Living In Balance

A Mother and her five-year-old son were talking about what he learned in kindergarten that day. The mother let her mind wander while her son was speaking. He began tapping on her knee and said, “Mommy, listen to me!” “But I am listening,” replied the mother. “No, you’re not,” said the son, “You’re not listening in your eyes!” It’s time to pay more attention to your loved ones and people around you.

It is very easy in our busy, very connected, sometimes 24/7 world, to find ourselves mired in our own space. Just one more text message, another email and I’m done. By the time we know it, the minutes and hours just pass by us and our loved ones often feel “cheated,” hurt and lonely.

We make so much time for ourselves and our technologies; we connect with hundreds, sometimes thousands of people a day through social media and the internet. But often, we forget/neglect to connect with the people we love and care about the most. They somehow tend to take a back seat to everyone and everything else. We may rationalize in our heads, “S/He will be here no matter what,” or, “They understand, I don’t need to worry about them.”

The truth is that s/he may not understand, and the person you love most may not be there if you don’t stop to look up from your constant texting, emailing and social networking, and start listening with “your eyes.” Don’t get me wrong, I am a big proponent of social networking and the technologies which enhance our lives in ways we have never imagined before. After all, I can often be seen in the halls and walls of Twitter and Facebook, chatting away and making connections. The key is BALANCE.

How can we live in BALANCE? Kabbalah teaches that when we take words and break them down, hidden meanings and messages may be found (this is especially powerful with Hebrew letters, with which Kabbalah is written). Let’s break down the word BALANCE

To live in BALANCE:

Be – We are human beings, so be in the here and now.

Aware – of your surroundings, emotional and physical state.

Love – with all your heart and soul from a place of light  blessings.

Attentive – Pay attention to what your inner core is saying.

Natural – Be yourself, in your ‘natural’ state.

Communicate – with your soul and the world around you.

Evolve – ebb and flow through and with life.

When we live in BALANCE, we have less stress and we pay more attention to the needs of our loved ones, and the needs of our deep inner selves. Our Neshama (soul/breath) is lighter, freer and full of positive energy.

As you read this, you may be saying, “OK, Rabbi, it all sounds great, but How can I practically be in BALANCE in this busy, often media hyped world?”

The answer is simple. STOP. Turn off the texting, email, Internet for 5 minutes a day (If you can spare more than five minutes it would be ideal, but realistically you may only have five minutes a day and that’s great). Now, take a deep breath in. Then, slowly release your breath, take your time don’t rush it. With the breath, release any tensions/anxieties you may have.

Sit in the quietness for the remainder of your uninterrupted time and feel your whole physical and emotional self-become lighter, more excited. When the ‘time is up,’ reach out to one or more of your most important loved one (and yes, you may do so via phone or video chat, text or email), and say “I Love You!”

Taking a complete day of rest (Shabbat), at week’s end, where you totally turn off all media and solely focus on family, friends, good food and joyous occasions, is another way to be in BALANCE.

By the way, the word for breath in Hebrew is נשימה N’sheemah, which comes from the root word of נשמה N’shamah (or soul). It is written is Genesis 2:7 –
“Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. “

When you take a deep breath you nourish your body and soul. When you take a deep breath and become more aware, you also take the soul to higher levels of well being.

So, take a deep breath and appreciate the positive people and things in your life! Remember to Be in BALANCE. Also, remember to turn off your mobile world once in a while and connect with your loved ones, who matter the most, in a real, sincere way. BE there with your whole heart and soul not just with your ears, and you will experience great Joy and Excitement in your life.

Exercise

Yes, I know, you want to try the exercise mentioned above, but scrolling up is just too difficult 😃 so here it is again:

STOP. Turn off the texting, email, Internet for 5 minutes a day (If you can spear more than five minutes it would be ideal, but realistically you may only have five minutes a day and that’s great).

Now, take a deep breath In. Then, slowly release your breath, take your time don’t rush it. With the breath, release any tensions/anxieties you may have.

Also, dedicate one day of the weekend to rest, relaxation and family/friends time while turning off texting, emailing etc. (Shabbat).

