to the reader:
The nature of this
work is research orientated and is thus open to improvement, all
suggestions are welcomed with open arms. The author invites the reader
to become involved in this text to the extent that he will send
feedback that will add to and further this initiative.
Y - That’s only part of it — But an important
part. The theme I’d like to discuss is called "Paradise Living"... With
Hashem’s help, if I can open up the true potential of living in a
Paradise fashion I will have the ‘master key’ to living a life of
maximal value and unity. It is also the number one thing that everyone
is ultimately looking for!!! Paradise living definitions *
Chapter 1: Focusing on the Here and Now *
Chapter 2: Integrating the Inner Child or Lower
Soul level *
Chapter 3: Paradise Living Portraits *
Chapter 4: A summary with other exercises and
future possibilities *
The purpose of this
interview is to create the possibility for a new way to live our lives,
in a state of mind called Paradise. What is being presented is a
formula, some illustrations, explanations and practical exercises to do
(Interviewer): Shalom Yitzchak — I haven’t
interviewed you for ages. Where have you been?
(Yitzchak): I’ve been trying
to gather in all my resources into some kind of central unified
|My personal experience leading up to this interview
I- Did you say resources or Race Horses?! I didn’t
hear you clearly!! [Reader notes are in square brackets: See a previous
research packet called Racehorses which describes an approach to
successful living — for a person who naturally tries many projects or
Y — LOL — (Laughing out loud) … I said resources,
but I guess Racehorses would better describe it- it’s just that most
people don’t know what Racehorses is — so I adjusted myself to maximise
communication with all different types of people.
I — I really appreciate your trying to effectively
communicate in a universal way — that makes my interviewing task of
making you sound understandable that much easier - Anyway — what do you
mean by unifying your resources or Racehorses… What happened — did they
all become scattered and run away — Ha Ha Ha…
Y — That’s exactly what happened in attempting to
accomplish so many things at once. Not that I can’t be
multi-dimensional. It’s just that I want every project and effort to be
unified under some type of central umbrella, mega-project or mission.
I — Why are you so concerned to ‘unify’!
Y — I don’t know, I guess there’s something deep
inside my personality that drives me to know that everything I’m doing
is of ultimate maximal value. Knowing that whatever I’m doing is all
part of some unified super effort satisfies my drive.
I — That’s very insightful — but let me ask you —
can’t you satisfy that drive of yours by simply being totally present
with whatever you’re doing? What I mean is, wouldn’t being totally
focused, with all of your human faculties on whatever comes up in life,
provide ultimate value to whatever you’re doing?
Y- Wow! What a great question — and the truth is
that this type of ‘being here and now’ in total focus does in fact
partially satisfy this drive of mine — All-be-it in a different way
than some unified mega-project— but never mind — I’d like to pick up on
your cue and discuss that point because I have a deep intuition that
focusing on the here and now is one of the things I need to achieve
most, in order to gather my scattered resources into some kind of
I — Ok, fine — So tell me — is that the main theme
of this interview — focusing on the present moment?!
Y - That’s only part of it — But an important part.
The theme I’d like to discuss is called "Paradise Living"... With
Hashem’s help, if I can open up the true potential of living in a
Paradise fashion I will have the ‘master key’ to living a life of
maximal value and unity. It is also the number one thing that everyone
is ultimately looking for!!! Paradise living definitions
I — Hmm… "Paradise Living" — It sounds like some
kind of vacation resort for the super wealthy.
Y — Just between the two of us, I call it
"Paradising", but like I said earlier — I want to communicate in a
universally understood type of way — and "Paradising" might sound too
far out or weird for some people.
|The two elements of Paradise Living
I - I follow you, Mr. "Conservative" … so Please
tell us what in the world is Paradising … Excuse me — Paradise Living -
Y — I’ll make it very simple — Paradise Living
consists of two essential elements: 1) is to be constantly connected to
Hashem, and; 2) is to take pure pleasure in everything that you do.
I - O.K. Let’s get to work! I’d like to ask some
questions to get to the bottom of your "very simple" recipe — which I
can’t see as being simple at all, at least on first glance.
Y - Fair enough — That’s what you and I are here
for. To clarify, you probably want to ask me how one can be constantly
connected to Hashem right?!
I — Right !!
Y - And you probably want to know why this
constant closeness I referred to as "Paradise" right?!
I - Right!!
Y - And then you’re going to want to ask me how in
the world can you experience pure pleasure in everything you do —
I - Right!!
Y - And then you’re probably going to want to know
how a pure pleasure taker can avoid being some type of degenerate
selfish hedonist, who will ultimately wind up destroying himself and
all those within his sphere of influence — Right?!
I - Right!!
Y - Great — Now, do you have any other questions
that you’d like to ask before I get started in my explanations?
I — Yeah, Just one more question: If you know all
the questions that I want to ask you before I ask them so what do you
need me for… you can probably do a better job interviewing yourself.
Y- You’ve got a point there, but on the other hand
I suppose you could come up with some type of angle or question that
I’ve never considered before…but again, like I said you’ve got a point
worth thinking about.
I - Don’t think too hard O.K My friend… You know
with times being tough in the world of making a living and all…
|The first element: Constantly being connected
(The first enquiry)
Y - Don’t concern yourself with all that — I’m
sure you’ll do a great interviewing job — Now let’s get on with it —
To deal with our first question: How can you be
constantly connected to Hashem — Let me start off by saying that this
is something that’s not in the realm of the chosen few — outstanding
saints of the generations — rather it is the lot of every single Jew.
This is the whole point of the six constant mitzvoth which we are all
commanded to keep at every living moment of the day. Very briefly, they
- Knowing with complete trust that there is a G-d
- Not believing in any other power but in Him.
- Knowing that G-d is one
- Loving G-d
- Fearing G-d
- Not going after the desires of your heart and
I — Of course — These are listed on the first page
of the Mishna Brura, and I suppose that if we would all be more serious
about our obligation to be constantly connected to Hashem, it would be
obvious to us all what you’re talking about — but can you tell me why
you call this ‘Paradise’.
|Why the term "Paradise" (The second enquiry)
Y - I’ll tell you very simply — When the first man
(Adam Harishon) was still in Paradise — otherwise referred to as the
Garden of Eden — what was the essence of his experience there?!
I - Before the Sin, he was in a constant state of
Hashem connection right?!
Y - Right!! And the sin’s effect was to plunge him
all mankind outside of this constant connection and outside of Paradise
for all of human history until the time of Mashiach.
I - And you, my friend — would like to bring
Mankind back to Paradise Right?!
Y - Right!! Wouldn’t you? And let me point out -
that is exactly what all of mankind is busy doing right now. Either
consciously or unconsciously by being driven towards this constantly by
Hashem. In short — We’re all working to get back to the Garden — To the
place, consciousness or mindset of man before the sin.
I - O.K, so if you work on these Constant Mitzvot
you could greatly advance yourself and mankind in their historic legacy
of getting back to this pristine Paradise state. I get that — but who
says you are living in Paradise here and now? Isn’t life still full of
non-Paradise elements such as our evil inclination, outer and inner
turmoil to just name a few? Besides all that I thought the Garden of
Eden’s Paradise is only a post-life or a reality that is related to the
future, rather than here and now?
|Is Paradise possible now or only in the future?
Two Torah sources
Y - Now I know why I asked you to be the
interviewer! Your question is so good that I think it will serve as the
pivotal point of this whole interview. You’re right - On first glance
Paradise Living seems to be a thing of the future and not of the
present. Without going into too much of a long-winded explanation, I’d
like to point out a few things which I think the rest of our interview
will only serve to elaborate on. There are two very powerful Torah
sources that discuss this point — namely — the Ramchal’s work "Derech
Hashem" — (The way of Hashem). The first section, 2nd
chapter, 3rd paragraph, which points out the following
[Not quoted literally] The source
of all perfection, well-being and everything good in a persons life is
within reach when he’s connected somehow to Hashem — and the opposite:
i.e. all that’s lacking and negative is when he is not connected.
