Out To The Field – Living In The Present

Continued from last week here:

Likutey Moharan I:282 – Week 6

Continuing to focus on correcting my behavior instead of my youngest child’s behavior, I had another important insight during hisbodedus. The insight was that another display of my chutzpah was how I was routinely annoyed by my youngest child’s constant request to go to a store and buy something while I would go to online stores on a daily basis looking to buy more seforim. Aside from aquiring a gigantic library of seforim that I did not even have the time to go through, my routine purchases were also robbing me of the ability to live in the present since I would then be focused on the date in a day or two when then sefer would finally be delivered via UPS. It also robbed me of the ability to live in the present since when the sefer finally did arrive, I would look to try to steal time away once I got home to peruse its contents. This, unfortunately, often came at the expense of spending time with my wife and children.

Realizing that living in the present was also a part of Azamra as Chaya Rivka Zwolinski pointed out in her recent posting, I decided to do something to remedy this situation. My yetzer hara immediately suggested that I cease all online purchases for a month’s time since he knew I would fall flat on my face if I tried to take that on.  Understanding that proceeding according to my yetzer hara’s grandiose  suggestion was a guaranteed recipe for failure, I resolved to cease all online purchase (or even visiting an online store) for just that day (and I continued it one day at time afterwards).

The next morning, I had another important insight during hisbodedus. With a head that felt like it was full of rocks, I initially felt no connection whatsoever. Then, I started discussing this feeling with Hashem, “Hashem, I know You are here and hear every word I say. Yet, I cannot sense Your presence at all! It feels like You don’t even exist. It feels like I am making You up as a a figment of my imagination. However, I believe in You and I know that You do exist. You are the only true existence in the world! Please Hashem, fill my heart with emuna. Please let me sense again that You are here again!”

It then dawned on me. The night before, I had remarked in conversation that my community was greatly lacking in emuna. Obviously with this comment, I was speaking in a manner that was the opposite of what the Rebbe taught about in Azamra. I was so focused on applying Azamra to my youngest child that I forgot that I needed to apply it to everyone. By criticizing my community’s lack of emuna, I was once again displaying chutzpa towards Hashem. If I really wanted to be honest, I could make a list of things that I did which could be viewed by others as if I did not have emuna.

Admitting my mistake, I then said, “Hashem, I understand now why I felt as if You were not here. I criticized Your people for something I too am guilty of! Please Hashem, help me for just today not to speak in this manner. Help me see only my community’s nekudos tovos.”

Immediately, I felt Hashem’s presence once again and was able to spend the rest of the hour in hisbodedus speaking easily and with a real sense of connection.

Next week, I will tell you more about how I continued  to live with this lesson.