Tuesday, March 30, 2010

PESACH: ETERNAL OPTIMISM
PART I
For years, our Pesach Seders have been filled with discussion about enslavement. It's a feeling most people can connect to since many of us live enslaved by something. However, this mussar insight teaches us something completely new. We learn that the miracle of freedom lies within every moment. It's a stunning message. Pesach is a time of new beginnings, a time to recognize the magic of a moment. It reveals the secret of how to live knowing each moment can turn towards goodness. It is a lesson of eternal optimism.

If we take a step back and briefly examine our thoughts, we realize how far from optimism we may be. Usually we turn towards the "not-so-good." We expect people to perform below our standards. We expect that we will be disappointed. We expect situations will turn away from a good outcome. We can free ourselves from those limits if we master this lesson.

Think about the situations in your life in which you would like to experience a turn around-towards goodness. Maybe there is a person you'd like to have a better relationship with. Or maybe there is a specific behavior within yourself that you would like to improve. Your family, your job, your relationships; all the experiences of your life, within each one there is something that can be turned around in a moment.

We live enslaved by ourselves. Our thoughts are the ball and chain that shackle us. Now, imagine that in one split second that can change. In one split second, you can release the bonds of negative thoughts that have been holding you back. In one split second, you can turn it all to goodness and become free. In one split second, you can experience the freedom of Pesach.

The wisdom of mussar teaches us every second is an opportunity full of redemption. Every moment contains an opening; all we have to do is enter. Living each moment knowing everything can turn towards goodness within a split second may seem a bit idealistic. But, it also seems like a more meaningful, happier way to live.

Even though all your situations may not have the outcome you had hoped for, what you experience towards them... is what matters most. That, in itself, is the outcome. Start living with eternal and irrepressible optimism. Optimism is living with determined thoughts that there will be a positive outcome and that the next moment is a powerhouse of redemption.

TEXT: THE MIRACLE OF A MOMENT
Our Sages tell us that when the people of Israel were in Egypt, there were influenced by the spiritual decadence of their surroundings. Egypt was the world center of idol worship and black magic. The Jewish nation had become weakened and vulnerable. They sank to the 49th level of spiritual defilement, the lowest level of impurity. If they had remained in Egypt one more minute, they would have been irredeemable and unable to be saved. At the very last moment, HaShem redeemed them from the clutches of evil and favored them with eternal freedom. In just one moment, everything changed for the good.

What a beautiful revelation of HaShem's great love for us!
And even more, it demonstrates the amazing potential that is contained within every moment.

FREEDOM FROM LIMITS:
Freedom exists in every moment. The opportunities are there for us. We have to create the turn-around. We view time as a continuum. We see our lives continuing in the same pattern in which we are entrapped. It's as if we are riding on a train and we cannot change the path.

We limit ourselves from the options that are presented to us if we don't realize the new opportunity that lies within each new moment. It is right in front of us and we cannot see it.
We may feel stuck and don't know how to get out. Change may be our greatest desire. But, for some reason we can't find our way through it. All because we don't realize that each moment provides another opportunity to become new again. Deliverance, a new idea, a different reaction; they all occur within a split second. All we have to do is awaken to it, internalize it and live by it.

One of the greatest power that HaShem gave us is the power to free ourselves from old patterns. We can change our life experiences. We take control of situations through choosing to transform them. Instead of spinning around in a whirlpool of unsuccessful outcomes, realize that the next moment can turn around and become better.

The lesson of Pesach teaches us that each moment is a whole new world. Each moment is a gift from HaShem. Our job is to make it new. We can create our own masterpiece. HaShem helps us to create and redesign our lives with every new moment. What we do with what He gives us... is our choice.

TURNING AROUND
Think of a time in your life, when in one brief moment something occurred that changed your life for the better. This is important to reflect upon so that you realize, it can happen again. We have a tremendous resource of creativity within us. We must be awake and alive in every second in order to re-create it, like a blank canvas waiting to be painted. We decide what we want to create. We can choose the colors we want to use. We envision the finished painting to look like. HaShem will guide our brush as we move the paint around. Once we gain the awareness and remove doubt; we realize that every minute is an opportunity to turn our situations around.

