Pleasure or happiness that is the question Rabbi Dr. Twerski was interviewed in Hamodai (a Jewish publication in London) and was asked to comment about the times we live in – now he is not only a well know Jewish Rabbi but also a highly experienced psychiatrist and one of the founders of the twelve step program. His reply is really an eye opener: People pursue pleasure because they think it will make them happy but pleasure is like a drug – all it does is create the desire for higher doses which the drug is incapable of giving. In other words, pleasure becomes a trap – imagine for a moment sinking into quick-sand G-d forbid, which I personally experienced, and so as you begin to sink it actually feels quite enjoyable, a sort of pleasurable gooish feeling, but if you don’t pull your foot out G-d forbid, you will never ever be able to escape it, for it surrounds you and precisely because it is a pleasure gooish feeling, there are no handles from which you can extricate yourself, so once in its embrace you are pretty much enslaved in it, which is obvious to the tens of millions of drug addicts. Now every pleasure – depending on how pleasurable i.e. how high was the high – is the level of gooishness pleasure, its depth, and ability to trap you. So Rabbi Twersky recommends spirituality as the antidote; in other words, by reshuffling our priorities (for naturally we are pleasure seekers,) and focusing instead on the purpose for which our souls were sent into this world and the benefit we can make and hence legacy we shall ensure; we can reprioritize our lives, get the .. out of the pleasurable goo, and do what it takes to give one Read more…

Beloved vs. sibling rivalry Imagine this, G-d forbid you were orphaned and adopted by a family. Would you be jealous of the instinctive love the parents display to the biological children? A person is jealous over everything besides the success of one’s son or student (representing their own.) Jealousy is at the heart of all wars. In order to feel free of jealousy one needs to integrate the belief that one is a cherished biological child. G-d loves you more than parents who never had children, and finally after years of praying for one, had their wish miraculously granted, through conceiving you, would.

Well here is how I really changed my perspective Thank G-d we are free! Thank G-d we are healthy! Thank G-d we have Jewish mysticism! Because for most of our history We were cruelly oppressed! We had – amongst all people – an average lifespan of forty years with dreadful diseases claiming our children! And most importantly we wouldn’t have even known the mind blowing secrets revealed to us by the Baal Shem Tov and Chabad Rebbe’s such as how everything is really G-d!

Pursuant to our farbrengen on Shabbos I would like to share with you something I do for the sake of causing happiness and I believe it is Chassidus’s key advice on this subject, and I trust that it will benefit you as well. Firstly Chassidus clearly defines (Tanya) that if we are not happy the Yetzer Hara will make us fall easily (primarily into depression,) hence it is necessary for us to take responsibility for us to become happy. The meditation Ein Oid Milvadoi is the primary meditation that leads one into Happiness. Quite simply, what I do is once in a while throughout the day I say, “Thank you for everything,” or “Thank you for continuous creation,” the idea of Yesh Me-ayin of course is that this very moment G-d recreated the entire universe, and hence that is something to be exceptionally grateful for and just by remembering and thanking G-d for this, (especially in speech,) we become happy. Ironically, the entire psychological premise that issues in the past can be resolved is a misnomer for every moment we are faced with a constant unhappiness vs. happiness reality. I.e. if this very moment I will not actively see the good in my life or say thank you for everything, thus reminding myself of the good, there is no way I will be happy for the natural state of man is to see more of what he lacks than what he has. So one hand it is all pretty simple – obviously including following Hashem through Torah and Mitzvos – yet on the other hand it takes constant effort. The Rebbe gives the moshel (parable) to a car mechanic from the starter in a car. When you start the car there is a sudden boost of ability to move, so Read more…

Yesterday I read an amazing thing in Jewish mysticism If I asked you, what is the most potent part of your personality, you might say your opinions, perhaps even your emotions, but there is another far more potent part which in fact creates both your opinions and your dispositions namely your desire. Without getting into all the details, your desires have the ability to create rationales leading to emotions, for example if you desire to love someone you will see no issue in them, and if G-d forbid you desire to take revenge on someone, you will see no redeeming qualities. Now the point of this little article is that as our desires are so powerful we need to understand that we have two primary desires within us (ever notice?) namely the animal soul (instincts,) and G-dly soul (unconditional love etc.) Now imagine driving a car where both front wheels had different steering wheels steering them, so one would try to go in its direction, while the other in another. Interestingly enough, this actually happens in Siamese twins whereby the two learn how to compromise, to share, as two heads are driving one car. As we are one person luckily both wheels can be going in the same direction if we create as our primary desire to do good through listening to a Mashpia (spiritual Chassidic Rabbinical mentor) and following the good Lords advice i.e. installing a God Positioning System.

One of the most interesting equations in humanity is our understanding of self and our misunderstanding of others. There is even some kind of psychological word for it but basically it means that we know what we are feeling and we perceive ourselves to be real as our information coming via our minds, hearts, senses all give us the subconscious premise that we exist, but because all we see of others is their outer body i.e. we do not see their minds, heart, nor do we have access to the information entering them we assume they exist only insofar as the information relating to ourselves is concerned. We fail to appreciate that they have as many fear and dreams, sorrows and hopes as we do.

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Past Light

May 2011
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