Posts tagged Elul

The Experience of The Ladder of Souls – Part 10

Ladder

What I want to share is about the soul and mindfulness. It’s my theme for the week for MMM, but it’s also what the soul is all about. Our souls come into our bodies to improve, expand and soul-ize our bodies, but also to restore them to be souls, to be more spiritual, to get back to the level of Adam’s body prior to the fall in the Garden of Eden. Adam’s body was more like our souls today.

The soul is inside our body, and it’s functioning maximally when we are the most mindful, and it has a natural drive to get back to that, meaning to “escape,” like a flame leaping up on a candle wick.  Our soul is trying to get back that place, to be restored, and mindfulness is what helps it get back to that place.

So, here’s a list of tools we can use to increase the mindfulness of life and enable our soul to live in its proper environment.

Instead of the normal consciousness of _______, let’s go to a mindful consciousness of the following:

  1. Instead of the normal consciousness of moving our bodies through the day, with all the different mundane movements involved, let’s make all these movements – sitting down, standing up, walking, etc. – soulful and mindful opportunities. Let’s be soulful and mindful by resonating on the deepest level with what that message means for us.
  2. Instead of the normal consciousness of a sort of “ho-hum” life, let’s Paradise our lives, being soulful and mindful of maximal personal expression and also maximal divine expression.
  3. Instead of the normal consciousness with regard to which aspects of our awareness we engage the world with, let’s be soulful and mindful by engaging the world with our Allness.
  4. Instead of the normal consciousness of accumulating and accessing wisdom, let’s open up our Da’as, our knowing, and thereby know things in a soulful, mindful way.
  5. Instead of processing the thoughts in our minds, in a semi-unconscious way, let’s do it in a mindful/soulful way by watching our thoughts or actually taking notes of them. Do it in an objective, watch-the-movie way.
  6. Instead of the normal consciousness of jumping around from one thing to another in our lives, let’s have a soulful, mindful engagement of any present thing we’re doing, to the exclusion of anything else. Have complete, hyper-focus on whatever it is we’re doing at the moment.
  7. Instead of the normal consciousness of taking in the world through the 5 senses as usual, let’s engage the soul and the mind in a much, much more enhanced way of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching.
  8. Instead of the normal consciousness of engaging the world in a happenstance, coincidental way, let’s see how G-d is talking to us and leading us exactly where we need to go, at all times, in a soulful, mindful way.
  9. Instead of the normal consciousness of engaging wisdom on a surface level, let’s engage wisdom according to the depth of what we can understand and receive about what that wisdom means for us. Consider its associations, meaning what we know about it and what we can reveal and discover about it.
  10. Instead of the normal consciousness of understanding life through our own eyes, let’s understand and process life through the eyes of G-d, in a soulful and mindful way of seeing the past, present and future implications, movement and unfolding of every situation.
  11. Instead of the normal consciousness of connecting to topics we are exploring in a by-the-way manner, let’s completely immerse ourselves for an entire day, week or month in nothing but that particular topic, in a completely soulful and mindful way.
  12. Instead of the normal consciousness of understanding the world is just populated by us and by other people, let’s open up our minds and souls and become aware of the root souls, the angels, the sparks and other souls that are with us, all around us.
  13. Instead of the normal consciousness of connecting to the world in terms of what we want by just wanting it, let’s completely embrace the wanting from our lower soul to our higher soul, and want it so much that it actually manifests in our lives.

The Experience of The Ladder of Souls – Part 8

Ladder

Today is the yartzeit of the Arizal, and we are talking about the soul, so I can’t help but focus on those two things together. This will be about what I’ve learned about the soul from the teachings of the Arizal, which offer a completely unique perception of light in the world. It’s about G-d’s place and our place in the world, and how to get past the broken places. And it’s about how to deal with anything and everything in life.

So, I’m making a unification of the 9 days before Tisha B’Av, and the Arizal and this whole soul series. I’m seeing it all coming together here so we can continue learning how to open up our souls in mystical consciousness ways.

The Arizal spent years and years going over one piece of Torah, just a few lines. And he’d come up with more Torah on that one little piece, a few lines, than anyone could handle. He’d produce an exponential amount of Torah, in quantity and quality of teachings.

