Wednesday, September 29, 2010

is self indulgence the answer???

The national institute of mental health claims more than 26% of all Americans over 18 years old to be mentally depressed! One in four adults! That’s a lot of unhappy campers. :( Is this a state of existence we are forced to suffer with or is there a better way?

In order for a person to make the most out of their lives they must be happy. There is an expression “G-d does not dwell but only where there is Joy”. You want the power of G-d, the power of your own soul to burst it’s brilliance in your life? You need joy and happiness. One of the reasons for music in the Holy Temple was to elevate the spirits of the Levites while serving G-d so they could be good conduits for the blessings to be drawn down.

Depression is a negative harmful energy G-d created within, to test and strengthen us. Its’ force like all the negative forces within is mainly form and no substance. For the most part, a person who grew up and is surrounded by people with a faulty perspective to life will have caught the influence of this negative energy. The first step is to recognize the characteristic of this destructive energy.

Let’s take the root of depression, arrogance and a selfish, self absorbed person. Our society is all about what can I; get out of … whatever it may be. What’s in it for me and how will it serve me. This has its’ extremes, but even on a low key level let us consider the ramifications of this attitude.

This person believes he DESERVES to be happy and friends and family owe it to him. Everything is going in one direction and that is towards himself to serve him. Besides the fact that he is in for a big bad surprise and everyone in the world doesn’t “owe him”, this is a good prescription to become very lonely in life.

Because he is so self absorbed he thinks of himself and not others and the fact is, if you don’t serve others no one will serve you. Expecting always to be served will leave the person totally disappointed and disillusioned. Depressed - dejected and disheartened.

This person thinks life should be perfect, because he is perfect – arrogance, - which can lead to acute compulsive disorders, anxiety when subconsciously he faces the realization that he may err, and fear and doubt that he may not live up to the picture he has created of himself in his mind.

All this is a figment of the person’s imagination and not rooted in reality. The worst part of it all is that this faulty attitude perpetuates itself. Once we have trained our mind to see something in a certain way we seem to find more and more tidbits of information that support our faulty conclusions.

Being depressed is being a victim to the unbridled animalistic emotions within, which is self centered.

The solution – be happy. Not from another beer or more jewelry. Happiness comes when a person is internally fulfilled. The soul – the G-dly spark within needs an outlet, a channel to express itself. The G-dly spark within wants to create good and spiritual worthwhile endeavors like G-d did when he created the world. The G-dly spark wants to be able to think like G-d and not be inhibited by the coarse pleasures of the body.

When a person begins to align their bodily lives with the unique G-dly purpose we where put in this world to accomplish, happiness and joy starts flowing. Blessings and strength starts finding their way in to this person’s life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A habit of this will make YOU HAPPY

One of the great sages once said, the evil inclination within is more interested in the depression we get after we do something bad than the bad we did. Depression is one of the grand tactics of the evil force within, to steer us in a bad direction.

Everyone is prone to making bad choices every so often, and to fail is to be human. Machines can be incredibly accurate however, they don’t realize when they make a mistake. Realizing we made a mistake is a sign of our humanity, and it signifies we know bad from good which is a good thing.
Despair after having done something foolish or wrong is a tactic of the evil within to bring us down and stand in the way of any self-improvement. Despair, melancholy and depression suck the life out of us and are the opposite extreme of joy and happiness that opens the gates of our soul to inundate and flood us with life and energy.

There is no reason for people to feel shame and humiliation when they are depressed because just like every so often people catch a cold. In the same way, the blues is a built-in challenge that we can overcome, no different than the feeling to push the snooze button in the morning. This is true for the overwhelming population who suffer from the blues and/or worse yet, depression.

Depression is a result of a person’s arrogance and selfishness, traits of the animalistic human nature when left unrestrained. Someone who is self-centered and thinks how he can get more out of the world for his selfish pleasures, is arrogant and haughty and thinks everyone owes him something. This is a most important cause for depression. Arrogance can sometimes be very crude and other times it can be subtle. People of this sort are into themselves and eventually this attitude puts a person into a very small and unstable world. They become psychologically lonely, isolated and separated.

A great Rabbi once said depression is a cheap excuse for avoiding one’s purpose in life and having a purpose in life is the best remedy for depression. Having a purpose in life means thinking about giving of one’s self to help someone else, be it a family member or anyone else in the world. It means sacrificing of one’s own time and money and appreciating the value it presents the world and as a result grants them.

Unfortunately, being surrounded constantly by marketers of products and consumerism, we are constantly being fed messages that compare us to others, trying to make us feel inadequate and needing to buy more things as a source to find happiness. But more things are not the answer. As a matter of fact, the focus on more things is what makes us increasingly less happy. It is a superficial cream -- an immediate shallow treatment -- that feeds further unhappiness.

Happiness and love aren’t things you can ever acquire by thinking more of how you can serve yourself. Gladness of the heart and contentment are the direct by-products of doing the right things.

