial way to learn and develop spiritually is through relationships with guides who have spent their lives clearing away their own chaff and refining the jewels of wisdom within. Witnessing firsthand the attributes and lifestyle of those who live the wisdom provides much more than simply reading a book on our own. Just like experiencing a Shabbat is necessary in order to truly understand its power and meaning.

So how can one who is interested in the wisdom of Breslov Hasidism take their connection to the next level? How can one who’s soul is thirsting for the truth and power in the words of Rebbe Nachman connect to an anchor of this wisdom? They need to develop a relationship with a guide. And this is what breslov.org is creating now through Breslov Campus. Direct access to the Breslov all-stars around the world from the comfort of your own home and office. It’s all about the Rebbe to them.

This is also what my soul brother Rav Dror Moshe Cassouto is building at http://www.emunahchannel.com and the new Emunah Center in Jerusalem. Rav Dror’s friendship, strength and daily videos continue to change my life and thousands of other lives around the globe in profound ways. It’s all about the Rebbe to him.

And this is also what my dear friend and guide in Jerusalem, Rav Baruch Gartner, is building through illuminating one on one psycho-spiritual video sessions which rock worlds and bring clarity, purpose and joy to so many of my friends and family’s lives. Last year in Uman, Rav Gartner said that he is just another monkey on the chain to the big Gorilla. It’s all about the Rebbe to him.

And then there’s Uman.

Next week I’m gonna leave my wife and three kids again for Rosh Hashana. I’m gonna leave them to fend for themselves while I fly to Ukraine for a week. On the surface this can seem like a highly selfish act.

Fortunately for me, my beyond generous and open minded spiritual gangster wife went to Barnard, drove a 1340 CC Harley Davidson low rider, and when asked for her hand in marriage said “as long as you are committed to achieving your spiritual potential”. She knows I plan to slay it out east and bring back a year of penetrating light for the bayis.

I’m fully aware that this sounds odd to most people but I believe I can connect with souls which have dropped their garb. I believe their spirits are still here. And I believe the influence they have over me only increases with their physical passing. So my connection to Rebbe Nachman is alive and well.

I believe Rosh Hashana is the day of judgement, and that what is decreed on Rosh Hashana impacts the upcoming year for my and my family’s lives – so I look at Rosh Hashana in Uman as more of a spiritual business trip than a family holiday like Sukkot, Pesach and Thanksgiving.

Maybe I’m extreme. Maybe I walk so far out from the norm to chase the light so I can bring it back for us. No one ever accused me of being normal –  but I feel that my trip to Uman, to be with 40,000 brothers by the grave site of a sage whose wisdom I immerse myself in – and all my holy rabbis and guides, and brother’s who join me – I believe that’s the most normal and rational thing I can imagine.

Leaving my wife and kids for a week?

Would that be an issue if I was standing trial?

I am. And I’m representing them.

Would that be an issue if I was headed on a business trip to support my family?

I am. This is when health and wealth for the upcoming year is crystallized.

I leave for the most treasured purpose of all – to chase the light of my salvation, to make me a better person, to connect to reality – to alter reality – to channel blessings into my life, my family’s lives, to our people and the world. It’s better than bringing back diamonds and gold.

So does it have to be done in Uman on Rosh Hashana?

My business trip is in Ukraine. It’s where I feel most connected during Rosh Hashana and where I feel I can be most effective in accomplishing my objectives. Sometimes these questions are really more about the one asking them. Like they are looking for strength from your strength – a subconscious effort to accumulate ammunition to battle for their own highest good. And I’m happy to assist.

Every single year, I along with my guides and brothers I’ve brought with me have the most insane positive holy trans-formative spiritual life changing experiences there.

Leaving my kids? I cant wait to take them. I consider it every year. Taking my holy tzaddikim twins to Uman is going to be incredible. They are mad at me every year I don’t. Maybe next year.

The arrival in Kiev is a like a hostile takeover – Jews everywhere – young hasidim from all over the world with runny noses and DNA strand side locks holding onto their tati’s bekishes. Sephardi businessmen with gold rolexes reciting psalms. Disheveled yeshiva students, hands interlocked with Israeli hippies, singing and dancing – and robotic large men with broad shoulders and big hands in uniform stamping passports – the baggage claim – the exit to the buses and cars lined up for the 3 hour drive to Uman. The dancing and singing on the bus. The brotherhood. The excitement in the air.