One of the things the Arizal taught us is this – the deeper we go in receptivity (Kabbalah is receptivity) and the more we remain open to the finest nuances of our study, the more we need to be able to be able to plug in with our soul and tap into the ultimate wellsprings of wisdom.

He taught us about partzufim, about the idea of persona and seeing spirituality and the sefirot as worlds that are all interconnected, all outside of us as well as inside of us. We need to be aware of and connect up with those worlds, as much as possible, to advance our souls.

The Arizal taught us about tzimzum, the constriction of creation, and how that from the most constricted places come the most potential, expansive, divine, infinite places where we need to reveal G-d in all these constricted places, as the Arizal taught us.

The Arizal taught us about worlds, one higher consciousness, world outlook, and ways of creation and ways of relating to reality. We need to emulate his teachings. We need to look at these teachings and see how it applies to us, so we can step into these worlds in practical ways in our lives.

The Arizal taught us that the whole world, after the breakdown of reality, is filled with sparks that are found in the mundane places of life, and they are calling out to us. To advance our souls as much as possible we need to be able to hear those calls, to feel that drive inside to reveal G-d’s light in places he’s normally not found.

The Arizal taught us all about bringing expanded consciousness into our lives so that we can grasp that which is beyond us, that outer light beyond us, in order to fill ourselves and to grow our soul. That is how our souls grow.

The Arizal taught us the idea of an externality and an internality of life. That internality is what we need to search for because it seems that everything has an external look and feel, but under the surface and over the starts there’s the most beautiful light we could ever see, and we need to keep our soul focused on that, to expand it.

The Arizal taught us about the idea of unification, about connecting things that don’t seem to be connected in order to produce and reproduce new aspects of being and of life that wouldn’t be birthed without our connection. Ultimately, we need to see the multiplicity of life as oneness. That’s what unification is all about.

The Arizal taught us about Adam Ha Rishon, about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, as a place we are driven, in everything that we do as humanity and as individuals. We need to get there with the ultimate being and G-d connection.

The Arizal taught us that the world is made up of holiness and anti-holiness. This is our struggle inside, and we need to step up as much as possible with our souls, in order to fight this eternal holy war we are fighting.

The Arizal taught us that worlds ascend. There is an ascent, an elevation of reality at all times, and we see it especially on Shabbos. That’s when we go to a place where there is nothing lacking, and everything is perfect As-Is. We need to learn to take that ride, not only on Shabbos but on other holidays and also personal times in our lives. We need to ascend that ladder as often as possible to purify our souls.

The Arizal taught us that we have had previous incarnations. We were here before and we’re here to finish our unfinished business now, and then to carry on our perfected business, engaged in the world on a much wider scale of personal and cosmic tikkun.

The Arizal taught us the world is made from the universal principle of male and female, masculine and feminine, the Zeir Anpin and the Nukva. As much as we possibly can, we need to unite them until they complement each other within each of us, and interpersonally as well.

Tools of Divine Service of the High Holidays -TSHUVA

Teshuva

Now what I’d like to speak about has to do with the High Holidays, which are almost upon us.
I’d like to discuss a few tools of Divine Service, so here are a few introductory points:

I think it’s important to know about these tools called Teshuva, Tefila and Tsedaka, Penitence, Prayer and Charity, the “big three” that are so prominent in the High Holiday prayer books. Those are the three things we are told to do in order to avert the harsh decree.

My intention is to know and to teach the pshat level, the simple, straightforward understanding, on the one hand. Much of it comes from my own background and also Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s Handbook of Jewish Thought. And I bring to it the deeper, inner understanding of Kabbalah and Chassidut, to round out the tools.

I’ll start with Teshuva, or a righteous return to G-d and to ourselves. Here are a few points explaining what the mitzvah of Teshuva is all about, beginning with a person having an assumption, an understanding that there is a divine source of morality and truth with the ability to pardon wrongs done within that morality and truth.

As opposed to other approximate levels of morality and truth, including the popular conceptions of Western society and other religious beliefs, as a believing Jewish person I have an absolute truth to rely on, G-d’s word to rely on, which of course has been interpreted many ways.

But the fact that divine morality exits allows me to measure myself against that and try to return to that, pardoned from wrongs by the G-d that brought us all into existence. All of this would be lacking if there was no absolute truth, only approximate truth that changes with the times and necessities of society.

