Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When miracles occur in our lives do we always see them? Try and think of a time when something spectacular happened in your life that proved to you, as clear as a sunny day, that there was Someone watching over you. Something greater than yourself, something magical that cannot be explained. Think of that special moment when something occurred that cannot be believed, even by you, the one who experienced it. And if you are fortunate enough to have these miracles in your life, can you still remember them after they've passed? Do they still have the magical intensity that proved to you at that very moment..... that there was a G-d. And that this spiritual Being knew you and was talking to you. It was a no-doubt-about-it, crystal clear kind of moment. But, where is it today? Probably a distant thought that may bring a warm fuzzy feeling with it. It certainly doesn't have the impact of that amazing moment when it occurred. After getting over the shock of that magical event, there came a serenity and calm, a deep feeling of being loved by something so much greater than anything you can ever imagine or explain. Yet, we felt a love that had touched our soul. At that special moment, nothing negative lived in our minds. We felt loved unconditionally. It was clear to us without a doubt, that G-d loves us and is there for us. At that moment, no one exists in  G-d's eyes, but us.  We felt special. Like an only child or a child that doesn't have to share anything with other siblings. The one that has your parent's love for you and only you, all to yourself. It's a tremendous happiness, a deep inner joy. We felt it and we were sure of it. We felt an Infinite Love and Kindness. One that proves to us that we can trust in G-d. We can feel G-d's Presence and at that moment, feel confident in knowing that He has the endless capacity to continue to do so... to always be with us filling our souls with joy. So, why do we lose it? As the years pass, it becomes more and more difficult to remember the event. It fades away into the depths of our minds. It becomes "taken for granted." Just like the beauty of nature and the magnificent continuous events of creation that Hashem provides for us daily that we don't appreciate because we take them for granted. It is there for us daily. What's the big deal? What's so special about the sun and moon or the fruit from the trees that isn't colorful until it ripens and we know it's time to retrieve it for sustenance? We live in a world where spirituality is hidden or is it? Is it hidden or is it that we don't not have our eyes open wide enough to see the miracles and the beauty? This is our mussar task. Our personal growth experience - to develop awareness and child-like wonder so we can see the miracles in order to feel G-d's love for us. Our job is to internalize this and practice it daily. When we open our eyes and see the miracles in our lives... we have proof that G-d loves us. We can bask in the sun and feel the special love that Hashem has for us. This  will strengthen our faith and free us our all our troubles and fulfill our needs.... now at Pesach time and every day, throughout the year. 

What exactly is this time of year about? It is about remembering a special time for the Jewish people, so very long ago. A time when the miracles were so huge and so visible. A time when Hashem revealed his love through so many miraculous events. A time when G-d proved His love to His People. Yet, we have forgotten. How can we remember events that happened so long ago??? By remembering the times when Hashem has been present in our lives now and when He showed us He was there for us, through those special little "coincidences."  Today, that is our job, to remember the miracles.  To remember the time when G-d revealed His love to His People.  A time when He showed His love to each one of them, as if they were His only child. This is the time to re-experience G-d's love for us. The love that we receive all year, daily and continuously. The events of Pesach may be far away and long ago, but there are so many miraculous events that are present in our lives today.  All we have to do is remember .... by cleansing our souls and opening our eyes. 

As we clean our homes of chometz, let us take this special time to purify our souls. The actions we take physically have an effect on us spiritually. The radiance of the soul (the spiritual) is blocked by the body (the physical). If we unblock the physical and rid ourselves of the negativity, the soul shines through.... inner peace and joy can be experienced. This is a time to rid ourselves of self-defeating thoughts and behavior. Pesach provides us with this wonderful opportunity... the time to unlock your soul and let the beauty shine through.

MUSSAR OPPORTUNITY- Communication with your subsconscious
The greatest distance within man is the distance between his mind and his heart. The direct path to shorten that distance is through communication with your subconscious. When you talk to the subconscious, you don't realize a change is taking place. We think nothing happened. However, something is happening.  When you continuously repeat a message, it goes into your your subconscious. This can change your perspective and your whole life. Inculcation through repetition. Internalize and verbalize through practice! This can heal your soul. By accessing your subconscious, which is more powerful and soulful than the conscious, we internalize and verbalize the lessons we need to learn. Then we practice it. We feel the emotion and this makes the impression. The constant repetition makes the impression stronger. Repeated impressions make a tremendous impact. AND THERE IT IS! The transformation takes place. The knowledge in the mind becomes transferred to the heart. It is possible! Over time we can empower ourselves to change. THE GREATEST WISDOM MAN CAN HAVE... IS THE WISDOM OF ONESELF. The Mussar practice is about learning to develop happiness and learning to have a strong positive outlook. It makes life more practical. Your world will become more joyful and well-adjusted. Mussar is about becoming the MASTER OF YOUR EMOTIONS. Knowledge in the mind is transferred to the heart. It is a practice of transformation, purification and rectification... when you let it into your heart.  
How do we see ourselves? Are we a rock or a gem? Hashem sees us all as gems. He knows our ability to become precious gems and continuously gives us a little push so that the beautiful precious gem lying beneath the surface can shine through. Being alive means recognizing your own flaws. If we see our flaws, do mussar work to, communicate with our subconscious,  then we can surely bring out the best in ourselves and discover our true inner radiance which will lead us to a happier life for ourselves and all those around us.

To bring this week's mussar teachings to life, we must use the miracles of the present to remind us of the miracles of the past in order to feel Hashem's Infinite Love for us.  We must use this time of Pesach (as we clean our homes), as a time for cleansing of the soul and to rid ourselves of self-defeating thoughts and behavior. In order to make this lessons alive in our lives, we have to practice communicating with our subconscious so that we can discover our incredible potential and inner goodness that Hashem sees in us always.  We achieve this by following the avodah for the week:
Meditate, practice and repeat at least 3 times a day that....
1) HaShem loves me like His only child!
2) HaShem will take care of me and provide for all of my needs with His Infinite kindness and   endless compassion!
3) If I was the only person alive in Egypt, HaShem would have provided all of the miracles of the Exodus just for me, alone.
4) HaShem's Presence will always be upon me, filling my soul with joy!

I apologize for the length of this blog. It was based on 3 vaads with Rabbi Miller. It would be a disservice to our readers if I trimmed it down. There is so much beauty and practical wisdom in his teachings that to omit any of it would have taken away from meaning of the lessons. 
May you have a beautiful week and find tremendous comfort and inner peace in this avodah!

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