I- Sounds like a Paradise here and now formula
Y- Right!! And if you want to say that Paradise is
not possible NOW, but only in the future — I refer you to a second
Torah source — An article called "Taamv Urv Ki Tov" (‘Taste it &
see that Torah Living is good’). The first volume of a series of books
is called Netivot Shalom — (The paths of Shalom), and is based on the
lessons of the former Rebbe of Slonim (Z’’tzl). Where he shows that
despite the fact that the true Paradise — Garden of Eden experience is
reserved for the ultimate future and for our post-life, nevertheless
that Paradise state on some type of level is available here and now!! [Although
the subject of constant Hashem connection deserves at least a
composition of its own, let it suffice in this interview what we’ve
said: Please refer to various practical internalisations of this idea
later in the portrait chapter such as Hashkacha and expressing thanks]
I — Sounds great — And I’ll look up your sources
and study them — but can you address yourself to my other questions
about the ‘Evil Urge’, the inner & outer suffering and Turmoil
blocking our way from being in this state of Paradise now.
|The 2nd Element: Pleasure (The other two inquiries)
Y - Of course that’s the other main point, and
that’s what the rest of our Paradise Living interview is coming to deal
with. The ‘pleasure aspect’ — Which if properly understood and properly
lived, will serve to answer the question of how we can live in Paradise
NOW despite the ‘Evil Urge’, trials and tribulations. And above all, by
enlisting our new powerfully developed sense of pleasure together with
our constant G-d connection —We have an ultimate one — two - knockout
punch, guaranteeing true Paradise Living.
I - I think that many readers and I myself would
be happy to jump on board the Paradise Express train. If you could only
show us that the pleasure that you are referring to is a valid soul
elevating type pleasure as opposed to the opposite ‘Chas Vachalilah’
and also if you could show us how to put it all together.
Y- With great pleasure I will attempt (Be’ezrat
H’) to show you how to jump on board the Paradise Express, in a valid
soul elevating type of way.
I - Could you give us a sort of overview of how
you plan to accomplish that in this Interview!!
|An overview of this entire Paradise Living composition
- I’d like to discuss the concept of focusing on
the ‘here and now’.
- I’d like to open up the idea of raising or
doing "Kiruv" to the lower parts of our personality.
- I’d like to show various areas of life that we
can apply Paradise Living to.
- I’d like to talk about practical tools and
applications to actualise our lives towards true Paradise Living.
I - Great I am ready when you are.
Y- ALL ABOARD!!!
Chapter 1: Focusing on the Here and Now
|Basic Definition and the great challenge
involved – Escaping the past and future to go to the present
I — I suppose I need to begin with a basic
question such as asking you what is this concept of focusing on the
‘here and now’?
Y - The direct and simple explanation is simply to
focus and concentrate on anything & everything that I am
immediately occupied with.
I - This sounds very straightforward and obvious!!
Why discuss the obvious?!
Y - First of all — What seems to you to be obvious
is not obvious at all. I can’t begin to describe the amount of unease,
tension and worry that’s rampant on any normal day inside our inner
thoughts or consciousness. These thoughts take one out of this state of
focusing on the ‘here and now’. This is based on long-term observations
I’ve noticed with student’s friends and even myself!
I - That rings true — And I suppose a worried
tense uneasy person has a very hard time directing his focus on
Y — Exactly!!! That person’s mental faculties are
simply not available for processing the glory of the present moment,
because they are processing what are usually useless pieces of
information that they have no control over.. Our Chasidic masters who
spoke at length about this realm of thought stated that you are where
your thoughts are — And this worried person is not ‘here and now’ —
He’s off in the future somewhere — even though on some level he’s
forced to cope and function at least minimally with what ever is at
hand — But this minimum is strained and certainly not anywhere near the
Paradise Mindset we’re referring to!!
I — I think your point is well taken. So much of
the time — we worry about what will be, making it virtually impossible
to focus on the moment.
Y — The other side of the coin is just as rampant,
i.e. Being trapped in the past, feeling guilt or regret or bitterness
over what had already happened (‘Water under the bridge’).
|Past and future thoughts are constructive in their proper
time and place
I - Amazing!! We’re so trapped! We’re so out of
focus. But tell me something, when a person suffers either because of
what was, or may be in the future, either because of worry bitterness
or guilt — aren’t these feelings useful to this person? Aren’t they
sort of heaven sent for this person to somehow straighten out something
crooked in himself or someone else or in some type of situation?!
Y- Great Question my friend and the best reply I
can offer at this point is — True enough, thank G-d — our inner
discomfort alarm lights are beckoning us to fix up what’s wrong —
However — There’s a time and place for everything - and we have the
power of ‘free will’ to choose to set a time to deal with each problem
in it’s proper time with full ‘Here and Now’ concentration — And until
then to concentrate fully with whats at Hand!!
I - Your reply sounds totally logical on an
intellectual level, however we are creatures of emotion and other human
faculties. We can’t just neatly place things in their proper scheduled
slots in every instance.
Y - You’re right again!! And my reply to that
challenging idea is "Avoda". Avoda means hard spiritual work — i.e.…
Training ourselves our emotions, our willpower, our mind or thought to
be disciplined and to be present totally.
|There is no Paradise living out of the here and now
I — O.K. — I think that I understand the concept
much clearer now, would it be correct to say that the reason that being
focused on the ‘now’ is so specially important to Paradise Living is
because, without focus, one is simply plugged into neither the pleasure
nor interfacing with Hashem at any given moment.
Y - Excellent, I couldn’t have put it better
myself — and may I add that this being present with Hashem and Pleasure
is absolutely vital —The bottom line is that all of life is actually
only now or present tense - and so if you miss being ‘here and now’,
you not only miss Paradise — YOU MISS OUT ON LIVING!!
I - This is really a fascinating subject — I know
that you’d like to get on with other aspects of Paradise Living but
could you just sort of briefly describe for us this ‘being here &
now’ aspect and a few of it’s life applications.
|Being ‘Here, Now’ as an antidote to pain and suffering.
||Y- When a person is
really and truly present with what ever comes his way, then he is in
what the world commonly refers to as a meditative state — He’s openly
absorbing life as it is without any distractive thoughts removing him
from this absorption. In this state he gains access to be able to
transcend all negativity and pain. The reality is that the bulk of pain
is experienced through that which we project or think will be, causing
more pain and more disability. Beyond that even the physical pain — if
faced head on with total presence it loses its effect. I personally
know of mediators of high levels and (lhavdil to distinguish between
one and the other) past generation Torah scholar giants who have
successfully undergone major operations focused either directly on the
pain or deeply on a Torah subject, and they requested to undergo these
operations without any anaesthesia or pain killers, and reported
feeling no pain!! The Chasidic Masters say that if you
experience Hashem as being the source of ones pain or sorrow or as they
put it, if you experience Hashem in the pain — the pain disappears —
Now that’s what I call true Paradising.
Being here and now with future focused growth and challenge
I - As remarkable as all this is I’m still
bothered by something! I think what’s bothering me in this whole area
of being here now is that it just doesn’t address the idea of human
change, growth and perfection — which is a major focus of Judaism and
Spirituality in general and it seems to me that this is in the realm of
the future focus and not the present focus!!
Y — Again — A fantastic question - You’re really
shining today — keep it up. I’d like you to know that I engage myself
for part of my time as a councillor — what I call a Ratzon (Primal
Desire) Councillor — A very future directed activity — in fact, all of
the success of my clients realising their desired ambitions is to be
able to clearly desire and focus on their future ambition as if it
where already realised!! But the secret of their success is to be
totally entrenched in the present.
I — UH… I’m sorry — you lost me.
Y - What I mean to say by ‘Entrenched in the
present or in the ‘here & now’," I’ll explain in two ways:
- The first way is simple. When you are engaged
in strategising your future or in analysing your past — Be totally
concentrated and focused in doing that — so in essence what you are
doing is being ‘here and now’ even in the past and future introspection
— and then when you finish — choose to jump back into living in the
‘here and now’ visa vie the present.
- The 2nd way to be entrenched in the
‘here & now’ and be totally concerned with your growth is a
profound principle I learned from the teachings of the late— The Saba
of Nevordik — R. Yosef Yuziel Hurwitz (Z’’tzl), one of our Torah mussar
giants. He said the essence of human transformation is to simply jump
RIGHT NOW into being a transformed person. If you don’t do it now you
never will. So here we see how to use the ‘here & now’ to access
ones future. Like our sages say in Pirkey Avot — "If not now when?!"