The power of Teshuva is in the fact that it was created before Creation itself, implying that it’s more important than Creation in some ways, and also it has the ability to return us to the purpose of Creation. Teshuva has the ability to override the divine trait of strict justice because G-d is looking for our good and the good of the world. G-d, therefore, is very long-suffering and patient, waiting for us to re-enter the realm of morality and truth as he sets it out.

Essentially G-d turns a patient eye to our misbehaviors as we move towards Teshuva.

Teshuva has the ability to act retroactively. You might ask the question, “How can we undo the damage done by sin?” Some things cannot be undone.

For example, if a person is born of an illicit relationship, that child will be living testimony for that the rest of their life. But, the idea of Teshuva “undoes” the original intent. When we change ourselves we have a different intent, a different intention, and it relates back to our original intention, undoing it back then.

Since I’m a new me, you can’t judge the new me for a wrong intention I had back then as the old me. Only G-d can see that I’m a new person of course, since humans need to judge based on what they can see with their eyes only, with some consideration given to their capacity to change.

We also have to understand that the power of Teshuva is that a person can sin and be wicked their entire life and reverse their entire history in one minute. There’s a famous story of Rabbe Lazer ben, whose life was exactly that way. He did Teshuva at the very last minute of his life and became known as a Rebbe, because he did Teshuva in that way.

So that’s the power of Teshuva. It will always be accepted, and you can always reverse a situation whenever it may happen.

The practice of Teshuva involves four elements, basically.
1) It involves regret, which is shame. There is a place for feeling shame. There is a power, a healing power involved when it’s done in the right way.
2) The confession of what a person did has a certain power as well, the confession to G-d and the confession to people we have wronged.
3) And there is the resolve to not do the thing again. This is something we address on Yom Kippur, when we get to a place where G-d testifies, so to speak, that we won’t do it again. That is the place we want to reach.
4) And finally, there’s changing our ways. We put ourselves in a different environment so we won’t be influenced in the same way and tempted to be caused to do whatever we did once again. We might change our lifestyle and work on things that will hopefully influence others as well, bring others to G-d. That’s a big part of Teshuva.

Teshuva involves different kinds of intentions and different levels of intentions, on a scale of higher to lower. Probably the highest level of intention is Teshuva from love, meaning a person doesn’t change his ways because he’s afraid of punishment, of hell (which is another level of Teshuva), but because he feels bad that he didn’t take advantage of his relationship with G-d. This type of Teshuva elicits results which are much higher, raising up the sins a person commits to become merits instead.

There’s Teshuva that comes from the intention of having responsibility for oneself, owing up, recognizing the seriousness of going off the path, and recognizing that Teshuva is really my own chance to make a difference.

There are decreasing levels in the timing of Teshuva, meaning we might realize immediately what we did wrong and do Teshuva immediately. But some people spend their whole lives doing Teshuva; every day they think about what they did wrong and they go through those four steps, so they are constantly in Teshuva. That’s probably the highest level, in terms of timing.

When Teshuva is done with the same trial and tribulation that caused a person to go off the path in the first place it’s another high level of Teshuva. Also, it’s better to do Teshuva when young than when old.

Another level I’ve already mentioned is Teshuva done from fear of future suffering, and another is Teshuva done from the unbearable reality of present suffering, especially when one is old. Perhaps the lowest level is doing Teshuva right before passing away, due to the fear of what’s coming afterwards.

But all these levels of Teshuva are effective, 100% effective and acceptable.

There are many obstacles to doing Teshuva. One is when a person makes a choice to sin with this thought in mind, “I’ll sin now and do Teshuva afterwards.” Another is when a person separates themselves from helping out other people in the community, or disrespects people who are meant to be respected. There are also people who make fun of the commandments, and those who seek to get honor at the expense of others, gossip about them or suspect them. These are things that can keep a person from doing Teshuva, and they hold a person back.

Teshuva is something that needs to be done with an understanding that we should never give up, no matter how far they have fallen, no matter how deep the despair may be. We have to understand that we are in the place of a Baal Teshuva, a Master of Return, and even in the place a Perfect Righteous One cannot stand in such a place.

We’re meant to not remind a person who has done Teshuva that he or she was once a sinner. And Teshuva is something the entire Redemption will be dependent upon. That’s why all the prophets address themselves to having the nation come back to Teshuva.

So, that’s all pretty much the straightforward level of what Teshuva is all about.