For your copy of Rabbi Shai’s book, click on the image below

Rabbi Shai Specht-Sandler

Living What You Love

We could all use more LOVE in our lives, and the more we give the more we get.

Samuel ibn Magrela was a Spanish-Jewish poet of the eleventh century who was vizier to the king of Granada. He was cursed one day in the presence of the king, who commanded Samuel to punish the offender by cutting out his tongue. The Jewish vizier, however, treated his enemy kindly, whereupon the curses became blessings.

When the king next noticed the offender, he was astonished that Samuel had not carried out his command. Samuel replied, “I have torn out his angry tongue, and given him instead a kind one.” The Rabbis rightly declare, “Who is mighty? S/He who makes his enemy a friend.” (Avot d’Rabbi Nathan 23)

We can take this statement even further and say “Who is mighty? S/He who makes her/himself a friend.” Lack of love for ourselves inhibits our compassion toward others. When we make friends with ourselves, there are no obstacles to opening our hearts and minds to others. Of course we have to walk a fine line between loving/valuing ourselves and being too self-involved/absorbed.

Loving oneself certainly doesn’t mean indulging oneself. Loving is an attitude towards yourself that most people don’t have, because most people know things about themselves which are not desirable. Everybody has innumerable attitudes, reactions, likes and dislikes which they’d be better off without.

Self Judgment is made and while one likes one’s positive attitudes, one dislikes the others. With that comes suppression of those aspects of yourself that you’re not pleased with. You don’t want to know about them and don’t acknowledge them. That’s one way of dealing with your-self, which can be detrimental to growth.

Another unskillful way is to dislike that part of yourself which appears negative and every time it arises you blame yourself, which makes matters twice as bad as they were before. With that comes fear and very often aggression.
If you wants to deal with yourself in a balanced way, it’s not useful to pretend that the unpleasant part doesn’t exist, I am talking about those aggressive, irritable, conceited tendencies.

The charge of “I’m so wonderful” or “I’m so terrible” is defused. We are neither wonderful nor terrible. Everyone is a human being with all the potential and all the obstructions. If you can love that human being, the one that is “me” with all its faculties and tendencies, then you can love others realistically, usefully and helpfully.

If we look at ourselves in that manner, we will learn to love ourselves in a wholesome way. Just as a mother, who at the risk of her life loves and protects her child… Become your own mother! If we want to have a relationship with ourselves that is realistic and conducive to growth, then we need to become our own mother. A sensible mother can distinguish between that which is useful for her child and that which is detrimental, but she doesn’t stop loving the child when s/he misbehaves.

This may be the most important aspect to look at in ourselves. Everyone, at one time or another, misbehaves in thought, speech or action. So what do we do with that? What does a mother do? She tells the child not to do it again, loves the child as much as she’s always loved her/him and just gets on with the job of bringing up her child. Maybe we can start to bring up ourselves.

When you Love yourself enough, you will move through your Heart to the negative pole, and begin the work of bringing all your negative thoughts, feelings, words, and actions to consciousness.

The energy of your Self-Love will begin the movement of these negative patterns through your heart, and toward the positive pole of your soul. It takes stamina, courage, strength, relentless attention, and great Self-Love, to move from inertia into momentum toward the positive pole.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

Carrot Egg or Coffee Bean?

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

It seemed that, as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” the young woman replied. The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity – boiling water – but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened! The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” the mother asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?” Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong but, with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit but, after a death, a breakup, or a financial hardship, does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?

The Eight Spiritual Essentials

Based on the teachings of Rabbi Joseph H. Gelberman

Think of these “essentials” as the eight rungs on a ladder leading upward toward greater consciousness.

  1. The first rung is to be One with the self, the soul, and שכינה Shekinah – Creator’s indwelling feminine presence.
  2. The second rung is to forgive the past and look forward to the future with Joy and excitement.
  3. The third rung is to open the mind, letting the soul fly into unknown space.
  4. The fourth rung is to consider what our true mission in life is, and to be totally Alive to that mission
  5. The fifth rung is to be ready once again to hear the message given at Mount Sinai, to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
  6. The sixth rung is to learn the art and science of living spiritually; Healthy in body, mind and soul.
  7. The seventh rung is to experience genuine love and know the difference between pleasure, happiness and joy.
  8. The eighth rung is to reunite the divided self in order to know the glory of Oneness of the Universe.

