Here’s a question from one of my students and my response to her:

shalom how are you?
i don’t really know where i’m going with this, but i felt a bit confused after your class tonight. so i sat in a park and thought about freedom…how i’m enslaved and how to free myself. it was hard. i came up with some things and in that moment i felt like i was
already beginning to free myself, but then once i left that zone, i began to feel myself slide. i don’t quite know, how throughout my day, to free myself, when i’m not alone meditating. it’s not easy to have that consciousness all the time, even most of the time.
any advice for me?
thanks!
kol tuv,

Dearest….

The process of freeing oneself from one’s attachments is exactly that: It’s a process. The only ‘arrival’ point, ultimately is the ‘end’; you’re tikkun’s done, you can go now.

But there is of course, more to it. It’s almost an attitude. On the one hand proclivities, patterns and impulses remain, but since I am NOT those things, I can adjust how I relate to them and therefore can become more free of them. It’s truly hard to know where nature and conditioning, self or otherwise, separate. I myself, have more questions than answers about this. Rav Sholom once asked me whether Shlomo gave us enough to break our life’s pattern’s. I immediately said, “yes.” Then I thought about it. And thought and thought and thought some more and continue to think about it.

The answer I ultimately came up with is yes, he gave us enough. The questions is, what of it did we receive. For the moment, allow me this:

I believe freedom is more a consciousness state than a behavioral one. It is how I relate to that which is outside of me as well as that which is inside of me. Example: I hate winter. I hate the cold. Spiritually, I love and revere the rain, but hate being out in it. If I was a total slave, I wouldn’t get out of bed from mid November until mid-April. If I am less of a slave then I free myself from my bed and work my way up the ladder: get dressed, drink something hot, dress intelligently, go out, etc. Each step reflects a greater measure of freedom from the conditions that I hate and their mastery over me.

The inner aspect is, while I do all those things, how do I feel about it all. At first I’m cursing under my breathe as I get out from under the covers and feel physically assaulted and afflicted by the cold I feel. And then there are the gradations. When I can go out and not be cursing under my breathe at the weather, when I can feel the discomfort but not focus on it, rather the place or event or task I am going to, I am more free. Hope you get the idea.

Meanwhile, I am attaching another Spiritual Hagadda Guide – based on Chassidus, but not Shlomo.

Most important: From Pirkei Avot: “Lo Alecha HaLacha Ligmor, Aval Lo Atah Ben Chorim l’Hivatel Mimenu.” Literally, It is not upon you to complete the task (What do we really know about completion?), however, neither are you free from striving.

The confusion I believe comes from our definition of success, indeed from even looking to define success. I believe this is an American slavery. We can’t quantify what we are capable of in the absolute as we don’t know to what and where HaShem is leadiing us. So, Holy, Sweet …….: Free thyself from the slavery of absolutism, foreign definitions of success, of the voice that says, ‘uh uh, not enough’. You get the idea. Take a load off sister. You’re an outstanding young woman who has amazing things in store for herself.

Peace, Moish

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