Here is a description of a process of strengthening emunah that is within reach when we fall into a feeling of lack and of self-concern. Rabbi Asher Freund teaches the three parts, nullify the feeling of the natural egoistic self, practice hisbodidus, and strengthen emunah in Hashem and move forward with mitzvahs and chesed.
Let’s take a closer look.
Rabbi Asher Freund teaches us that our soul gets bounced between two dark places, lack and self-concern/arrogance. This is actually our natural thinking so there is no reason to feel badly that we have it. We are designed this way.
The search in hisbodedus that we do when encountering these experiences of lack and self-concern exposes how we attached early in life to our environment and the people in our environment as well as how we coped with it. A portion of the life force Hashem bestows to us through our soul becomes trapped within these beliefs and memories and associations very young in life. Hashem agrees to be concealed – He agrees to go along with the natural place that forms at an age before we have any ability at all to attach to Him through emunah.
Yet He is all compassionate.
What feels to us like lack and pain is filled only by His Compassion that is trapped within the message of our confused will. Like water in a cup, His Compassion fills the message because He is here as Elokim. Yet His Compassion can be drawn forth from that message and used in a way that reveals His Compassion – through learning Torah, praying, doing a chesed, or doing a mitzvah, His Will that He teaches us through Torah. In other words, we can undergo a process that brings the Shechina from our corrupted will – that painful message – to His Will learning Torah, praying, doing a chesed, or doing a mitzvah.
The sooner we recognize this as a place where we can choose, the sooner we can serve Him and experience a feeling of connection rather than a feeling of pain or fear or anger. Through hisbodidus, we become familiar with the ways our unique lifetime develops the messages and how He has designed us from our unique place to bring His Infinite Light from concealment into the world.
Thus, it is purposeful, meaningful, and eternity-building for us to comprehend our natural messages through hisbodedus.
By describing our experiences out loud, in His Presence, with Hashem in the center, that He is doing everything and loves us, we come to have insights and understandings about our natural thinking patterns that conceal His Compassionate Infinite Light. Just like fossil fuel is a needed energy source, so too, the Shechina in exile in our subconscious has a purpose. That purpose is to come into this world through OUR free willed choice of doing a mitzvah, a chesed, praying or learning Torah. By coming into the world through OUR free willed choice by doing His Will, we provide a vessel for that Infinite Light. Without a vessel of His Will, Infinite Light would overwhelm the world in a way that all the world would be nullified. Nullified means that a ray of the sun is nullified at the surface of the sun – it simply cannot be seen by virtue of the overflow of light. Thus, because Hashem wants a world, He conceals His Infinite Light and creates the soul of man – one soul – to willingly infuse that Infinite Light into this world by following Torah. Our inner exploration leads us to where the Shechina in exile is awaiting compassion from our hearts to unify once again with Hashem and be revealed as compassion.
Hashem creates one soul that He designs to draw forth the Shechina in exile -that is filled with this Infinite Light- from our subconscious into this world when we keep the Torah.
Hashem is compassionate and is doing everything. He gives us real free will so that we choose to do this amazing work and in so choosing, we merit to experience being a part of that Infinite Light for all eternity without the bread of shame. That means, by giving us real free will, He gives us a way for us to feel like a creator, a partner with Him, even though He is doing everything. He gives us the credit! After 180 years when we are once again unified with His Infinite Light for all eternity, we will experience a joy of having made a choice while alive to make this effort that will give us true pleasure, the goal of Hashem as a bestower of good.
Rabbi Asher Freund spoke to people about emunah. He lived in emunah and with emunah. He is a role model for us. His life attests to trust in Hashem as doing everything.
So how do we grow in our emunah? How do we feel our connection to Hashem when we far more naturally feel ourselves, with lack and often with self-consciousness that is angry, frightened, pained or sad?
Crucial is to realize that as soon as we are feeling ourselves and are ready to say or doing something, we have omitted a step. That step is to open our mouths first in prayer to Hashem and describe our experience to Him and thereby bring awareness of Hashem into our subjective reality. We tell Him that we want only to bring out His Honor, not ours, for we choose to serve Him as One with Him out of love for Him.
What practical action can we do in the flow of the day that isn’t going to take us off our time frame or out of our way to do this? Breathing. We are breathing in every moment.
The Bilvavi teaches about the root of desire and about how breathing can help us reach a tangible sense of our soul that brings us closer to feeling our connection to Hashem. Breathing involves smell. And why is smell relevant?
At the highest point of our soul, we are not confused. The place in our soul where emunah exists and the pleasure of feeling connected to Him are constantly in existence without stopping. Because our soul flows into a body with intellect and emotions, our will, our ratzon, to remain connected in our speech and deeds is compromised because that place of feeling connected is diffused and concealed by our physicality. This is by design. Yet the Bilvavi teaches us that the perception of smell is able to remember this place that is far away from our immediate world. We can remember the place of feeling connected to Hashem through our breathing and our focus on Hashem is doing everything and He loves us and He is with us. Through breathing, that place in our soul that feels our connection to Hashem can be reached through the sense of smell that can detect His Shechina in exile within us. This breathing, “sniffing Hashem’s compassion” within our pain, is how we begin to pray to Him and work ourselves from the cycling lack/arrogance messages back to the true reality that Hashem is doing everything, that He loves us, and that we are at all times one with Him.
