Courageous Hitbodedut - Part III
Excerpt from Where Earth and Heaven Kiss: A Guide To Rebbe Nachman's Path Of Meditation by Rabbi Ozer Bergman:
The peace you gain as a result of courageous hitbodedut won't go unnoticed. Others will feel it as well, without your having to say a word to them. Your courage to become stronger can have an amazing effect on other people.
As a result of one courageous hitbodedut that a friend of mind had, he called an old acquaintance of his to say, "I thought of the fight we had and how we stopped collaborating. I want you to know that I was going through some rough times. It wasn't your fault." His acquaintance had watched several of his other friendships go sour in a brief span of time, and was despondent. It meant the world to him to hear someone tell him that it wasn't his fault. My friend told me, "The hitbodedut that got me to make that phone call was worth a million bucks."
Some people justify not having courageous hitbodedut by saying, "I'll just move on," or "It's enough that I know about it." "It might upset her" is another way to avoid facing a session of courageous hitbodedut. Rebbe Nachman teaches that doing hitbodedut only in your head isn't enough. It's in the speaking that the transformation occurs.
Your courage also might be contagious. Imagine how fearless other might become once they've seen your example. Your courage can ripple out and change the world. People have told me, "You know, after you called me, I started to think. So I picked up the phone and called..."
However, there are no guarantees that the immediate results will be exactly what you pray for. Even when the ultimate outcome is positive, it may be accompanied by a calamitous price, perhaps one worse than you feared. If that happens, remember that the true outcome is your Partner's doing. You had been squeezing the calamity into a box in order to avoid it. Now it's time to trust God and let Him run the universe as He will. As Rabbi Akiva said, "Everything the Merciful One does is for the best" (Berakhot 60b).
Perhaps this is a good time to say that having courageous hitbodedut can lead to bankruptcy, prison, death or even worse. The spiritual warrior realizes this, puts truth and love above all, and accepts the outcome with grace. You're fully responsible for any actions you take as a result of reading this book. In fact, that's kind of the point! (If acting on your courageous hitbodedut could have legal or medical consequences, I recommend consulting a lawyer, doctor or other appropriate professional first so you know what you are getting into.)
There are things that should not be said to other people, even if they should be said to God. If and when you decide to clear the air, take care to minimize others' hurt feelings. You have a responsibility to speak with compassion and to speak responsibly. Take responsibility for what you have done. Avoid blaming.
No matter how compassionately or gently you share the truth, the other person may feel pain. That may be unpleasant or gut wrenching, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe that's meant to be. If you speak honestly and not vindictively, it usually does more good than harm. It's important to note that, "It might upset him/her" ranks high on the all-time list of excuses for wimping out.
© Copyright 2007 Breslov Research Institute
Part II - Here