I — I’m sorry to belabour the point — but I think
that there is much of a difference between a future or productivity
type of personality, as opposed to a ‘here & now’ person who’s
thoroughly enjoying the ride. It’s very hard for me to relate to how
the future orientated personality can possibly combine both realities
in a quality way.
|The Rato- vshon dance
Y — I really do appreciate your deep concern to
get clarity here!! I think the bottom line is that to combine the best
of both worlds — One has to learn how to do a dance — The "Ratzo Vshov
Dance" — That means the dance of pushing forward and then retreating.
One Pushes forward when there’s something missing in one’s life or in
the world that needs fixing — This involves ones taking control;
planning; following through; anticipating troubles; takeing council and
analysing etc. And once a person is on a so called ‘automatic pilot’,
meaning they’re running on a schedule within a plan — then Retreat —
Enjoy the ride as you put it… BE HERE NOW. If one sees that Hashem is
either testing them or telling them to make different plans — then —
they can make a call to temporarily leave the
‘Enjoying the ride mode’ and go back into ‘take
control of the mind mode’ or a new variation of your Ratzo Vshov
dance... I hope I’m coming across clearly.
I — I’ve never been much of a dancer — but I think
things are getting clearer. Tell me — are you doing research in this
area — It’s just that you sound like you’re really up on the subject.
Y - For the last while I’ve been checking out the
possibility of really living by Paradise in all situations. I’ve been
checking it out on a less intense level for years but recently I’ve
been exploring many aspects of it such as — living with an acute
awareness of Divine Providence in my life. I’ve been researching
various exercises that help one master being in Paradise now, in many
different areas of life, including when things are going really bad. I
have been observing certain famous people who I’ve encountered as being
living embodiments of Paradise, and learning how we can raise up our
lower levels of soul to be in agreement with higher soul level
Chapter 2: Integrating the Inner Child or Lower Soul
I - I’m interested in all of it, but I think the
next logical step should be a discussion of elevating the lower parts
or lower level pleasures — I think it’s the missing link in my mind.
|Putting everything into perspective
Y - I’ll tell you, the way I see it, the ultimate
step or insight into understanding how to dance the dance of ‘being
here & now’, while integrating essential past and future elements
is knowing how to live with Divine Providence, according to how it was
originally brought down by our great Chasidic Masters. However, since
our goal in this interview is to walk away with a working understanding
of how to live a ‘Life of Paradise", it’s best that we leave Divine
Providence for later, or with full treatment for another research
report. There we can place it in its proper perspective [Look out
for the subject of Divine Providence in context of Paradise Living
Portraits later on in this interview]. With that said, I agree with
you that we now should touch upon the subject of elevating our lower
selves — because this subject is essential for integrating the pleasure
element into our Paradise Living formula!! Besides it’s the next
logical step in learning to be here and now in a quality Paradise way.
|The almost impossible challenge of harmonizing Upper and
I — Why not just jump directly into ‘Pleasure Here
and Now’ — You know… just take pleasure in everything that comes your
way. Why do you need to convince your Lower Self or Inner Child or
whatever to be in harmony with the rest of your psyche?
Y - I’ll tell you why — Unlike the previous
section where we discussed the power of being totally here & now
with whatever comes your way and how to be as direct as possible. This
realm is different simply because we humans are built in a way that
makes connecting to simple spiritual realities extremely challenging.
The one hand our higher selves or souls and on the other hand our lower
selves or bodies. The reality is that the Upper and Lower souls are by
definition opposing forces, that’s a fact of life!! I’ll be happy to
bring you Torah sources to verify that.
I - O.K fine, but first I want to ask: If they’re
Different creatures, our Upper and Lower Souls, perhaps the proper
question to be asked is exactly in the opposite direction to my last
one. How can you possibly expect 2 opposite parts of yourself to ever
harmonise together or be on the same team?
Y — I agree with you that the challenge is one
that seems ‘almost’ impossible, but nevertheless essential for the sake
of a true Paradise Personality. To the extent that we can unleash this
inner pleasure seeker inside of ourselves in a kosher way, is the
extent to which we’ve created a fully-fledged ‘Paradise Person’!!
I - It sounds like you’re driven to really break
through in this area.
Y - I and some of my closest friends and students
have been exploring this area in different ways for years…Am I driven?!
Let me put it to you like this: Do you remember what Rabbi Akiva
answered his students upon being killed by the Romans, whilst he was in
a state of ecstasy? His students asked, "Until here Rabbi?!". I.e. you
have ecstasy even in this situation?!
I — He told them that all his life he was
preparing and anticipating the time he would be able to fulfil our
sages dictum of ‘Loving Hashem’ — "Bechol Nafshecha" with ones very
life - and now that is real — He’s real with it.
Y - Exactly — So to distinguish between a virtual
nobody like myself and a spiritual giant like Rebbe Akiva, nevertheless
I see myself driven by another related dictum of our sages — namely to
‘Love Hashem’ — With all of ones heart — I.e.… with our Lower Soul or
evil inclination as well as our Upper Soul in short — Paradise Living!!!
I - Are you certain that this is a ‘Kosher’
approach to deal with your Lower Soul/Evil inclination. Who says
pleasure is so important?! Perhaps discipline and a firm hand against
this Lower Soul should take the upper hand?!
Y — You just asked a mouthful of questions. I ask
for your indulgence and patience to allow me to reply with a possible
I - Please carry on, I’m with you.
|A few basic understandings needed for this unique approach
Y - O.K. What I’ll attempt to get across to you is
a usable approach — and what will require a few basic understandings:
- First of all, we need to understand what is the
essence of pleasure or ‘Taanug’ according to Jewish thought?!
- Next — What is this Lower Self that we’ve been
- What is the idea of elevating or bringing back
this Lower Self (An idea very akin to ‘Kiruv Rechokim’ - bringing
CLOSER those who are far from Judaism.)
- Why bring it closer as opposed to relentlessly
stamping it out?!
- How does this whole process affect being in a
I - So I suppose that you’ll answer in order — so
what is Jewish Pleasure or ‘Taanug’.
Y — Our Kabbalistic and Chasidic masters answer
that basically there are 10 Sefirot or divinely based ‘character
traits’ if you will, which are found in every aspect of life —
including human personality, universal physics principles as well as
Divine Providence Traits and much more. Anyway - the highest Sefira
called Keter, which basically represents the function of the ‘inner
motivator and director’. The other Sefirot — are defined by three
character traits: The highest one is Emunah or Faith, after that there
is Pleasure and after that there is Will (Ratzon). So you see the one
of the highest of divine traits which functions as one’s underlying
motivator is PLEASURE!!
I - So Pleasure is a pretty central theme in the
creation of the world, not to mention a primary trait?! Not only is it
one of the main inner motivators and directors of the personality — but
also its Keter — The Crown, is the most important in the discovery of a
Y - Sure!! And we don’t have to discover that only
in the mystical writings, we can see the prominent place of pleasure
brought out in the infamous Mussar classic — ‘Mesilat Yesharim’ ( Or
‘The Path of the Just’, by Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzatto). The opening line
lays out man’s purpose in this world as ultimately taking pleasure in
his Divine Connection. And on this point the former Admoror Rebbe of
Slonim states that the time to do this is now, in this world, in this
lifetime and not only in the world to come!! [Here also the subject
of pleasure in all its applications and internationalisation deserves
more in depth treatment than can be brought in the context of this
paper. Let what has been said and what will be brought later on in this
chapter on Portraits and exercises be sufficient for now, specifically
the examples of taking pleasure in people, life in general and Hashem.
Also related to this topic is the ‘24 hour Paradise Now’ tool towards
I — Wait a minute, if a pleasure is such a
profound, sublime and G-dly trait — so why do we see the opposite
connotation so often associated with pleasure, such as lusts for
forbidden sexual pleasures or for many other very lowly desires in the
realm of downright decadence?! In fact I’ve heard the very themes that
you’re proudly displaying such as Paradise and Ecstasy — associated
with sex, drugs and who knows what else. And I’ll tell you more than
that, it seems to me that a good part of the whole educational process
of our youth and probably ourselves for that matter is concerned with
redirecting one away from indulging in Pleasures!!