Passover is the perfect time of year to re-evaluate and become aware of what limits us from turning our moments around. This is the time to realize what enslaves us can also set us free. It's the time to break through our limits.

You may only be enslaved by yourself; your own thoughts towards a person or a situation. But, the moment you realize it can be better, you can make it better. You can say something kind, compassionate, gentle and loving. You can take a moment to do an act of kindness. You can show someone how much you really care.

Redemption is waiting for us all.... in the next split second.
This is the time of year to breathe light and hope into each new moment. In any situation we may be experiencing. We can go from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light and from sadness to joy. Instead of thinking of all that enslaves you, think about the very next moment, as the moment of redemption.... and then, become free through it.

AVODAH/TIKKUN:
To make this lesson real in your life practice this...
Pick one person (or several people and practice all day) and consciously decide, before you begin a conversation with them, to say something positive to them. Something warm, joyful, kind and gentle. At first, this will take a conscious effort. Then, when you see how wonderful this is, it will become natural and you will become an expert in uplifting yourself and those around you. Watch carefully as you continue to practice this. Notice the other person's reaction. How are they responding to your words? Focus on their eyes and expression. Keep on encouraging them, building them up and re-creating them. Bring joy to their heart and a smile to their face.

Through repetitive practice of this behavior, you will be communicating with your subconscious. Repeated impressions deepen and cause transformation. We learn to
see beyond our limits. It will open up the door to new moments that can change our lives for the better, in a split second. Think split-second newness. It is that simple! Countless opportunities await us, once we open out hearts and place our faith in HaShem. Our job is to extend ourselves beyond our own limits.

PESACH PART II

HASHEM'S INFINITE LOVE
To be the recipient of one person’s love is a soulful feeling.
It’s an experience of warmth, comfort and security. To know
you are unique to someone else fills your soul with
contentment and joy.

Often we limit ourselves because of self-doubt. “I’m not so
special. That couldn’t be me that person loves so much. It
can’t be true. What’s so special about me, I have many flaws
and many faults? “ Too often, we limit ourselves with our
logical mind. Maybe we think too much... in the wrong
direction.

An only child is the recipient of his parent’s love; no sharing
is required. Everything in his world revolves around him.
His parent’s attention focused only on him. When an only
child speaks to his parents there are no other sibling’s voices
that are heard. Only one voice exists, the voice of the child.
The child feels completely special. The only child knows,
there is no doubt... he is the only one that is heard.

HaShem loves us as His only child. We are the only one He
hears. How can all of us be an “only child?” We are blessed
with a great and logical mind. Yet, in terms of HaShem, we’re
limited. We may be thinking, “This can’t be true? He can’t
love me. There are too many of us for me to be noticed.” But
if we are able to detach from our limitations we will be able
to experience HaShem’s Infinite Love... as His only child.

As an only child is special to his parents, so too is a child who
has 10 or more siblings. Each one is special and unique. No
two are alike, not even identical twins. A parent’s love is vast
and beyond explanation. How is it possible to love so many
children in the same family at the same time? In our physical
world maybe they can’t all be heard at the same time but
what about in the Higher World? Hashem’s love is vast and
beyond explanation.

Pesach is the time to be reminded of Hashem's Infinite Love
for each one of us. As He loved Klal Yisrael and freed them;
so too, does He love each one of us as His only child. If you
were the only person left in Egypt don’t you believe HaShem
would have provided all the miracles of the Exodus just for
you?

If we can free ourselves from our own limitations to
understand His World, we can expand our own world and
take comfort in knowing.... Hashem loves us like His only
child.

This is the time of year to remember the miracles of Pesach
in order to feel Hashem's Infinite Love for us. Freedom from
our limited minds will allow us to experience HaShem’s
Infinite Love... as His only child.

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 were 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!

Chag Kasher v'Smeach Pesach! Happy and Kosher Passover!
Blessings for unlimited moments filled with goodness, love and joy.






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