One of the most important concepts to remember is that without human effort, the Creator will remain unredeemed. Creator only lives where Creator is invited. In other words, we are responsible for Creator’s intervention on earth.

If you want the Creator in your life, all you need to do is call. This is one of the important keys to understanding of spirituality. There’s an interactive arrangement between The Light and yourself.

Spirituality is a quest for true knowledge and understanding that will lead you to explore the very depths of your heart and soul in order to receive Love & Light.

May the light always shine brightly on you and may Joy find you at every corner.

Exercise

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Meditate on the following passages and invite The Creator to a dialogue as you do so:

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May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O CREATOR, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
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I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
(Psalm 77:12)
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Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. (Psalm 119:27)
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A Wealthy Beggar

A Story of Inner Light

One day, Sam, a poor man came home from work tired and exhausted. He begged The Creator for just a little treasure. All of a sudden, Sam noticed a little purse lying near his feet. A heavenly voice said to him: “Take this purse as a gift from Creator. You will find a single coin inside, and the moment you take it out, another coin will take its place – until you throw the purse into the river. The moment you spend the first coin, the purse will lose its magic powers.”

By that evening, Sam had succeeded in gathering a full sack of coins from the purse, but there was no bread left in the house, because he would not spend a single coin to buy food for himself. “I will gather another sack of money, and only then throw the purse into the river and begin to spend the coins.” That day Sam asked a neighbor for bread and on the following day he went out to beg for bread in the streets, because, as he said, “It won’t do me any harm if I fill another sack with coins before I spend the money and throw the wonderful purse into the river.” And so, he continued to beg for bread and to gather coins until the end of his days, never spending anything because he did not want to part with his wonderful purse. Sam died a very rich man and his home was filled with sacks of coins – but he died still a poor beggar.

Sam did not realize that in order to truly change his life, he needed more than just money and material possessions. He failed to realize that what he really needed was a different outlook, a change of direction. Even when his wishes/prayers were answered, he was “stuck” in a rut and couldn’t see beyond his negative feelings of fear, greed, the self-perception that he was nothing but a poor beggar.

Often, like Sam, we don’t realize our potential and strengths. We wish to have this, and hope to become that. Then, when our prayers are answered, we forget to enjoy what we have. As a result, we keep it all to ourselves and forget to share with world.

It’s easy to get caught up in negativity and self-loathing; sometimes it may even give us comfort. But consider this; instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have, that everyone else is missing. The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. The difference between ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ are only three letters — Three letters that determine your life’s direction. Share your inner light without fear or doubt. Light is good from whatever lamp it shines.

Archangel Ariel

It was a gloomy day. The sun was hiding behind a veil of dark gray clouds. I woke up feeling a little down. As the day progressed nothing seemed to “go right.” Nothing seemed to flow. I felt alone (though I was surrounded by people). I felt as though I was “stuck” in the throes of life with no way to move forward.

That night, I lay in bed praying, crying, wondering…

“Ribono shel Olam (Almighty)” I cried, “Please give me a sign. I’m feeling lost and afraid. I feel like I am not going anywhere. I BEG you to show me THE LIGHT and free me of this oppression!”
Tears were falling down my cheeks and my eyes were closed. I was clutching my fists and holding my breath.

Then, a whisper, “Open your eyes… Open your eyes…” I slowly opened my eyes and saw a MAGICAL site! It was MAGNIFICENT and the whole room basked in the glow. His robe was a dazzling combination of gold, blue, silver, and although I could not see his face, he was beaming with a Golden Light. “Who are you?” I asked. He answered, “Ariel Hamalach. I have come to you with a message…” (The word for Angel in Hebrew is Malach, which means, messenger).

