The rabbi in my Shul gave over two thoughts to have during Hakafos on Simchas Torah. Perhaps you can bookmark this post to read next year before Simchas Torah!
The first was was introduced with a mashal. A Jew came to the regional Yerid, trade show, with the intention of making lots of money. With this in mind, he took out a room in the most expensive hotel in town. He enjoyed the luxuries of the room as well as the scrumptious meals every night after "work." After a few days the Maître` di noticed that he was wearing the same cloths every day and that he seemed to be eating the food with a little too much gusto to be accustomed to such fare. He approached him with a copy of the bill, and asked him, "I hope you are happy with your accomodations here?" "Oh yes, I'm quite pleased," the Jew replied. "Very good," answered the Maître` di, "because I just wanted to make you aware of the bill that you have run up. Here it is. Is this correct?" With eyes popping out of his head at seeing such a high number, the Yid fessed up.
"To tell you the truth, I have been totally unsuccessful at the Trade Show and and I have no money at all to pay this bill." Promptly, the Maître` di motioned for the hotels goons to come over. Knowing that they would probably kill him the Yid pleaded, "I know that I cannot pay this bill, but listen. I am the best dancer that any of you have seen around here. If you let me dance, I guarentee you that you will attract more customers here and their business will more than pay for my bill." The Maître` di saw no harm in giving him a chance, and it happened just as the Yid had promised. He danced and the hotel got more buisness, which more than made up for the Yid's bill.
The nimshal is that over the course of the year, we enjoy health, family, a home, parnasa, and many of the other services Hashem provides in the world. But at the end of the year, our balance sheets don't add up. We don't have the Torah, Mitzvos, and ma'asim tovim to "pay" for our stay. When Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur come, our life is on the line as we realize that our life is on the line because our balance sheet doesn't add up! So we tell Hashem, just wait until Simchas Torah! Then we will dance and bring ourselves and our children so much closer to Hashem that He will receive more Torah and Mitzvos in the future because of our dancing on Simchas Torah than he would have received had he taken us from this world because of our unpaid bill.
The idea is that we can think about the fact that we're validating our existance this past year and giving motivation, inspiration, and direction to our upcoming year through the dancing on Simchas Torah.
The second mashal is the following: A Jew is the tenant on his land and the landlord is a kind gentile, landowner. After three months of unpaid rent, the gentile landlord calls over his Jewish tenant and asks about the rent. Appolagetically, the Jewish tenant tells him that he has been unsuccessful in busniess recently, and he cannot pay the rent. The landlord responds that he shouldn't worry about it. He gives him a three month extensions and takes 10% off the balance.
After the three months, the Yid is heartbroken to admit to his landlord that he still hasn't been successful and cannot pay the rent that he owes. The landlord kindly gives him another 3 months and another 10% off.
After the last three months, the Jew feels so dejected about his failures until now that he is totally broken and lacks any self-confidence to succeed in business. He comes to his landlord empty-handed. The landlord tells him that since he's always been a good tenant and paid his rent ontime, he really doesn't want another tenant. He totally forgives all of the past-due rent and just asks him to make future rent payments on-time. The Jewish tenant is so happy and ashamed at the same time to have such relief from debt due simply to the kindness of the landlord.
Determined not to take advantage of his benefactor, he gets all his family together, and he reveals to them all of the difficulties that he is going through and the whole story with the landlord. They are very understanding and collect enough money between them to pay back the landlord and give the Jew enough money to make a new start for himself. He pays back the landlord and using the money that he received on loan from his family, along with the confidence that he gained from the whole process, he succesfully turns his fortune around and "lives happily ever after."
The nimshal is: We run up such a debt from the whole previous year where our ma'asim do not match all that we receive. On R"H and Y"K, we are given a free break from our Landlord in shamayim, and we are granted life for another year. On Simchas Torah, we call up our family, our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef and Dovid Malka Meshicha in each of the seven hakafos. "lend" the zechuyos we need to pay off our debts from the previous year and make a new start with chizuk for the coming year. Therefore, he suggests thinking of each of these "ushpizin" during each of the 7 hakafos and think about how they are lending their "midos" for our benefit.
In the first hakafa, think about the mida of chesed we receive from Avraham. During the seoncd think about the Gevura from Yitzchak. In the third Hakafa, we think of the Tiferes of Yaakov. During the fouth hakafa we should focus on the mida of Netzach from Moshe, and in the fifth hakafa, we draw down the mida of Hod from Aharon Hakohein. In the sixth hakafa, we should focus on the mida of Yesod to draw strength in the areas of shmiras haeinayim and shemiras habris that we draw from Yosef. And in the fifth hakafa, we should think about the mida of malchus that we receive from Dovid Hamelech.
If you can remember any of these for next year, or use my "Simchas Torah" category link on the right sidebar, I hope these teachings and kavanos for simchas Torah will be helpful!