In terms of a deeper level, Teshuva is a return to oneself. It’s a return to the essence of who you are. And it begins when a person realizes his life is somehow meaningless, or futile or just some form of personal exile. No matter how outwardly successful a person may seem to be, it’s all sort of a self-betrayal.

When you understand that you are living a contradiction and you see the absurdity of your world (a lot of great comedians make fun of us doing exactly that, and that’s why people love their jokes so much) you begin to realize that self-contradiction is wide-spread.

So when the Master of Return, the Baal Teshuva recognizes that and does something about it, they begin to reconnect to who they are and who they want to be. And their return is the return of a true master, a master of response, a Baal Teshuva, that’s the name given to them. And that type of person achieves unity of character, including their mind and their emotions and their actions unified with their eternal self, their G-dly self on the inside. That’s how they regain their self-integrity in the most beautiful and in the highest possible way.

In this way they open themselves up to what is probably the highest level of happiness that a human being can feel. And it’s why the happiest times of the year happen after Teshuva time, after the 10 days of Teshuva and then Yom Kippur, followed by Succot, the happiest time. It’s because you can regain your self-integrity, and regain yourself in the process.

We need tools to be able to get to that place, to figure out who you are, where you’ve been, what’s important to you, what you look like in the eyes of truth, the eyes of your future life and the eyes of your soul family, even your own eyes looking down and really seeing yourself. This is how we gain the perspective of authenticity, and focus on a higher level and what that level can be as you look at the essence of your life and turn it into something much, much higher, more YOU, more essential and more G-dly than ever before.

Out Of The Box Essay

Box

This talk is called Out Of The Box, and I want to share it now, a couple weeks before Rosh Hashana, because this time of year it’s important to realize that there are no limitations on how we live our lives, what we make of them.

More so than any other time of year, NOW is the time to step up, and to see that we’re much more than what we think we are. So, it’s really important to step up and to jump out of the box to become something we’ve never been before.

Kabbalistically, the idea of “out of the box” is very central to the creation of the world, and the way the world runs. G-d was the only one around at the beginning of time, and he had to create a void, and then from the outside, from out of the box, came G-d’s ever-present reality to fill the void.

All of Creation fills the void from an out-of-the-box way into an in-the-box way. And in Kabbalah there’s a concept called Ohr Makif, which is the surrounding light, or energy, and it is seen as the way we grow spiritually. We take that which is beyond us, which is surrounding us and which includes the level of soul to which we have access, and we draw that down inside us. And that’s the way we grow, by bringing what’s out of the box into the box.

The Jewish people are a great example of out-of-the-boxing. We are people who are constantly drawn to something beyond ourselves, such as a Messianic time, a post-life reality, the essence of our souls, which part is beyond us entirely. And we are drawn to G-d, to strengthen our connection to G-d, which is another out of the box kind of thing.

So, we’re always living our lives in this bridging, back and forth, from outside the box then into the box… that kind of reality. In my own explorations of teachings and spiritual principles I’ve found that we first have to clear out the clutter inside ourselves in order to begin to express ourselves. And the more we do that, meaning clear out and fully express, the more that which is out of the box becomes accessible to us, and we’re able to bring it down into us.

Personally, I have always felt a draw to whatever is out of the box, so I’ve had to transcend reality in order to grasp what was “out there” and bring it to myself and others as we move towards a Messianic consciousness, which is out of the box. We’re all drawn to that, it’s the ultimate draw. The world is being drawn to G-d in a variety of ways. It’s a draw from that which is out of the box into the box, which is the central idea we’re dealing with here.

I have a lot of practical ways for that to happen, but first I’d like to share some of the writings of Rabbi Avraham Issac Kook. In my humble opinion he is one of the greatest articulators of the experience of enlightenment, certainly one of the greatest in the modern day.

Looking at it from this perspective then, a look at out-of-the-box thinking from another, higher perspective. I chose a few specific quotes to illustrate what out-of-the-box consciousness is all about.