Three of the right things are: to practice humility; think of others; and think of why G-d made you and gives you the miracle of life every time you take a breadth. Guaranteed, if you make a habit of the above, you will become a much happier person.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Addressing depression

The more we feed and give in to the body with its drives and passions, the more we are nourishing the animal soul within the body, and the more we must suffer all the consequences and penalties the body will create for us. Self gratification turns the body into itself, which is a very lonely place to be. Making a habit of giving in to bodily wishes brings anger, constant hunger to fulfill our desires and allows for control of the body over the spirit.

The body is heavy and lazy and is no different than an animal; after all it is motorized totally by the animal soul. The spirit of G-d within, is light and fulfilling, rewarding, meaningful and purposeful. One of the very painful situations the body will put a person into, is depression and sluggishness. Depression is the ultimate control of the body over the spirit. As a matter of fact, a depressed person has no energy or spirit left in him since it’s been totally blocked by the drives of the body. Happiness and internal joy is the spirit driving the body.

The following are four methods mysticism utilizes to address the condition of negativity in one’s life, especially depression, by shifting away from the bad and/or discovering the good or transforming the bad to good.

Depression ( in its’ many degrees) is a negative force since it takes the life away from a person. The following four steps must be done with the help of an outsider since there is a rule, “A person cannot untie his own knots.”

The first method is the weakest one and applicable to the right person at the right time. The depression is still there but a positive use was found for the depression which allows for the beginning of a small crack of light to shine into the person’s life.

It is to use the depression against itself as a handle to knock out the depression or better yet the depression itself is used against itself.

Depression, if carefully directed, can be used AGAINST those elements in life that a person should truly be unhappy about. This is temporary since we are dealing with a poisonous and harmful energy which should be avoided.

The second method is based on the axiom, “everything comes from a positive, G-dly source”. Depression started out as either frustration over a worthwhile desire or some other positive reason. We trace the negative back to its trigger and source and we sublimate the negative outcome, namely the depression, by addressing the positive need.

For example, if a person was frustrated over a lack of validation in life at work or at home, which is a perfectly healthy need and desire, once the validation is addressed, the depression will be for the time being eliminated.

This method can temporarily ignore the propensity to feel depressed, but potentially it’s still there should the problem recur.

The third method is completely shifting, focusing and training oneself through habit to ignore the bad and to focus entirely on the positive in life. Here again the bad is still there but not being allowed into this person’s consciousness.

The last and most powerful step which transforms the depression into joy is an understanding and developing the faith and trust, that all G-d does is for the good. Things that appear in life as challenges are disguised goodness. This attitude transforms all the bad in one’s life. Everything becomes only positive and good.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bottle neck issues

There is a constant conflict between the G-dly soul, which is intellectual and thinks objectively, and the animal soul, which thinks instinctively and impulsively.

The animal soul, who animates our bodies, draws us to the desires of the flesh. The G-dly soul, who shines through the mind, keeps on reminding us to do, not what feels right, but what is right.

The G-dly soul inside the body, our identity as human beings, is life itself. The body which is heavy and lethargic conceals and hides this inner soul. We need transcendence to rise above and go beyond the wants of the body in order to successfully allow the soul to express itself.

To live life, real life, not just the body being alive, a person needs the unhindered and unimpeded flow from the soul. However, as the soul coming first through the intellectual mind tries to make its way down to our heart and emotions and to influence the rest of our body, encounters bottleneck traffic. This is the shape and form of the narrow straights that exist between the head and the heart namely the neck.

Pharaoh was a wicked king over the land of Egypt, who kept the Jewish souls in servitude. He was assisted, the Bible tells us, by three servants, the butler, baker and butcher.

In Hebrew, the letters that spell “Pharaoh” can also mean the neck. “Egypt” in Hebrew can also mean constraints, and the first letters of the three servants spell, impure.

Mysticism explains that in a person’s neck, his Pharaoh - constraints, there are three major vessels corresponding to the three above servants. The baker is represented by the esophagus, the butcher is represented by the carotid artery and blood vessels and the butler is represented by the trachea. These three servants symbolize the resistance in the neck, between the head and heart.

The bottleneck that holds back the influence of the mind over the heart, and gives the heart and emotions in which the animal soul expresses itself, strength to resist the intellect are these three vessels. When a person continually indulges himself in physical enjoyment for its own sake, like eating – the baker – or is immersed in general pleasures, the butler – and identifies all his enthusiasm and heat of the blood in materialism - the butcher, it will strengthen the pharaoh in the neck to keep the soul in bondage.

When a person lives in order to eat and to enjoy, and his focus in life is materialism, the blockage is fortified. The more a person is into materialism, the more he is desensitized from intellectualism and G-dliness, and the animal soul is strengthened

When a person learns and gains the habit to ignore these impulses and instead of living to eat, he eats in order to live, as King Solomon says, “someone who guards his mouth and tongue, (this person) guards his soul from harms and troubles.”

That is why the Jews had to run away from Pharaoh. A person must escape the clutches of this terrible pattern. The more a person gives in to a bully the stronger the bully becomes. When a person allows himself to be manipulated by the commands of his own Pharaoh and his attendants, the more he gives in to materialism and reinforces these habits, patterns and strengthening of the body of flesh, the more difficult he makes it for the soul and the mind to be successful in influencing and harnessing the emotions.

To be continued….