Y - Boy — When you get started you really lay it
on thick!! Just Joking — your question is exactly in place. What you
are hitting on is exactly what I wanted to get into next, that being a
description of the reality of the Lower Self, the second question we
|Definition of the Lower Self
I - The "Sefer HaTanya", which is a masterful
classic Torah work on mysticism, describes at length the Lower Soul by
the name (Nefesh Bhaimi) Animal Soul. This soul dwells in the entire
body although its headquarters so to speak are in the left side of the
Heart — the ventricle that is filled with blood. He explains the
Torah’s connection of the word ‘Nefesh’ or Soul to blood and to desires
as it says, " For the blood is the Nefesh — (Deut 12/23)". The
character traits associated with this animal soul are: All Lusts and
physical desires; Pride and Anger; Greed, boastful tendencies and other
similar passions This ‘Animal Soul’ expresses itself in the realm of
our thoughts, our speech and our action. Directly opposed to this is
the divine soul (Nefesh Eloki) residing in the brain and in the right
side of the heart spreading itself out to all areas of the body that
relate to human activity in thought, speech and action. It is the
source of man’s fervent love and understanding of the Creator. It’s
true that there are other worthy descriptions of these two aspects of
the Human Nefesh such as Body versus Soul, or the Evil Urge versus the
Good Urge etc… But this Animal Versus Divine soul definition will serve
our purposes even better, as we’ll soon see with Hashem’s help.
[A word of caution is in order at this point, one
must distinguish between Lower Soul characteristics that are capable of
being channelled such as playfulness and creativity, as opposed to the
Yaitzer Hara (Evil Inclination) whose sole purpose is to prevent us
from doing Hashem’s will. This is not channel able and must be avoided.
In the middle of these two extremes lies our self-paralysing blocks
which require healing as opposed to channelling.]
I — All right I understand that there is within
our human psyche a dichotomy between ‘Higher and Lower pleasure drives.
This begins to clarify to me what I asked about ‘Lower Pleasures’ and
their dangers etc… But what I still need to clarify is the possibility
you see of elevating the Lower Self.
Y - Yes of course, that’s the third question we
asked. The Baal Tanya goes on to describe how the ‘backdrop’, world or
realm that this Animal Soul dwells in is called "Klipat Noga"- a part
of spiritual reality, which is sort of Neutral. I mean neither in an
absolute reality of holiness nor or its opposite. It’s a sort of bridge
between those worlds from which the Holy Realm draws into itself all
types of spiritual elements that have fallen and are on their way up,
growing or liberating themselves from the clutches of the unholy realms.
I - I’ve got to hand it to you — you’re trying
your best to bring down to a universal audience a very sublime
Kabbalistic Idea in as short and clear a way as possible. I’ll give you
a break. Let’s say that what I understand about the Animal Soul is that
it serves as a bridge to raise up fallen spiritual elements.
Y — You expressed it very well! Just one
correction, it’s not a forgone conclusion that this bridge raises up
the fallen spirituality. If a person doesn’t conduct himself in the
right way, he’ll do the opposite, ‘G-D’ forbid, pulling down his
already pure and liberated spiritual energy into the realm of the
I — Let’s get back to your
questions — how does one elevate our Lower Soul desires and how does
this ‘Bridge’ idea fit in?
|Elevating our Lower Self
Y - Let me illustrate with an analogy applied to
the phenomenon of bringing back or more accurately bringing closer,
Jews who are far away from Judaism back to Judaism — In short we’ll
refer to it as "Kiruv" (Bringing Close). There are a number of
different approaches one could use. Basically one could turn up the
flame and present Judaism in all of its glory and splendour, thereby
dazzling our ‘Baal Teshuva’ (new returnee) so much that he’s virtually
swept off his feet by it and returns!! The opposite approach would be
to convince the Baal Teshuva by showing him the bankruptcy of his
present path… A middle approach is one that was coined by my friend
"The path of the gentle educator". This means simply taking the Baal
Teshuva by the hand within his own environment and leading him step by
step back to his Jewish roots.
I — You’ve pointed out three direct approaches:
1)"High Flame"; 2) "bankruptcy" and 3) "The Gentle Educator" — So what
is the comparison in terms of Higher — Lower soul?
Y — Great! The "High Flame" approach is probably
the most prevalent approach of the Chasidic literature. The idea is to
overwhelm the Lower Desires thoroughly, by helping him to feel an
overflowing of love of Hashem through knowledge acquisition of Hashem
and his Torah - this of course is expressed on all levels — Thought,
speech and Action. An alternative approach advocated by many masters of
the " Mussar" tradition which is to thoroughly expose the faults of
buying into or subscribing to ‘Lower Soul Drives’ and thereby often
bringing oneself to hate it. The last approach, the Gentle Educator to
the best of my knowledge seems to be limited to councillors and
therapist types but not used so much as a mainstream approach.
I - Is that good or bad?
|The reason why we want to bring the Lower Soul closer as
opposed to stamping it out
Y - I’ve watched all of them being used in my
experience both in "Kiruv" and in Paradise Living exploration… — I
think the best response and openness on the part of the Lower Soul of
the Baal Teshuva is to a Gentle Educator
I - Why do you think that is so?!
Y - I think it has a lot to do with the times and
the nature of the generation we live in. We people are not only weaker
then previous generations but also more broken. There’s hardly a Baal
Teshuva I know that’s not blocked up in some way — whether it be from
broken homes, being abused, or many other types of causes resulting in
a type of personality that is unsure of himself, of his image and
usually blocked up emotionally. And I find a very similar phenomenon in
terms of Lower Soul integration, what I mean is that a well-rounded
emotionally healthy person is a very rare thing to find now a days, not
to mention a Paradise Person.
I — So in the case of a broken or blocked up
person you suggest the Gentle Educator approach?!
Y - This fellow is cut off from himself, if you
know what I mean. His higher self is saying YES-YES-YES and his Lower
Self is saying (Sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously) NO — NO
— NO - or maybe the opposite. He’s paralysed and is functioning at a
very low level. He’s frustrated and he’s certainly not even close to
the ideal of Paradise Living that we are discussing.
|Lower Soul integration and being in a Paradise State
I - And do you think he possibly could get to this
by leading him by the hand step by step?
Y - Dazzling him with an abundance of light or
darkness generally is not effective— his Lower Self may be suffocated
or overwhelmed by this approach, but it certainly won’t be cooperative.
You need to talk to it like you’d talk to a child. Telling him about
Hashem. Telling him about how much fun it is and how nurturing it will
be for him and so on…
I - And do you tell him about Paradise?
Y - If you approach him properly, he’ll love the
idea of Paradise — What kid wouldn’t?!
I - I believe an illustration or a simulation of a
real life situation is in order — you know, to get you idea across
|Simulated Win-Win discussion between the Higher and Lower
Soul in Shabbat morning prayers
Y — O.K fine — That sounds like fun — let’s take
the following scenario: A person is very intent on tapping into shabbos
morning prayers with a feeling of infinite pleasure, transcendence and
love of Hashem, in short Paradise or Paradising his Tefillot. As he’s
about to begin, lo and behold he’s attacked by an onslaught of contrary
thoughts coming from, you’ve guessed it… His Lower Self. The thoughts
range from boredom to tiredness and restlessness, not to mention
downright negativity based on lack of self-esteem, jealousy and
confusion!! Our poor fellow is not only swamped by the chaos of these
inner nagging voices but also really wants to pray in an uplifting
manner and he can’t — so what does he do?! He doesn’t start shaking,
screaming, crying or despairing! Rather, he stops everything — of
course in a way that doesn’t violate the basic "Halachot" or framework
of the prayer service, and he begins an inner dialogue that goes
something like this:
"Higher Self": "Good Shabbos to you my Lower Self
— I know that you’re there and I want you to know that I love and
accept you as you are, I respect you and what you want to do for me.
How can we possibly join together in all sorts of areas of life and
really have a great time — Real Paradise!!!
"Lower Self": "I’ll grant you this much — At
least you’re talking with me and not treating me like some kind of wild
beast. Nevertheless — I don’t get it, what’s so great about praying?
Why can’t we do something more fun and exciting? Besides that, every
time we start praying I feel like I’m out of it — those are not my real
feelings or praises — when I read what’s written in the text I
immediately lose concentration and start thinking about all of my
"Higher Self": "Fair enough — You’ve presented
two very genuine objections about having more fun and with being ‘real’
with Hashem. First I want to thank you for directly and openly talking
with me. I know that deep down you want the best thing for both of us.
Please permit me to answer regarding fun — I also like running and
laughing and playing and stuff like that and you know that… I’ll make
you a deal - a real win-win situation. Cooperate with me now in this
Shabbos prayer — But in way of real superior fun — Then I’ll join with
you afterwards for a wonderful hour of fun and games."