Musings From The Beyond
**Drawn from the ‘Lights of Holiness’
—R. Avraham Yitzchak Kook z’tl**

1. CONSTANT RENEWAL
The perception to see the world
Not as finished but as in the process
of continued becoming, ascending,
developing—changes a person from being,
‘Under the sun’ to being ‘Above the sun’
From a place where nothing is new,
to a place where nothing is old
(quoting King Soloman’s famous line from Ecclesiates)

2. SONG OF THE SOUL
Surely the soul sings always…
[if you wait for the time when
Creative spirit will inspire you—
You lack the illumination].
You must raise yourself to the heights of
Confronting your soul…Be ready to listen to
its holy discourse
At all times in every hour
It release streams of its precious gifts

3. SOULS OF CHAOS
The souls inspired by the realm of Chaos are greater than the souls whose affinity is with the established order…They seek too much from existence—from what is beyond their own faculties to assimilate—a very great light……….they can’t bear what’s limited……they descend from a very high realm….they soared on high like a flame and were thrust down……their striving knows no bounds….they aspire constantly to the beyond and to the impossible… they fall [inevitably] in sorrow , despair, —leading to their becoming wicked, destructive……..they especially reveal themselves at the end of days….they rebel against everything…..they seek nourishment in alien pastures and ideals…..they are passionate souls……….. truly heroic spirits know that this force is one of the phenomena needed for the ultimate perfection of the world….in the end , their power will be taken from them and turned over to the righteous ones…..dark clouds will pave the way for great light…”

Now, here are some practical ways to bring some things that are out of the box into the box, into your life: a) The Graduation Speech – Projecting a future “you” and working towards it; b) Partnering with G-d – Take upon yourself to share with G-d whatever profits come your way, in whatever way you think G-d would like it to happen, and have G-d help you in the process as well; c) Seeing With The Eyes of G-d – See people and situations for what they are, were and will be; d) Beyond Limits Yearning Vision Dialogue – If you had no limitations what would you want? This is beginning to live with a post-life reality where every word, thought and piece of wisdom reverberates forever.

And I have a number of tools to help us get answers from above, or beyond, and to live from an incomplete perspective to a whole, complete prospective, and to see how everything is preparing for the birth of something else in your life. These tools help you fuse with G-d, so that G-d can speak through you, think through you, be through you in all of your senses, etc. They help you study the Creator’s ways and emulate how the Creator creates so you can do the same. And they help you ask questions and receive answers that you think the Creator would give you. And they help you have the trust that just as G-d has come through for you in the past he will come through for you again now.

And finally, the ultimate tool – Let Go And Let G-d.

These are practical ways of living out of the box, and of course there are many more regarding how you act, how you see, how you open yourself up and expand yourself. I won’t go into them all right now, but there are many more.

Ratzon Part 2

RoshHashana5776

SOME INTRO WORDS

About a month ago I did Ratzon Part 1, on topics relating to the 3 weeks between Tammuz and Av. We talked about certain aspects of Ratzon, the essence of it, how nothing stands in its way, a little bit about how to achieve it, the fundamentals, how important it is, and some of the applications of it.

Now we’re going to consider Ratzon and the period of Elul, which is a whole different type of Ratzon.

I’ll be drawing in Rabbi Tsvi Meyer Zilberberg’s teachings as well as my own, and adding in teaching from various other sources, too. This is a little different version of what Ratzon is all about, focused on Elul Ratzon in particular.

THE RATZON FACTOR OF ELUL

The month of Elul is the month of Creation of the world. The actual day of Creation of the world happens on the 25th of Elul, according to the Kabbalists. At that time the six days of Creation occurred, right up to Rosh Hashanah, when Adam is said to have been created.

Everything that comes before those final days of Elul is a time that went up into the will or Ratzon of G-d to create the world, meaning that time itself visited the will of G-d. Therefore, the month itself is very connected to the desire for Creation. It’s the wanting, the Ratzon, and it’s in the air. Ratzon is the time zone we can plug into.

Let me step back for a moment, to a time before Creation. There was the primal or primary creation of all of existence, called the constriction or Tzim-Tzum. This principle is also based on Ratzon, and it went up into the will of G-d, who then moved his presence from a certain place in order to make room for the the world. What was left was his omnipresence, a void, and nature abhors a void, and that void is essentially the Ratzon desire.

Ratzon means something is missing, so there’s a void. And it’s that void pushing us, driving us to fill it up. This is a primal feature of Creation – the void and the filling-up of the void corresponds to the male/female principle as well, but in this context we’re discussing, it corresponds to desire, to Ratzon.