The Bilvavi has a series on Fixing our four elements of earth, water, fire and wind. The forces within us stem from the four elements which are the root of our character traits.
When we feel emotional, talking about earth wind water and fire may seem esoteric and irrelevant to the logical natural way of thinking. This is part of the way Hashem conceals Himself as Elokim, to hide Himself. Nevertheless, when we realize everything in the world including a thought or emotion is solid (earth), liquid (water), gas (air) or radioactive (fire), our logical mind becomes more interested, for we are all interested in inner peace and harmony.
Emunah comes to tell us that the roots of our middos (earth fire water and air) bring a flow of the Shechina in exile therein concealed, and that by strengthening ourselves in emunah to trust in Hashem with every breath, we are completely safe in every moment because we are at all times unified with Him without stopping. Thus, it becomes a matter of will and trust to bring forth into the world the Infinite Light from where it is concealed within the middos (earth fire water and air).
Thus, a process of emunah that is within reach when we fall into a feeling of lack and of self-concern is nullifying the message yet recognizing that the message has concealed Hashem – pure compassion in exile there trapped and animating our pain because He agrees to be bound by nature as Elokim.
The more we explore our experiences and patterns and beliefs in hisbodedus, the more we identify from where these messages were “born” and how they have led us to speech and deeds that are damaging us or someone else or our relationship with Hashem. The irritations to our ego stimulate where in our thinking the Shechina is in exile and these irritations are the topic of hisbodidus. The goal is to become familiar with our natural pattern of thinking and our natural emotional response.
By confessing this to Him, we bring awareness of Hashem back into the picture, with the intention of moving forward to do His Will, and with trust that whatever happens is the very best.
We submit with compassion upon the Shechina in exile what feels alive within us in prayerfulness to Him and we move forward with intention to learn Torah, pray, do a mitzvah or a chesed.
The rest is up to Him. He is compassionate to us and heals.
Here is a vulnerable share example.
Sometimes vulnerable sharing can help to bring out how these ideas all come together. For this reason, a group of us in the whatsapp chat Teshuva from love vulnerably share our run and returns. So, for sake of truth and for the purpose of showing a run and return and how awareness of Hashem and the four foundations of our emotions are involved, here is a share on a run and return I had to do on writing and sharing this article!
happen to be unusualy afraid of criticisms, experiencing them as
shaming. This is an outgrowth of having at an early age being made fun
of and also afraid for making errors …all fallen fear, traced back to
early life, no one listening, being yelled at unfairly, made fun of, so
afraid of rejection.
Before this article went out, I read and reread it and the night before, I did a run and return on the fallen fear, ”smelling” the Shechina in exile in that fallen fear -fire.
By recognizing Hashem concealed, I showered that Shechina in exile in the fallen fear with compassion, telling Hashem I feel it, that I don’t want the beautiful life force He gives me to be trapped in fear but rather revealed as compassion.
With my focus on the force in that fear, knowing it is concealed compassion, with breathing, I inhaled with the intention to run it up to Hashem and then breathing out with an intention that the compassion flow into a bracha. What came to mind was it was like blowing out the fiery message
I then had to examine my motives for sharing this article at all…am I sharing this for Hashem’s sake, or to validate this work on in order to be viewed as right, the frustration and injustice from long ago?
Obviously i have a responsibility to write truthfully. The real question is, am I doing it to defend myself, to prove what I am saying is right for my own identity as an answer to the frustrations from long ago, or am I truly doing it for the sake of Hashem and helping His Infinite light be seen in this world…whose light do i think it is, His or mine? if mine, i am still in need of doing another nested run and return.
So here is that nested run and return, for how else do i answer that when i am in fact writing this to heal my attachment issues?
While because of the numerous times I have used this process and that others have used it and have been helped, I have confidence that it is emes, and i have brought for each piece the Torah appropriate for it. Yet because it is alive for me still to this very moment as an attachment issue, there is still a piece of wanting to show I am right what are the messages of my self-image/lack cycling?
“… believe me….believe me, listen, you don’t care, all you hear are your judgments..”
This is where the Shechina in exile in my early attachment issue messages is concealed. This is the corrupted will that is blocking yeshuv hadaas. And my motivation for writing this – why i am seeking to find a way to stop those early messages that erased and pasuled me and hurt me and left me without direction or education in handling normal little kid emotions.
So the nested run and return regarding am I doing this to show Hashem’s light or mine IS needed because in part I am still defending myself by trying to prove i am good and they should listen. MY light. The run and return on that is confessing this pattern and telling Hashem that I do not want His Light to show my honor, and then breathing all that water/desire into a prayer asking Him please, that I truly want to flow His Light into the world because all we want is His Infinite Light shining into the world, for that is the refuah for all of us.
So there you have it.
May the process be a blessing for anyone who finds it helpful so that His Light, not mine, shine into the world and may Hashem have compassion uppn me and change my attributes because I admit and describe and cry out knowing He is doing everything and loves us and that the Shechina in exile in these fiery lacks and self-protective emotions that are my coping mechanisms flow into teshuva and into these words of prayer to be a merit, a healing, a cancellation of gezeira, a satisfaction of din for the soul as it exists in myself my family and klal yisrael and may the elements of fire and water and wind and earth that are corrupted by my attachment issues be purified .