Da Es Atzmecha:
Evil is but a garment:
1.There are 3 forms of expression; thoughts, feelings, actions. These can come from the soul or the body.
2. Chazal: a person's real essence-soul- is only good. Positive thoughts, feelings, and actions come from here.
The neshama is eternal, pure and clean.
3.Yetzer hara: external force that covers a person's essence and motivates him to act improperly. All negative thoughts, feelings and actions come from here.
4. You only have to uncover the good that is already within you-Hashem planted it in each person. "There is no need to acquire good behaviors, good qualities, and good feelings". You are all of those things- it is your true essence.
Baal Shem Tov:
Three part avoda: hachna'ah (subjugation), havdala (separation), hamtaka (sweetening)
Basic Preparation: Self Awareness:
This avoda begins with the mind. First must know who is the real "I".
"I am a pure, clean, and devoid of evil. I am a soul."
What is the proper attitude toward sin?
If we do something wrong, the yetzer hara grabs onto the deed and sends us thoughts that throw us into sadness and regret that could last for days. BUT if we see ourselves as a soul- then we put it in perspective, and get rid of the "garments" that we don't want to wear. (4 steps of teshuva)
Origin of self misconceptions:
Eating from eitz hadaas: one explanation: "From the day you eat from it, you will die": Instead of man seeing himself as "full of vitality, by improving himself and then others, man would see himself in a self-destructive way. Such a perspective is akin to suicide" (pg 54) you are blocking the light of your soul from shining forth.
Elokai, neshama shenasata bi, tehora hi: realize when we say: Hashem, the soul You placed in me is pure, this is the truth. When you know you are your soul, and your soul is pure and untainted, then you can live in and receive insight from the light of your soul.
Practical Effort: (what to DO)
1. Two times a day if you notice something negative (in thoughts, feelings, or actions), say to yourself : wow, that is a setback, but I am pure. (I will drop this garment that isn't useful to me.)
2. Set aside one to five minutes a day to repeat to yourself- to instill in your consciousness: "who is the "I"? the "I" is a holy pure entity created by Hashem. It has no faults, not even a small scratch. Anything I see in myself that is negative merely comes from the garment that is over my pure soul."
We are laying the foundation now. Have patience with yourself, (impatience can be seen as a garment over your soul).
Please begin reading chapter 3 and email me with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
31. We can be spatially close to something and be unaware (germs)
32. Can be very close to relative/friend and feel far because not aware that the person is near.
33. We are spatially, familial, and friendship close with Hashem, but don't feel it in our heart.
34. Must toil to merit to recognize Hashem, not through intellectual knowledge, but a perception of the soul- not through abstract definitions - must experience this on your own to understand this.
35. (yaakov and yosef- strongest attachment was short lived) However, with Hashem we can be in state of always attached and bound with Him=this is the “soul's inner bond with Hashem. This is the condition of a Jew who is in touch with his true inner self.”
36. Even when on cel phone be in state of attached to Hashem. This is the “only unseverable bond” that a person can have in this world and next one. A true friend is Hashem, take Him everywhere, He will never abandon you even for a moment.
37. The greater the soul's closeness with Hashem, the more he will sense Hashem next to Him.
38. First decide if you want to feel attached at all times, if not, daven to Hashem that you should.
39. Ramchal: “Man is created solely to delight in Hashem and enjoy the radiance of His shechinah.”- whatever attached to in this world is mirrored in the World to Come. "If man does not want to cleave to Hashem, what will he do in Gan Eden?"
40.Take as much time as you need to recognize your life is solely for deveikus to Hashem. Then begin to identify a path that will bring you there. But first we need to be clear that our "entire true purpose of life - closeness and deveikus to Hashem."
Continue looking at the card to remind you of your purpose two times a day and please read next ten sections; 40-50.