That’s what’s opening up to us this month of Elul, which is a very interesting time. Relative to the New Year, it’s the last month of the old Jewish year, and it parallels the end of the previous week and the coming into the new week. The very last thing we do in the last hour of Shabbat is called the Third Meal, or in Kabbalistic terms it’s called the Will of Wills time. We go up, we elevate to the highest Sephirotic time of Ratzon. And that new week is pregnant with the new week that’s coming into being.

We have the power to determine what that new week will be. We take root of Shabbat, which is the root or the source of everything that will come in the new week, and it’s drawn in there along with sort of a bittersweetness. It’s sort of melancholy because we feel Shabbat at its highest and we feel the new week coming in, and we lose our elevated state. We feel the transition, the contrast, as we feel the transition to the new week.

That’s what we feel during Elul, too, the old year fading out and making way for a new year. That opens up our Ratzon because we feel that contrast, that transition into something new. That opens up our Ratzon, or the higher-level filling-up of our calling, our mission in this life. It’s when we plug in and get the clear messages we are meant to receive at that time.

So, Elul is the Third Meal, or the end of Shabbat for the year, going into the new year.

MORE ABOUT ELUL

In addition, the month of Elul… look at all the portions in the Torah we read during Elul. We see that Moses is doing a review in all of them. Moses is reviewing all the episodes the Jews experienced in their stay in the desert. And his review corresponds to what we are meant to be doing. We are meant to be reviewing our year and all the highlights of our year, sort of an inventory of what we did right and wrong, and what we need and want to do.

So, in that sense, Elul is primed for Ratzon. And, as we know, there were three times Moses went up to the mountain for a 40-day period of no eating, drinking or sleeping. During the last of those 40-day periods began the month of Elul, and lasted until Yom Kippur, the day Moses received forgiveness for the Golden Calf. Yom Kippur is the day of forgiveness, the day of atonement. So, those are days of forgiveness and compassion. They are days of G-d finding Ratzon or desire in us, thereby opening up a way for us to find desire in G-d as well.

There are a number of verses that characterize Elul. Maybe the most important one is Ani l’Dodi l’Dodi Li, “I am my beloved and my beloved is to me.” It’s a verse from King Solomon and it’s about the mutual love affair between us and G-d. It’s the acronym for the month of Elul, the time when we connect-up with G-d, during those days. That verse reminds us that Elul is the time when we can synchronize our will with G-d’s will.

There are verses about longing, “my soul is thirsty for you,” and “G-d is my shepherd, I shall not want,” a Psalm we say at the end of Shabbat. It’s appropriate for Elul as well.
We also say the verses including the 13 characteristics of compassion that we say during the entire month of Elul, especially during the slichot period, which is when G-d told Moses to say the 13 characteristics of compassion and your prayers will be answered.

This opens up Elul Ratzon as well.

Elul is a time of higher-level wantings, a time of getting to the core of what we’re here for, what we want to do. And it’s a preparation period for the new year when we go into Rosh Hashanah. Our Sages say, “Take with you words, take with you a plan and a path, if you want things to happen in your year. That’s what we should bring with us from Elul into the new year.

Elul is a blessed time when we can get clarity on who we are, what we are, what we’ve done right and wrong, what we want to change and what we want to become, going into our new year. So, this is Elul Ratzon. That’s what it’s all about.

HOW DO WE GET RATZON?

How do we get to the essence of Ratzon? The first thing we have to do is yearn, basically. Ratzon is all about desire, all about wanting. It’s about making simple lists of yearnings and praying for it. And we need to understand that, like anything else, we are the last of the generations, the weakest in many ways, the most burnt-out in many ways.

But because of that, because it’s so difficult for us and because we suffer so much, every little, tiny baby step we take moves worlds. Each step is more important than major steps taken in previous generations. So, wanting, and plugging into Ratzon is very, very important. Because Ratzon is so important, there is a huge, evil impulse to not do it, to forget about it, to play it down. Most people can remember the experience of Elul as being distracted, being full of distractions to do anything but want.

The Yetzer Hara will let you do anything but desire and have clarity about who you are and where you want to go in your life. It will give you anything, even to be a righteous person for G-d, but it won’t let you figure out what you want in this life because that’s where the “big money” is, what the real Elul is all about. We have to understand what we’re fighting and what we’re up against.