The strange towns passed by – the open sunflower fields – the expansive forests traveled through by brothers long gone on cold winter nights to visit their tzadik. The history in those forests.

The mafia encounters along the way – the arrival in Uman – the heavy bags and the rocky dirt roads – the heavy flow of joyous brothers walking everywhere in every direction – in song and in awe – the energy is thick and building. The sounds of the shofar, holy beggars shaking cans and Breslov techno blaring in the streets.

The 3am mikvah. The magical sunrise. The all day prayer. The deep meditation in the fields. The pulsating energy radiating from the grave of the Rebbe.

The sweet feeling of togetherness that makes you just stop and smile.

I wish for you and bless you that you be granted in the approaching days of judgement, to be inscribed and sealed in the book of judgement for a good life.

Shana Tova.

Blessings,

Etan

Uman Uman Rosh Hashana!

Rebbe Nachman & Eckhart Tolle | The Power of Now

Shema Yisroelreaching-baby

6/30/2015

Rebbe Nachman & Eckhart Tolle | The Power of Now

Reb Noson, the chief disciple and scribe of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, gifts us with the following antivenom to the bite of enslavement to past and future:

It is written: “See, now, that I, I am He…” (Deuteronomy 32:39).
“See, now,” precisely. Through the paradigm of “now,” you are able to see that “I, I am He,” and begin anew, in each moment, to cleave to God.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that if you want to attain the level of the World to Come – even in this world – just close your eyes – gently withdraw your mind from all that is going on around you and move yourself into another dimension. The more you “close your eyes to this world”, the more you will attain true spirituality and bring the essence of the eternal “World to Come” into your life.

This is the secret behind closing our eyes and covering them when we say the Shema prayer. Up to a certain point the world reveals God. Beyond that point however, that very same world obscures Him. We therefore close our eyes and cover them with our hand when we recite the beginning of the Shema – in order to break through the facade of this world to reach towards the unity behind it. This is the Power of Now.

ET: “Love, joy, and peace cannot flourish until you have freed yourself from mind dominance”

RN: “The reason why the world is far from God, and does not seek to come close to Him is only because people lack yishuv ha-da’as — a calm, settled mind”

ET: “Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within”

RN: “By connecting to simchah, a person liberates his very being and consciousness. Then it is possible to attain a calm, settled mind. Even in the supernal worlds, this accomplishes a great unification”

ET: “Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to “die before you die” — and find that there is no death”

RN: It is written: “When you walk, it will comfort you; when you lie down, it will watch over you; and when you awaken, it will comfort you” (Proverbs 6:22).

“When you walk” on this earth, the Torah “will comfort you.” “When you lie down” in the grave, God and the Torah “will watch over you.”

“When you awaken” in the World to Come, “it will comfort you.” When you have purified your thoughts, there is no difference between this world, the grave, and the World to Come. When you desire only God and His Torah, all are the same. In all three, you may connect to God and His Torah. One who is attached to the things of this world will experience a great difference between this world, which is a wide, open place, and the grave, which is a cramped place. However, if you purify your mind, all will be the same”

ET: “To be identified with your mind is to be trapped in time: the compulsion to live almost exclusively through memory and anticipation” – “Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be”

RN: “Every perceptive person understands that time does not exist. The past is gone, the future has not come, and the present is like the blink of an eye. Thus, the life of a man is only this instant in which he stands. Consider this, and in whatever circumstance you may find yourself — even in the depths of Hell –you will be able to cleave to God in each moment”

ET: “Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now”

RN: “Forget about yesterday and tomorrow. Today is everything”

ET: “Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence”

RN : “Yesterday and tomorrow are a person’s downfall. Today you may be aroused toward God. But yesterday and tomorrow pull you away”

ET: “Don’t get stuck on the level of words. A word is no more than a means to an end. It’s an abstraction. Not unlike a signpost, it points beyond itself”

RN: [Yes, but] “Prayer must be spoken out in actual words – literally. It is not enough to think the prayers. It is true that God knows what we are thinking. But the words have to be spoken, because speech is the vessel with which we receive the flow of blessings. According to our words, so is the blessing we receive .One who perfects his speech can receive abundant blessings through the vessels he forms with his words. This is why we must actually articulate our prayers with our mouths”

ET: “The ultimate purpose of the world lies not within the world but in the transcendence of the world”

RN: [Right on ET.] “If a person doesn’t focus on the purpose, what is the point of his life?”

