Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Courageous Hitbodedut - Part II

Excerpt from Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Guide To Rebbe Nachman's Path Of Meditation by Rabbi Ozer Bergman:

Why Dig Up The Past?

Shouldn't it be buried? Isn't the past just the past? The answer to that depends on your feeling about digging it up again. If you have absolutely no negative reaction when you sit down and think about what happened - assuming that you've already honestly appraised what you did and its outcome - then you may not need to readdress it in hitbodedut. On the other hand, if you;re immediately plagued by feelings of guilt, anger, sadness or love - any unexpressed emotion - then give it some time in hitbodedut.

Your sessions of courageous hitbodedut will show you were your barriers are, where you're most frightened.

It certainly easier to stay in a cocoon. Yet if you are serious about making progress, sooner rather than later you'll have to beat your wings against the wall of your cocoon in order to explore new realms of your joyous flowing self, to live unafraid, to be you.

Skeletons In Your Closet

Courageous hitbodedut is the best way to rid yourself of another pariah: the skeleton in your closet. Everyone has at least one. A "skeleton in the closet" is anything you did in the past that you feel was wrong, that gnaws at you, or that you would like the world to never know about. You can continue walking chained to your skeleton, weighed down by your heavy fears. Or you can choose to be courageous, to come clean and decide that living an honest Jewishness is the most important thing in your life. If you are genuinely willing to risk everything you hold dear to tell the truth, your growth and peace will be unsurpassed.

Let's start with some easy examples: What do you regret, but you have never apologized for? What are you still feeling guilty about? Who are you avoiding because you feel uncomfortable about some past interaction? What are you afraid that people will discover about you?

Think about it. Is there anything about you or what you have done that you want to hide from? Pause now for five minutes and make an inventory. If it's not Shabbat or a Jewish holiday, put it in writing. It's worth it.

Then there are the more difficult examples: Have you ever stolen something valuable? Have you had an affair that is still secret? Are you terrified that others will find out you're not the wonderful person they think you are? Did you ever exploit anyone? What lies have you told that you pray will never be exposed? You know what you have been carrying around; add it to the list.

No matter how small or how big, you can be free of it. If you find the matter too big to clean up right now, or if the fear has to great a hold on you, it can be handled a couple of ways. It can all be over five minutes from now - albeit with shallow breath and sweaty hands - or it can be a process.

When you clear something up, it always works out in the long run. The more fearful you are, the greater the potential for growth. If the consequences are not to your liking, then there's a chance for even more growth. So get on with it. Identify a skeleton. Start with a small one to build your muscles, if you like. Or start with a big one and work down. Make your lists (the ones mentioned above) - and start talking.


© Copyright 2007 Breslov Research Institute

Part I - Here

Part III - continued tomorrow [here]


At August 29, 2007 at 6:52:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this classical hisbodedus as described in Breslov texts, and/or as practiced by Breslov Hasidim?

At August 29, 2007 at 8:25:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the matter involves wronging another person, what is the role of hisbodedus, to ask HaShem for advice on how to make it right with that person?

At August 30, 2007 at 4:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One important thing to note is that if, by speaking up to the person you have wronged, you are putting your life in danger (literally.... because that person is violent or dangerous).....then it's probably advisable to consult a Rav first.
It is not necessary to put your life on the line - is it?


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