"Lower Self": " O.K But on condition that this
Davening is ‘real superior fun’ like you say!!"
"Higher Self": " Great — Now just listen to me;
when we play games or joke around we have the pleasure for that period
of time but we didn’t really energise ourselves to carry the joy into
the rest of the day. But when you and I have a great time meditating,
dancing and singing about Hashem’s greatness, how much he really loves
and nurtures me and how he loves it when I do this and other activities
he wants me to do — then we receive this unbelievably powerful energy!
It makes me want to do and more and more and it’s such a high. I’ll
tell you a great adventure game we could play while were doing all this
— its like Hide and Seek. What I mean is that normally Hashem Hides
himself and I can’t feel him or understand him or communicate with him.
My game is to find where he is hiding at any one point in time. It’s
not only a great and fun challenge but believe it or not it’s the
purpose of creation!! And besides that, that’s exactly the way to have
fun in all of your Judaism. You win, your elders will really respect
you for it and best of all Hashem gets great pleasure from it.
"Lower Self": "So far so good — But what about
that other point I brought up. About me not being real with all the
prayers and praises?!"
"Higher Self": "Don’t you see — If you really
were real with all the prayers and learning and everything else!!
"Lower Self": "Got it - O.K What are you waiting
for, let’s start the prayers!!"
I — I really enjoyed that and I think there’s a
lot to what you’re doing. I think they call that channelling or
something like that. It reminds me of this famous Rosh Yeshiva who has
this idea called ‘the 5 Levels of Pleasure’. He concedes that pleasure
is the greatest way to go… but that there are increasingly real or
significant levels of pleasure. The point is when we know this, so why
not learn to go for the greater and greater pleasures — e.g.
Experiencing true love of Hashem! Anyway I have a question — your
dialogue seems to me to be a bit on the simple side, and too idealistic
— aren’t the real life Lower Soul battles more complex than that.
Y - Point well taken!!! Like any other spiritual
tool, only practice makes prefect, one is constantly bothered with
blinding obstacles and confusion on this path. After all look what
we’re dealing with — perhaps the most primal battle that there is, the
inner battle for wholeness and peace of mind. Besides all this, more
often than not the Lower Self is not so cooperative. He’s Blocked!! It
takes a series of super committed efforts just to expose him… not to
mention convince him. I have a friend who spends months and years
trying to connect and awaken these blocked parts. You should see him
when he unleashes and liberates these blocked parts. He goes wild!! He
becomes almost a new empowered person. It takes a while for him to
balance himself again — But he does!!!
I — This whole discussion is amazing. It sounds a
bit dangerous. In the same way that anybody who is exploring a new
frontier flirts with danger. Do you think it’s worth the risks?
Y - My intuition is that this unifying of the
Upper and Lower Soul is the ultimate key to living a complete Paradise
Life Style. The truth is that a key ingredient is that we ask for
Hashem’s help, patience and safeguards according to the Torah and Da’at
Torah in our research, and with that we’ll make it through!!
[Note: At another opportune time I would like to
teach a tool called Radical Acceptance Body Integration (RABI) to help
reach this level]
Chapter 3: Paradise Living Portraits
I — I really would like to pursue the discussion
of bridging our Lower Soul and all of its inner powers together with
our Higher Soul levels, but I believe that we need to keep the
interaction lively here and therefore I want to ask you to give over
some real-life illustrations or portraits of people who are living
demonstrations of Paradise Living. But first I wonder if you can give
us some type of general recipe or formula for "Paradising"!!
|The I.D.F Paradising formula
Y- I believe the best and most concise way to
express it would be like this:
Paradising is an inner state of supreme pleasure
and divine connectedness accessed by being in a ‘here and now’ focus,
with the total integration of my lower and higher self!!!
I — Is it not possible to shorten that even more
so that we can use it in all situations?!
Y — Pleasure filled Integrated ‘Dvaikus’
Focus (Divine Connectedness) — or the IDF
for short. And I am not referring to the Israeli Defence force, even
though this spiritual IDF may be a Jews true protection in all
I — Not bad — O.K if we where to do a survey of
IDF portraits, what type of people would you like to bring?
|Paradising in three major areas
Y — I think that once we have our IDF formula then
there is virtually no area of life that can’t be examined and measured
by its IDF Paradise Factor. However since we are clearly limited by
time, let’s take a reasonably quick look at three different areas of
life, namely: Mans connection to Hashem, to himself and to his fellow
I — Great!! Which specific areas would you like to
bring in the first category between Man and Hashem?
Y - Let’s look at the performance of the very
central Mitzvot of learning Torah, Prayer and the being in the realm of
Hashem, living with Hashem’s Hashgacha Pratit or Divine providence!!
|Torah learning and Paradising
I — I suppose Torah learning is the best place to
start as our sages say; "Torah learning outweighs them all" (Meaning
all other Mitzvot).
Y - Correct!! I would like to begin with Rav B...
Rav B is a true living embodiment of I.D.F. He has totally integrated
Lower Self-pleasure and motivational psyche into his learning
experience. That type of concentrated focus while in a constant state
of Dvaikus or divine connectedness is hard to find in our entire
generation in my personal estimation!!!
I - Could you bring some illustrations of Rav B’s
Y — That’s not a problem! I’ve known him well for
a long time and I see in him what others aren’t privileged to see. His
approach to Torah learning is that it’s a ‘cure all’ for every and any
situation — whether he is learning about counselling others; seeking
spiritual rectification (or "Kapara"); learning to boost his learning
capability a couple times over, or to gain clarity in the realm of
physical ailments. He’s a living example of what our sages say —
"Whenever something ails you physically, simply sink yourself into
Torah and you’ll be healed". I’ve seen him so sick that he couldn’t
even talk, and he would refuse to stop learning until he literally
passed out in an exhausted sleep!!! Purim is a time when the real truth
of a person comes out, through fulfilling the mitzvah of getting drunk
to the point that one can’t tell the difference between cursed Haman
and blessed Mordechai. I witnessed him crying out a drunken true
confession to his teenage yeshiva students filling his living room,
that all he really wants out of life is undisturbed learning — not
leadership, not its titles… nothing else!!! He even said that he’d be
willing to give up his portion in this world and the future world for
it. Not a small sacrifice for anyone to make especially one on his
spiritual level. He told me it’s worth it to compose a Torah based book
even if no one would read it, just for the sake of one’s own learning.
This is afforded by learning in order to be able to give over the Torah
through writing as opposed to simple learning!!
I - So far you’ve described Rav B’s attitude
towards learning, what can you tell us about his actual learning
Y - He goes effortlessly into a deeper reality,
even more than most seasoned Torah learners are accustomed to. On the
one hand he’s meditative — I mean he’ll stop everything and go into a
very deep examination of one sentence!! Does it make sense? How does it
fit into the context? What are the author’s surface and deeper
connotations? And what’s the question? Why this question? And why that
question? What would I answer if I were asked the question? Why did the
author answer it up the way he did? Etc etc… On the other hand he’ll
all of a sudden pull out of his deep Torah meditative state and with
lightning speed he’ll sweep across vast quantities of Torah filled
pages with awesome comprehension. Often he would stop in the middle of
one of these "sweeps" and casually blurt our 5 or 6 alternative
commentaries of his own on any giving line, and then of course he’ll go
back over it again and again and again, and then apologise (Because he
is such a humble person) for going over it just one more time. I have
seen him literally prepare what’s considered to be one of the most
difficult chapters in one of the most difficult Torah works around a
few dozen times, all in order to be able to begin a one on one
’chavrusa’ or learning partnership in the text, with a certain late
commentator who was a brilliant giant scholar of a previous generation
— Arguing with the commentary point by point!
I - I can see he’s devoted but was he…. umm, You
know… in Paradise?!
Y — What a question?! Do children like being in a
candy store?! Does an Eskimo ever see snow?! He’s on fire!! He’s
grooving!! He’s Flying!! I walk out of his presence and the whole world
looks different, clearer, happier — there’s nothing at that point that
I want to do except learn!!!
I - Thank you, I really appreciate your
enthusiasm. I think that the Paradise concept is finally starting to
sink in. Please carry on!
Y - I’m happy to carry on! I just want to get
across an important point first which has a bearing on all the rest of
the portraits or partial portraits I’d like to describe.