Reb Noson explains that every day, constantly, God in His goodness renews the process of creation, and no instant can be compared to another. Because the heavenly constellations constantly change from one second to the next, every set of circumstances is unlike those that existed a moment earlier or a moment later. “Imagine what transpires from one second to the next in the supernal worlds, which are without limitation or number!”

“The garment of one day is unlike the garment of another day”

-The Zohar

“All of these endless cosmic transformations are for the sake of man, to enable him to serve God”

-The Arizal

“This is the reason for everything”

-Reb Noson

Blessings,

Etan

Rebbe Nachman & Eckhart Tolle | The Power of Now

The Foundation of the World

gravity-works-250x150

3/18/2015

The Foundation of the World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rebbenachmanschair3

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

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

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

Blessings,

Etan

The Foundation of the World

The good life

IMG_5424

3/14/2015

The good life

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

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

This is the good life.

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

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

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

IMG_5425

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings,

Etan

The good life

The simple steps of The Seeker of Life

unnamed

3/3/2015

The simple steps of The Seeker of Life

Rebbe Nachman’s main desire and goal was to have us perform actual physical actions of holiness without any sophistication.

“It takes great wisdom and a lot of effort for a person to completely throw away his mind and serve Hashem like an animal” (Sichos Haran)

At moments when we feel electrified with blessings, the wind at our back – and the Divine sparks within our experiences are set aglow with sweet expansive light – just then must we remember, that the way to remain supercharged through connection with the Creator, is through total humility – serving Him in complete and simple faith.

As humans, it is our obligation to utilize and maximize our highest faculties which set us apart from the animal kingdom.

Yet, intetestingy, we learn and see that the most evolved, highest form of connection and service of the Source – is achieved through simplicity – serving the Source like a simple animal – expressing through our higher reasoning, and mastery of choice and will, to adhere to a hierarchy of Divine spiritual energy – at the pinnacle of which rests the throne of the King Himself – and we are his sheep.

It is taught that the concept of “throne” implies the Source “involving” Himslef in the physical world – in our lives – and when the Source is “sitting” on His Throne, His “presence” is “lowered” and right here with us – personally shepherding and custom crafting our journey.

One blessed with open eyes will see this clearly every moment. One setting off on the journey to higher clarity will see this in increasing flickering signals. One detached from the realm of holiness and Divine will, heaven forbid, walks in the dark – surrounded with walls of iron.

There are sheep that are zoned out in identification with the material world – sheep en-route to their slaughter – as the physical experience ends just around the bend – and there are sheep who set their footsteps toward the shepherds of wisdom – the sages – united, dancing in the synchronized sacred herd of serving the Almighty.

Israel Meir (HaKohen) Kagan (1839-1933) AKA The Chofetz Chaim (Seeker/Desirer of Life) was one of the most influential sages during the late 19th and early 20th century. He wrote powerful works on gossip and slander – on the importance of guarding the tongue, and the power of speech – on the value of being kind to one another, and various ways to do so – and on the great importance of yearning for redemption.

The Chofetz Chaim’s expectation of the immediate redemption was so strong that he would always carry special garments to change into once the redemption begins. In modern day hip-hop cultural terms, that’s “gangster”.

Recently, what is being claimed as “the only video existing of the Chofetz Chaim” has surfaced – and is available, for your convenience, in a link listed below.

To me, those foot steps of the great sage, The Chofetz Chaim, in Vienna, 1923 – showcase the depth of humility, wisdom, sanctity and awe of a giant shephard.

Serving the Source with total simplicity, awe and humility is a perquisite to rising to the heights of spiritual wisdom.

Simple faith, means day after day chipping away at our exterior to reveal our inner essence. Simple faith means walking with the knowledge of where we came from, where we are going, what our role is, and who is running the show.

Walking in humility – with gratitude – unlocking the most enjoyable and sustainable levels of spiritual and physical joy possible.

As we set sail into the holiday of Purim, which commemorates Divine deliverance from plots which seek to destroy us – let us balance this great joy with the intense gratitude to our Creator and Sustainer for having our back during tough times until today. Let us rise early, in simplicity and joy, and intense presense – with wide open eyes, as we exchange reciprocal gifts of food and drink – disperse charity to those in need – celebrate with festive meals – unite to recount the storyline of deliverance – mask our identities in costumes – and consume what we fancy in public celebration.

Ah frielichen Purim! (I wish you a joyful Purim)

Blessings,

Etan

The simple steps of The Seeker of Life