And we need to make a list, gathering together our greatest highlights were, what our greatest desires will be, and where we are right now, between the two, the past and the future. We have to know where we’re holding in the present, and try to get the essence of what we’re meant to be and who we’re meant to be. We want to project that into the future, and create a graduation speech announcing the end of the upcoming year as we envision it.

And then we set ourselves on the path to achieve it, and we go with our essential Ratzon, our essential core motivation of who we are. The closer we get, the simpler, the more concise, the more laser-like our Ratzon, the more powerful it is. We can break through everything and open up all closed doors.

Don’t forget to take the highlights of your life and study them, analyze them, get to your essential Ratzon of who you are. See your whole life as a sacred text that’s going to open up and inform you of everything you need to do. And then set your sights on what you want to have.

It’s the Jewish secret, like the Law of Attraction, only Jewish. We understand that we’re not using G-d as our genie in a bottle, but we’re doing it FOR G-d and to connect to G-d. That’s the Jewish secret. When you do it in that way, G-d’s on your side with you. When you’re going it for G-d then things are going to happen for you. That’s the Ratzon of Elul.

Shofar Blowing on Rosh Hashana

SEVEN POEMS

Shofar Blowing on Rosh Hashana

Shofar Blowing in Chodesh Elul

Dear friends,

I humbly submit to you the fruits of  my latest venture

into the multidimensional realms of creative expression –

this time the format is  poetry…..

poetry inspired by these days of Elul when the atmosphere is pregnant with creativity….

poetry inspired by my constant search for new ways

of tapping into and expressing

the hidden messages of the heart and soul….

Seven poems

Let the  Heart Speak

When you let the heart speak

Then you’ll be able

to see what can’t be seen

When you let the  heart feel

Then miracles  will happen

That you’d think

Couldn’t possibly be

When you let someone’s pain

Fill your heart

Until you heart becomes

A Void that you’re unable to bare

Then your heart will be able

To speak about what will happen

In their life

And  your heart will be able

To erase their pain

And sweeten their life

When you let someone’s  joy

Fill your heart

Until your heart

Becomes a wellspring of joy

That overflows

Then your heart will be able

To  speak

Of things that no one  knows

And your heart will be able to feel

The direction that their life will go

In   Response

The absolute commitment

To be in a state of acceptance,

Accepting all that comes down

From the One Above

As being the very best possible

Of all possible scenarios

Elicits measure for measure

The ultimate Divine response

That all that we do,

Though we may make

A thousand mistakes and blunders,

We are nevertheless

Unconditionally accepted as we are

I am for my beloved

And my beloved is for me

I receive my beloved with allness

And my beloved

Receives me in allness

My world manifests itself  to me

As I see it ,

When all I see is it’s goodness

Even when others would see

No goodness at all

Then my world responds

And shows me

Nothing other than

her absolute goodness

Be and see and think and feel

That all is good

And all that you will encounter

Will be absolutely good

In response

Leaping

I think that if we could

Leap outside of ourselves

Leap outside of all of the

Confinements

Leap into the land

Of soul thoughts and soul words

Into the land

That we have never

Ever  been before

Yet we know this place

Like we know our own bodies

A place that is totally new

A place that has no rules

Or pre-conceptions

Just a Knowing

Then we could jump into

A whole new way

A whole new way of

Feeling and thinking and speaking

And what we’d think, we’d be

And what we’d feel, we’d be

And what we’d think, we’d speak

And what we’d feel, we’d speak

And Hashem would take us

To the place of the heart

And the place of the Soul

And the place that we know

Bring me there

Bring me back

Bring me home

Ohh dear master of the Universe

Ohhhhh hear my deepest yearnings

And take me there

I’ll follow your lead

And my mouth will speak your praises

Forever

Grace

Grace flowing through the pores of your skin

Grace peeking through the smile on your face

Grace surging through the photos that you take

Grace making itself known all over the place

Show me the way to see that all is One

Show me the wisdom inherit in everyone

Show me the purpose of all that exists

Show me the Grace that emanates above the sun

And my soul is restless to behold

The time when I’ll see and feel and know and hold

That the source of all that exists

Is filled with the Ancient grace of Old

And the time will come—I hear the call

When a light will shine so fine and so bright

Lighting up  the endless night

And grace the earth for once and for all

 
                Doors
  
I hear that she has opened up all the other doors,
And that she no longer seeks what’s behind them
I hear that she knows that all else is false
And all she seeks now is the sanctuary of the Divine
 