I — I’m ‘all ears’ like they say.
|Paradise: Cafeteria style
Y - With a few notable exceptions such as Rav B
and others — We live in a generation that is sort of ‘piece meal’. I
mean it’s really hard to find all or even most of what’s called
"Shlaimut" or spiritual wholeness in all realms embodied in one person
— Rather it’s spread out — ’piecemeal’ — this person’s MR.PARADISE in
this area is someone else’s in a different area — This is how it is
with groups and Ideas until you get to the point that if you want to
find "Shlaimut", you have to approach life, people and ideas like a
diner in a cafeteria or a shopper in a supermarket. I know many friends
who would vehemently disagree with me claiming that their way, their
Rebbe, their group has got it all - but what can I say, this is my
humble opinion after searching for years.
I - I understand your point. Please tell us how
this has a bearing on presenting Paradise Personalities.
Y - The answer is obvious! If you want to see
Paradise personified — you’ve got to shop around a lot and take a
little bit here and there. One person will get it in prayer; another
guy in talking and the next guy in encouraging people etc. etc…
Therefore I’d like to take this opportunity to present to you different
flashes of Paradise personified in different areas.
I - Carry on!
Y - O.K For example I know of a certain very shy
inconspicuous man who has displayed real Tefilla Paradise for years. He
stands ALL NIGHT LONG — every night of the year praying to Hashem in
the corner of his midnight Yeshiva. I know another person who sits down
every morning for two or three hours in his room with a Talis and
Tefillin on his head meditating and crying to Hashem from the depths of
his soul — going to inner spiritual depths that most people don’t even
dream or know about. I know of another person who when he gets through
with his prayers — he takes his Talis (Prayer Shawl) and his outer
garment and he literally wrings it out from all the sweat accumulated
in a prayer session. He would embarrass most seasoned professional
athletes. I’ve Personally witnessed an entire group of grown men who
participate regularly in a ‘crying to group to Hashem.’ — all reporting
that this type of high voltage experience overflowed in to their lives
to the point that some of them found themselves crying to Hashem all
day long in any number of non-Prayer type situations. In short, bits
and pieces of prayer Paradise spilling over for any one who’s
interested in incorporating it into his own life — It just involves
keeping ones eyes open and learning how to do it.
I — Our eyes are open — Tell us about the other
area you spoke about — walking with Divine Providence?!
|The Chasidic Devine Providence Principle
Y - O.K, I’ll describe a few things that come to
mind, but the primary one is a basic understanding of what the
"Formula" is, for going with Divine Providence according to our
earliest Chasidic masters. Basically the idea is that, to the extent
that I believe in or am real with the fact that Hashem is guiding me
every single minute of the day. (Either directly or indirectly… in a
similar way to when we mistakenly overhear other peoples conversations…
but he even hears our thoughts that we have) — All this is part of the
Divine Directive, working toward my personal perfection. To the extent
that I can be real with this, to that very extent, I empower Hashem to
be real with me. And to the extent that I am not real with it, I
probably would consider all that is happening to me, to be a result of
chance or at least something that is not necessarily ‘directed at me’ —
To this extent will I not be able to connect to Hashem’s reality and
conversely not be able to synchronize my personal rectification with
all that comes my way!
I — What an awesome idea — All you do is switch on
your spiritual antennas and Hashem synchronizes you with life!! I
certainly see how a person who goes on this path in a serious way would
be totally plugged into reality, pleasure and Hashem. I could picture
the Lower Self being turned on too!!
Y — Not only that, but I’ll tell you something
very amazing! I’ve had a bit of experience in counselling all types of
Baal Tshuvas — (I.e. Returnees to Judaism) and have noticed that the
ones who where very deep into drugs, specifically the mind altering
types, found this Hashgacha Prati the best formula for walking through
life. Not only did they see it as a great replacement for getting high,
but much more than that, they realised that all of the drug induced
highs were only a very poor replacement for this. The source of it all
— the real thing!! In short — A great all-round Lower-Higher focus
|Real Life Stories
I — Very interesting! Could you share with us some
real life stories in this realm.
Y - Sure!! The first thing that comes to mind is
Reb Ooshers’s holy Jewish woman!!
I — Sound like a good title for a children’s
storybook, or a song… in fact that name rings a bell somewhere!!
|Rav Oosher’s Holy Jewish Women
Y - Rav Oosher is an elderly Tzadik (Saintly man)
living in Jerusalem who’s home has been an oasis for a long long time,
mostly for woman who at some point in life have fallen into very deep
trials, depressions or dire straits of one type or another. Rav Oosher
basically transforms these ladies out of their misery into living life
in a transformed, lit up way! They live with an incredible uplifting
focus on their wonderful fortune and on their amazing divine
providence. Many of them have gone on to become some of the most
powerful speakers, councillors and transmitters of Providential
Paradise to anyone coming anywhere close to them.
I — Isn’t there a lady who goes around the country
speaking to large groups of ladies about being in this state of mind?
Y — Sure, Rabbanit Kooke — To the best of my
knowledge her Paradise mindset origins come from Rav Oosher. But yeah…
we certainly can’t do justice to a discussion of Paradise Living
resulting from being plugged into providence without mentioning
Rabbinit Kooke. Everything about her screams Paradise! She has an
amazing style of speaking… She speaks to stadiums filled with people,
and is completely unaware of what she will speak about until it starts
coming out… totally in the ‘here and now’!! The way she talks about
doing Mitzvot, says a chapter of King David’s Tehilim (Psalms) or talks
to Hashem right there in front of everyone… that is real powerful
Paradise. And I know from first hand reports that her doing so is not
just a show, whether she is at home or on the road, she is ALWAYS
I — Are there any other bits and pieces of
providential Paradise stories that you can share with us?!
|The Paradise experience of Tzadikim
Y — I’ve heard of a number of very big Tzadikim
(or Saints), who found all of the answers or ‘directives’ to questions
and problems posed to them right there in the very Torah subject that
they where engaged in at the time. And this was not a casual
occurrence. Rather they where so attached to Hashem through their
studies at all times that they never had to stop learning. When there
where lines of people waiting to receive their council on a daily
basis, the answers to peoples dilemmas where found in the very text he
was learning, no matter what text it was.
I — That’s also amazing. I definitely understand
their Dvaikus and their focus… what about their pleasure? How do you
know that this experience wasn’t one of pain or indifference?!
Y — I want to tell you something about a Tzadik or
anyone that is truly constantly connected to Hashem... By definition
this person sees the world as being a place of divine love, nurturing
and goodness. His mindset is, that all that happens is for the good.
Everyone including myself, who’s come into contact with a true Tzadik
all report that they can’t help but feeling happy and purified while
being in their presence and afterwards.
I — And how about you — have you experienced that
type of Paradise coming from Hashem’s guiding of your life.
Y — I have my ups and downs like most people but
I’m actively working on it. When I go to the Mikve (The Jewish ritual
waters of purification) and I jump in with all of my troubles and every
possible negativity I can recall that’s either consciously or
subconsciously bothering me and dunk in the waters with the thought
that these negative experiences are really the most positive
experiences that could possibly happen to me right now, because it is
part of my divine sent perfection process. I try to imagine what is
specifically the loving — perfection ingredient that I’m receiving….
And with that I dunk into the water. Slowly but surely enough, with
five to ten daily dunks, I find that it transforms your ability to
accept all that Hashem sends your way with a greater and greater degree
I — I appreciate your practical guidance and I
hope you’ll give over more as we go on, but first can you tell me about
some other types of Paradise people or experiences you know… just some
|Noticing Paradising everywhere
Y — Well… Now as we are discussing it I remember a
friend of mine who has internalised in an amazing way what he considers
to be one of the most important educational lessons he ever received…
and that is to take pleasure in people.
I — Do you mean people — Paradising?! That sounds
like a great idea — especially now days when all you hear about is
quite to the contrary!
Y — Yeah!! That’s very true!! And it’s such a
pleasure watching my friend really, really grooving on whomever he’s
devoting his attention to!!
I — If only it would catch on among great numbers
Y — I’ll tell you — Paradising is everywhere. It’s
found everywhere. It is all about being committed to keeping your eyes
and ears open and pealed for it, shortly you begin to truly detect it
all over the place, in other and yourself as well!!