I wanted to ask him questions; I needed to scream and shout…
Ariel put his finger in the air, and with a loving gesture signaled for me to calm down and become quiet. “I have a message for you from EL-SHADAI, but first you must compose yourself. Wipe those tears away and send the ego home.”

I did as Ariel advised, took some deep breaths and reached a state of relaxation and excitement. What was he going to tell me?

I took another deep breath in and then exhaled out slowly. Ariel seemed pleased. The Golden Light became brighter.

A soft voice, it could have been a tune – Ariel began to speak and the message was, “Life is not living in a waiting room— it’s waiting in a living room.”

THANK YOU Archangel Ariel!

The whole world is a very narrow bridge and the most important thing is not to be afraid.
-Reb Nachman

Las Vegas wedding Rabbi

Archangel Ariel is the angel of nature. Carolyn lagattuta/Getty Images. Updated November 16, 2015. Ariel means "altar" or "lion of God." Other spellings include Ari'el, Arael, and Ariael.

A Feather and a Bag of Gold

A Story by Rabbi Eli Mallon M.Ed., LMSW

Once, a boy walked down a country road.

Between two fingers, he held a feather that he’d found. He liked to look at it and imagine all the things he could do with it.

As he walked, he met an old neighbor, who was carrying two heavy bags.

The boy asked the old man what was in the bags.

The old man said, “Gold coins. If you’ll carry one of the bags, I’ll give you what’s inside it. It’s more gold than I need and it’ll make me happy to give it to you.”

The boy said, “Yes.”

But soon after he took the bag, the boy grew bored.

So he said to the old man, “I’m sorry, but I’d rather look at my feather.”

And he gave the bag of gold back to the old man and continued on his way, enjoying the feather and imagining all the things he could do with it.

I read a comment by a writer, who said: To believe that God is good, we’d have to “abandon our rationality completely.”

I thought of all the times when, in prayer, I gave up my idea of what’s right and wrong or good and bad, and accepted that God knows far better than I do. I thought of the relief I felt, of the Presence that I experienced, when I did.

Our rationality is like a feather, and God’s goodness is like a bag of gold.

When we give up our own sense of “good and bad” and accept God’s goodness, we get back infinitely more than we give.

Las Vegas Rabbi Shai Specht-Sandler | Blog
Rabbi Eli Mallon
Click HERE For R'Eli's Blog

Kabbalah Healing Meditation

In Kabbalah, names like symbols are believed to possess magical powers. There was even a ritualistic exercise that the early Kabbalists practiced called “putting on the names.”

These mystics actually clothed themselves in robes that were inscribed with all the sacred names of God. This costume was an external reminder of the power that these holy names contained.

While wrapped in this mystic gown, the Kabbalists would begin an undistracted meditation on God’s various holy names. This would eventually induce some kind of visionary experience, which provided answers to the mystic’s questions.

The ancient Kabbalists also stressed that the invocation of God’s names did not compel the Creator to respond to the will of the mystic who invoked the Divine Presence.

Even today’s Kabbalists believe that they can increase their power by chanting such sacred names. They identify with the centuries of power enfolded in the use of these holy names, confident that by reciting God’s names they will be connected to the all-powerful source of healing.

This sense of connection is also why prayer is so important in healing. It automatically connects you to a healing source of power. For your prayer to be effective, you must experience a deep, from the heart, connection with the Almighty when you pray.

Here is a story that illustrates the importance of calling upon God from the heart and soul rather than from the intellectual faculties.

There was a wealthy Jewish lady who lived along Park Avenue. This woman was well-educated and spoke French and a couple of other languages as well. She was in the hospital giving birth and was surrounded by two or three nurses.

The woman began to scream and call upon God in French. “Monsieur, I’m suffering.” She shouted. The startled nurse called the woman’s doctor, Dr. Schwartz.
The doctor asked the nurse what his patient was screaming about, because he didn’t understand French. When the nurse translated what she was saying, the doctor replied: “Let her scream.”

Two hours later the woman was screaming again. This time she was shouting “Jesus help me, help me.” Again the nurse called the doctor. He listened and said, “Let her scream.”