I told her ---don’t worry –when one door is closed
Hashem will always open up ten more in it’s place
I told her that she need not pay attention to the now
Hashem will come through for her just as He always does
 
She knows that the One who makes Heaven and Earth
Will send and is sending now all the salvation
She knows that all that is lacking is to get out of His way
And He will light up her heart and soul and life
 
She tells the story –the ultimate story
That we all will hear and tell eventually
She tells the story –just listen….
That the whole world will listen to
 
So we ask you , Our G-d , our Father,
Our shepherd, our sustainer---
To open up the doors to all that is good
All that is You…..
And to close those doors 
To all the obstacles 
To all that gets in the way
Of seeing nothing but You
And your full open Hand
Your full open holy hand
Extended to us eternally

Elul

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine

Only we humans were created as one body

With male and female parts

That became separated

So we spend our entire lives

Driven to return to the oneness

Our souls are essentially a part of G-dness

We spend our lives thinking

That we want this

And we want that

But all we really want

Is to return to the oneness

This is the month of Elul

This is the month of Creation

And creating

And co-creating

And re-creating

And creativity

We are moved to rediscover

The roots of who we are

And to recreate ourselves

In that image

But all we really want

Is to recreate ourselves

Returning to the oneness

When there is love

There is no space too small

To keep us from being together

And there is no space too large

That can keep us apart

When there is love,

Then all of the unquenchable thirst

That exists in the Universe

Will drive us to seek to

Return to the oneness

And where there is love

That is created

From sharing together

Thousands of experiences

And millions of love songs

And heart songs

And prayers

And blessings

And feelings

And fears

And pangs of guilt

And saying I’m sorry

And knowing that you’ll

Come through for me

Like you have

Endless times before

Then the love

Will guide us

To return together

To The Oneness

Soul family

…..and to you, my possible Soul Family member,

Allow me to begin to share with you

Who I am

In the hope that this will

Inspire you to do the same

With me…..

I’m a country boy at heart

A cowboy from the great southwest

I love the simple things…

Like good music and beauty …

Like love and honesty

And goodness and truth

And when the underdog comes through

in the end….

I’m a creature of creativity

With a passion that has no limits

To awaken and express this creativity,

And an explorer of the unknown

And a dedicated student of life’s wisdom

For the long haul

I’m a believer in the G-dly potential

Of the human being

And I want to prove to myself and to the world,

That when we bring G-d inside of us,

There is nothing

We can’t do and we can’t become

[even if it’s never been done before]

I’m a believer that every person

Has a point

That no one else has

And that everyone else needs

And this is the most important

Thing that we can share with each other

I’m a believer that when 2 people

Begin to realize that they are

Soul family [and especially the very close kind]

Then there is nothing

More beautiful or important

Than the bond that they can forge

I’m a believer that every minute

In every possible situation,

And with every person that we meet,

Hashem is sending us

An opportunity to restore

Another lost part of our Souls

I’m a believer that if we become believers

In ourselves and in our G-dliness

We can restore all of the glory

That once graced our holy people

We can recover our mastery

Of wisdom and G-d-connection and prophecy

And infinite compassion

And infinite love

NOW…..

I’m a believer that G-d wants us

To reveal His Presence

In all the places that He is hiding

Including –and ESPECIALLY

In the ME-ness inside of us

I’m a believer that though you and I

Have begun to connect in wonderful ways,

we can take this whole

Splendid form of communication

To brand new levels and dimensions

That perhaps neither of us have

Ever dreamed of, or imagined could exist

I’m a believer in Allness ….

An allness that is simply comprised of the benevolent collection

Of gifts that Hashem has given us and is giving us constantly

Helping us become all that we can become…..

May we not lose a drop it of or miss a beat ….

An Allness that is the core motivation

Of all  that I do,

And is the exclusive basis

For all of my  life’s decisions

And a cure-all for all of life’s sickness

And an inner drive that leaves me no rest

And the source;

of all my unifying-ness

And bridging-ness

And infinitizing

And constant growth

And my relentless search to find

And  bond with  my soul-family

And my need to show all of this

to everyone else I meet

wishing you;

endless Blessings,

Love and Wellbeing,

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