I — Can you give a few examples?
|Mother and Father Paradising
Y — Yes, for example when I wait for a certain bus
about 3 times a week, I notice a certain young mother waiting with her
3 boys for the same bus. She is so incredibly entranced with her boys
and their every word and move, that she’s totally oblivious to their
surroundings… she’s Mother Paradising!!
I — How about Father Paradising?
Y — I think that as parents, we all get a taste of
it and strive for it consistently. When we are in that space we really
consider ourselves richer than billionaires, with these wonderful
children that we are gifted with. I do happen to know somebody who
really ‘takes the trophy home’ when it comes to this. He hasn’t had an
easy life and his children for him are beyond the ordinary realm of
being precious and priceless… For him they are actually his ticket to
ecstatic living. You should see how he talks to and about them — such
longing… I think you said it correctly — If only it would catch on!!!
|Moving right along from Hashem issues
Paradising and interpersonal Paradising to Personal Paradising
I — Let’s keep with your original order that you
set out for us earlier. We’ve dealt with our Hashem- Paradise
relationship and we’ve dealt with interpersonal Paradising, now we’ve
arrived at the realm of a man’s personal Paradising experiences
involving mainly himself!!
Y — I think this realm perhaps has more
opportunities and practical examples than in other areas, even though
the dividing line between personal, divine and interpersonal becomes
very blurred. Perhaps many of the examples I could offer you, you could
place in either one of the categories.
I — I won’t hold you accountable… Could you relate
to us what you recall and what we will do is try to discuss them at the
relevant opportunity, where we will categorise them as well, either in
this interview or at another time.
Y — O.K That makes things easier. I’ll just sort
of express the ideas that come to mind spontaneously… The first Idea is
related to what we are doing right this minute… we are expressing
ourselves. Whether in speaking or in writing there is a world of
difference for someone who does it in a state of Paradise.
I — So how do you do Paradise writing for example?
Y — Just to review, Paradising = I D F:
Integrating my Lower Soul
Dvaikus — or divine Connection
Focusing oneself totally on
the HERE and NOW.
So what I do is I prepare an outline or listing of
the ideas that I want to discuss, which frees me up to do spontaneous
I.D.F Paradising — I stay within the general outline and I let my pen
go wherever Hashem wants it to go — It is really a wonderful
I — wait a minute. I think I am hearing something
very profound in your description. Are you saying that once you have
your general outline or framework you prepaired, you can actually let
go and ‘groove’ as you say…on what ever you’re expressing.
|Hashem is expressing through you
Y — I believe I’m saying that and so much more.
You see the letting go Paradise part of this experience is not only
pleasurable and focused in the most extreme way, but also it’s an
expression of perhaps the most powerful Divine Connection (Divaikus)
you can possibly get to. It’s almost as if you’re not the one writing,
teaching, signing or what ever else you are doing. You’ll excuse the
fumbling for the proper words — but it’s as if Hashem is doing the
writing and creating right through you! All you have to do is just get
out of the way.
I — You’ll excuse me for my thick headedness, but
what do you mean by getting yourself out of the way and letting Hashem
do things through you!!!
Y — I agree with what you said, that we’re on to
something profound. Perhaps we’re onto the essence of the Paradising
Experience. I think the best way to clear it all up is by illustration.
Hopefully with a few examples, you’ll know exactly what I have in mind.
I — Carry on by all means!
|The Paradise Author
Y - As long as we’re talking about writing, let me
share with you a comment I heard from one of my former study partners,
who happens to be one of the most successful and prolific writers and
speakers in the current Israeli Baal Teshuva (New returnees to Judaism)
circuit. When I first met him he was well into his third year of
working on his first book — and after 2 or 3 years he was producing
dozens of books in lightning fast fashion. It was awesome to see and he
seemed to be in an ecstatic fiery state when he was writing. He also
always seemed to be writing. I asked him what snapped? What opened up
for him with such awesome prolific writing! He is a very straight and
conservative person, which made his reply all the more amazing!! He
simply said, " It’s not me doing the writing — It’s Hashem who’s
writing through me". He went on to explain that since each of his works
is influencing thousands of young people to come back to their Jewish
roots, all he has to do is show up with pen in hand and move the pen on
the paper… and before you know it a new book is complete… and another…
I - I suppose that his means of getting out of the
way to let Hashem write through him was sort of a mental state that he
locked into or something like that — Is that correct?
|The Paradise stock broker meditation
Y - It’s even more directly getting out of the way
than that… Listen to another example and you’ll catch on: One time
recently — in fact the only time in the last 20 or 30 years that I was
back in the States in Manhattan — I found myself in the office of a
very wealthy and proficient stock broker. Without going into any
details — we were very soon involved in a deep meditation where I
directed him to picture all of his creative finesse and genius, cunning
and power, in being the boss. He’s the one man who was making all the
correct super-fast decisions causing his whole firm to become wealthy!!
I then told him, "Get out of the way!" — I mean picture yourself in a
position where, despite the fact that you think it is you who is
responsible for all of this success… it’s NOT!! It’s only because
Hashem has given you these talents and powers and is giving them to you
RIGHT NOW!! Therefore I told him to meditate
next, that he was doing nothing-just sort of functioning on
‘automatic’. Meanwhile, Hashem is infinitely empowering us to do all we
are capable of doing and even more!!!
I — So how did he react — Was he in a state of
Y — I’ll say — He actually hugged me and told me
that as a result of this meditation he is a transformed man with
infinite powers of stock broking skills to tap… But beyond that he said
that he was also a transformed Jew. He felt that he had opened up to
the wonderful awareness that Judaism isn’t only a prayer or learning
session in the morning and one at night, while during the day one must
be a ruthless shark in a G-dless world — NO!!! He told me now he knows
how to bring G-d into his stockroom during every hour of his working
I — I’m getting the picture — Please carry on with
your examples and hopefully the idea will sink in more and more!!
|Public speaking Paradise
Y — While we’re talking about my New York trip,
I’ll relate another Paradise experience I had, only this one is in the
realm of speaking. Like I mentioned earlier, this was the first time I
left Israel for the states. Not only that but I think it was the first
time I had done public speaking. There I was in my friend’s car with
five minutes left to go before ‘show time’ — with many ticket-holding
customers to see yours truly in action. I was stuck with a sudden
nightmarish thought that I’d freeze!! I’d lose my breath, my memory and
what ever else and freeze!! I sent up what was one of my life’s most
intense prayers asking for emergency immediate divine intervention.
Specifically I asked Hashem to send me a Paradise Speaking experience.
I wanted to be in a state of overwhelming pleasure while speaking.
I — I’m on the edge of my chair - What happened?
Y — Thank G-d — You guessed it, Paradise!! I loved
every minute of it and so did they. My host was also a bit nervous,
being the one that was responsible for the success or failure of the
talk. He told me that he was in a state of disbelief of how well it
went. At that point something snapped for me as well…. From then on
every public appearance I made was in true Paradise Fashion.
I — And how did you get out of the way?
Y — I suppose that in this case the way I did it
was to invest 100% belief in the fact that it’s totally out of my hands
— I am helpless and I’m completely dependent on Hashem’s Emergency
I — Perhaps you could share with us a more common
phenomenon like Paradise Teaching
Y — Oh Yeah — Paradise Teaching… There was one
specific time, I had set up a slot with a learning partner at 4am one
Shabbat morning. Together my partner and I were preparing for an
afternoon class that I gave over. This is how I went about preparing
for a Paradise teaching experience: I would walk up a very large hill
towards my 4am session with the following meditative idea: I would
visualise in the greatest detail, all of my creative talents in
providing new ideas and new pathways in teaching and learning, and I
would then surrender my personal talents and innovations as being not
mine but purely divine sent. I would then visualise myself in the
upcoming learning session as being infinitely empowered to innovate in
genius and novel ideas in my learning… not me, but rather Hashem —
doing it through me!!
I — That sounds like perhaps a great way to do
anything in life, as you mentioned before. What next?! What was the
rest of your Paradise teaching experience like?!
Y — After this empowering experience, we would
proceed to do an exercise we called ‘Associated Thinking’. We would
take our theme for the day and figure out in a spontaneous
free-form-fashion all associated ideas in relation to this theme. We
would then examine all associated ideas until we could define and
access the essential idea. These two processes of association and
accessing the essence are extremely pleasurable and useful… this
process can be done with any subject in the world. Finally we would
then concentrate on directly preparing for our afternoon class
presentation, by demonstrating in rough proofs, analogies and
applications the essential idea of our theme. This entire preparatory
session experience especially with the initial infinite empowering step
was amazingly transcendent and plugged in. Well the obvious way to put
it is that it was a real Paradise experience.
