Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Spiritual Ebb and Flow

Reb Nochum Chernobyler in the first piece on parshas Shmos in Meor Einayim makes reference to something he talks about often. He says that a person's chiyus, his state of being spiritually leibidig ebbs and flows. One's spiritual level is in a constant state of "Ratzo v'shov."

Rebbe Nachman in Likutei Moharan also says that one must be "Baki b'ratzo, baki b'shov." That means that just like you have to do well and accomplish a lot in your "up" times, you have to be an expert in how to navagate your spiritually down, unmotivated times as well. Because if not, you can fall very very far.

I'm feeling now like over the last few weeks generally, I'm in an "up," "ratzo," time. What I'm wondering is this: Like the Meor Einayim said, Tzadikim and beinonim will always go through up and down times. So I know the time of me feeling unmotivated and down spiritually can't be that far off. But I'd like to take on something new now for me to keep with me, as unmotivated as I might feel at that time, when I'm in the "shov" period.

Rebbe Nachman says in Likutei Moharan Tinyana 48 that when you're in the "down" period, even though you feel like you're totally not worthy, nevertheless just hold on tight to the things that you've taken on and are keeping, even if it makes you feel hypocritical. Just brace your self and hold on to what you have till that wave passes over you. So to me, each new thing I can take on for real while I'm riding that positive "ratzo" wave, will be something I'll force myself to keep with me every time I'm in the process of being washed away again.

That way, I will IY"H be washed a little less far with each yerida. One of my rebbes says in the name of Reb Tzadok Hakohen that you don't measure a person by how great he is when he's in his "ratzo" period. Rather you measure him by how great he his when he's down. The true measure of who I am is how high up I can lift that lowest point that I hit in each yerida.

So I better come up with an idea for my new point of growth soon before that yerida hits!

-Dixie Yid


redsneakz said...

I know that you know you're not alone, but I'm in my down cycle right now. I feel a bit lost, but thanks for letting ME know that I'm not alone also.

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Pliskin says that when you are in an "up" state that you should create something called an anchor. This is when you have a good feeling, (which is not constant) and touch something tangible, like a watch or your ear lobe, that is constant. When you do this often enough, you create an anchor. Then, if you are feeling down, you touch your anchor. And by the power of association you will feel the "good" feeling.

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

Thanks Aizer, sounds like great advice. How does it work? Did you try it with any feeling in particular?

-Dixie Yid

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


Thanks for the comment. As you probably know, depression and sadness are some of the most destructive things for a person spiritually. It saps you of your willpower. Like the Alter Rebbe from Lubavitch said, that even though sadness is not one of the 365 negative commandments, it's more destructive than all of the other negative transgressions, because it leads you to them all.

Good luck getting out of it. Read Rebbe Nachman's piece of Mili d'shtusa, how to make yourself joyful. IF you want, I'll find out where you can get your hands on that.

-Dixie Yid