Several hours later the nurse was back on the phone with the doctor. “What is she screaming now?” he asked.”Shema Yisrael,” the nurse replied. “I’ll be right over,” the doctor said. He knew that this time the cry came straight from her heart – from her own spiritual tradition. The rest of her imploring was intellectual concepts that she had picked up along the way.

So if you want to draw power for your healing from the highest source, you must cry out from the heart. Your plea for help must come from the deepest and most authentic level of your soul.

Chanting one of God’s sacred names can also help you remove fear from your life. You are calling upon your partner who is always there to lend a hand. You are also acknowledging your awareness of your union with spirit, and that is almost certain to light up the darkness.

Kabbalists believe that by repeating God’s name, you are binding yourself to the spiritual world, and such binding opens a channel for Divine assistance. So do as the mystics do. Practice this closeness and oneness with God – called Yichud – and it will help to bring healing energy into your life.
Here is the exercise I would like you to try:

Exercise

Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed. Do some breathing exercises (breath in deeply and then exhale slowly until there is no breath. Repeat this process several times).

Now, choose one of God’s holy names that you most resonate with. It may be Adonai, Adoshem, El, Yehovah, Ein Soph, or Rebono shel Olam – which translates into “Master of the Universe.”

Chant the name you have selected seven times. Chat it with gusto and with a loving and joyful heart. However, if you are not the chanting type, it is perfectly alright to repeat the name you selected during a silent meditation while imagining the force and power behind this name.

Bring all the emotion you can muster into the repetition of this name. Do so for eight minutes. This is the Kabbalistic number which symbolizes God’s name.

As you repeat the name, try to feel the presence of the Shekhinah (God’s female emanation) within. Receive the flow of divine energy. Now send that energy within you to places that may need healing and pain relief.

Next, take a few deep breaths, relax, and think of yourself as healed. Imagining that is a powerful affirmation of faith. I believe that by visualizing your prayer as one that has already been answered, you are taking action in an optimistic way.

You are affirming your faith and are preparing yourself to expect good results. From this point on simply be aware of improvements in your condition. Feel a sense of gratitude for the healing that you have been given from the Source of All Life. Say, “Ki Tov!” It is Good.

A wealthy Beggar – A Story of Inner Light

One day, Sam, a poor man came home from work tired and exhausted. He begged The Creator for just a little treasure. All of a sudden, Sam noticed a little purse lying near his feet. A heavenly voice said to him: “Take this purse as a gift from Creator. You will find a single coin inside, and the moment you take it out, another coin will take its place – until you throw the purse into the river. The moment you spend the first coin, the purse will lose its magic powers.”

By that evening, Sam had succeeded in gathering a full sack of coins from the purse, but there was no bread left in the house, because he would not spend a single coin to buy food for himself. “I will gather another sack of money, and only then throw the purse into the river and begin to spend the coins.” That day Sam asked a neighbor for bread and on the following day he went out to beg for bread in the streets, because, as he said, “It won’t do me any harm if I fill another sack with coins before I spend the money and throw the wonderful purse into the river.” And so he continued to beg for bread and to gather coins until the end of his days, never spending anything because he did not want to part with his wonderful purse. Sam died a very rich man and his home was filled with sacks of coins – but he died still a poor beggar.

Sam did not realize that in order to truly change his life, he needed more than just money and material possessions. He failed to realize that what he really needed was a different outlook, a change of direction. Even when his wishes/prayers were answered, he was “stuck” in a rut and couldn’t see beyond his negative feelings of fear, greed, the self perception that he was nothing but a poor beggar.

Often, like Sam, we don’t realize our potential and strengths. We wish to have this, and hope to become that. Then, when our prayers are answered, we forget to enjoy what we have. As a result, we keep it all to ourselves and forget to share with world.

It’s easy to get caught up in negativity and self loathing, sometimes it may even give us comfort. But consider this; instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing. The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible. The difference between can and cannot are only three letters. Three letters that determine your life’s direction. Share your inner light without fear and or doubt. Light is good from whatever lamp it shines.