I — You certainly have expressed nicely the stage
of preparing for a teaching session, but what about the teaching
Y — Oh yes of course, that’s the best part! When I
would come armed with all of this preparatory information into the
teaching itself, the experience would always be almost literally out of
this world. It was so much an expression of me letting go and of
letting Hashem teach through me that I became just as much of a student
as the rest of the students. I never really knew what type of novel
ideas would come out of my mouth and I always would end up very
I — If I understand you properly, this preparing
and then spontaneous letting go type of expression could apply in any
actively? Such as even what we’re doing now… creative interviewing.
Y — Absolutely — All you have to do is to add the
ingredients of ‘I.D.F.’ — integrated Dvaikus focus and Whalaaah —
|Paradising in a depressed or paralyzed state
I — That sounds really great, but I’ve got a point
that still doesn’t sit right with me in this whole Paradise lifestyle
that you’re trying to get across. That is that all of it is fine for
the person who is relatively not troubled about life in all of its
multi-various reality, but what about what seems to be the great
majority of people who rarely experience a day of true peace of mind
and are spending virtually all of their energies just trying to keep
sane and to keep themselves from sinking even deeper into the mud of
life’s constant nagging problems from within and without?!
Y — Your question is an excellent one… One of your
best so far… it absolutely demands proper treatment, but first I would
like to qualify one thing. What I’m attempting to get across is a new
possible approach to living — and that is to do it in a Paradise way. I
think that is applicable for every person on almost any given day of
his life. At least in one or a few neutral activities. Now… having said
that, would you like to deal with your challenge — Paradise Living even
while in a very troubled, affected, depressed or ‘paralysed’ state of
I — You mean to imply that Paradise Living is
possible even for what seems to be a very non- Paradise situation?
Y — I’m not only implying that it’s possible, but
with Hashem’s help I’d like to actually suggest a number of different
ways to make it very real.
I — Sound like just the think that the doctor
ordered. Would you like me to throw out a few possible scenarios of
troubled people and then you in your new role of Dr. Paradise would
prescribe a cure for your patients?
Y — I think that to get this point across, we
should speak very generally first by listing all the various seemingly
anti-Paradise situations and then another corresponding list of cures.
We can leave the one on one problem and solutions to Dr Paradise’s
I — I would never dear of interfering with your
private practice doctor… So perhaps you can define for us the general
|The troubled one loses the "Extras"
Y — Thank you for your cooperation. Basically I
believe that the main idea that encompasses all of those who are
troubled, is something that was brought by the former Rebbe of Slonim
(Z’’l) — In the first volume of his amazing Torah based series called
"Ntivot Shalom". He says that one who is ‘troubled’ functions in a very
minimal fashion… meaning that all the normal "Extras" that a person
carries around with him are absent from the troubled person. All he
really has going for him are those personality traits or personal
powers that he acquired to serve him as part and parcel of his
personality. There are ‘personality powers’ that he hasn’t acquired,
yet when he is not troubled, these non-acquired powers are accessible
to him as well. These are the ‘Extras’ that he looses on becoming
I — That sounds like a very fascinating insight
into human nature. Perhaps you can illustrate further!!
Y — Certainly — Let’s take a few examples such as
a person who experiences some type of loss in his life such as a big
cut monetarily in his area of livelihood. Because of his crisis, his
mind is occupied twice as much with all the angles of the different
decision and approaches he must make and therefore to the extent of his
preoccupation he’s less able to be integrated, present and transcendent
with all that comes his way in life.
I — Is this what you mean that he’s functioning in
a minimal fashion with out all of the extras?
Y — Partially, but I haven’t finished? There is
the ‘Emotional Factor’, the ‘Spiritual Factor’, the ‘Willpower Factor
and a number of others involved in this story…
I — Excuse me — Could you please fill the rest of
Y — Yes yes, I am getting there… Patience please!
You see… My good friend is an explorer type like myself and is fond of
say, "We human beings are multidimensional creatures. WE don’t only
cope in our lives with intellectual intelligence, there are other
intelligences involved as well… such as what I began talking about:
Emotional intelligent, spiritual willpower and other intelligences.
When a person is very troubled, all of these different faculties sort
of go automatically into a paralysis, shock or minimally functional
state. I think that if we thought about it we could come up with
parallels in the human body and even more Mega-Ways such as societal
paralysis, worldwide paralysis and other examples.
I — So that’s what you meant by saying that the
troubled one who is functioning minimally loses all of his "Extras".
Y — That’s correct… It’s all systems down. This
includes all of us from time to time because we all experience a loss
whether it is financially, in terms of a loss of social status or
esteem we receive from people. This is particularly applicable with
people who are closest to us. Sometimes the loss can be in a more
‘real’ form, like the loss of a friend, a job or a business…
I — You need not go into greater detail — The idea
of loss is clear, what is not clear is how any of us when we find
ourselves in these paralysis states can possibly even remotely consider
being in a state of Paradise?!
Y- O.K. If you bear with me and give me your full
attention I think you’ll understand. By way of quick review our
Paradise State is I.D.F (Integrated Lower Soul; Dvaikus; Focus), at
first with a framework and then a transcendent letting go — So why not
take this troubled minimal functioning paralysed person and plug him
into his Paradise State as well… Not based on where a healthy person
would be holding, but based on where this person is at in his paralysis.
I — Please Elaborate Dr. Paradise or should I say
Y — Don’t you see? Instead of this poor fellow
torturing himself because he’s not functioning like a healthy person —
which is his suffering or sufferings, because not only is he focusing
too much on his issues, but he is also beating himself up consistently
because he is not like the people who are healthy in their perspective
of the world. So with that in mind why not be accepting of the person
exactly where he is wallowing in his basement or his paralysed state…
Let him be!!! Not only am I talking about the incredible healing that
can result by accepting him as he is, but I’m saying that one should
let him feel as if he’s REALLY in Paradise now! He should know that
according to his Divine Providence, his reality has been determined in
such a way, that the best possible place for him to be in, is exactly
where he is right now… The truth is that any other scenario is only
second best!!! What ever his needs are and what ever the rectification
is that he needs to do, let him do it with a full heart and with full
I - Can you tell us how?!
|Radical acceptance as opposed to romantic notions
Y — The first step is acceptance of my situation
exactly the way it is, and not according to some romantic notion of
what it’s supposed to be like. My long-time research partner just wrote
one of his very unique research papers exactly on this point, called
"Romantic Notions". He points out that all of us have suffered
intensely and caused others around us to suffer, because of these
bizarre notions of what we, our close relations and even Hashem are
supposed to be like. The source of the suffering is our belief of what
we ‘think’ all of them should be living up to as opposed to what they
are, and through this we make others around us and ourselves miserable.
I — Is it wrong to expect of ourselves and other
to be better than they are?!
Y — Absolutely not — To the contrary, we should
always strive for improvement. The whole trick is to know at which
point in the healing process to begin actively improving. What I mean
to say is that unless we profoundly and openly accept where we are at
now, in all of our lowliness and helplessness, we can’t start healing
ourselves. Rather we detach this unwanted part of ourselves or we fall
into horrible paralysing depression about it, not seeing ourselves and
others for what we are. We jump to solutions without applying them to
the problem. If a person doesn’t see and accept the problem as it is,
all solutions are like Band-Aids and Aspirins… not having the capacity
to access the core healing, but just providing a mask, for a limited
period of time, until we are forced to face the core issue again.
I — In that case may I ask… So how then can he
acquire this acceptance, and this healing/ Paradise state acceptance
that you seem to be highlighting?
|Radical Acceptance of ones helplessness with a crying group
Y — Now you’re on my wavelength… O.K. Fine, One
answer is to feel oneself as being helpless, powerless and in pain
before one solutionises. I’ve found that I can connect with this best
in one of two ways. One of them is the subject of another whole
research project that my friends and I have been writing about and
actively practicing for the last year and a half. We call it a ‘Crying
Group’. We set a stop clock for about 45 minutes and grab a darkened
corner of the room and begin to cry or scream or whatever else one
wants to do in order to heal his soul or connect to oneself and to
Hashem. My experience of this exercise has been to create an awareness
or consciousness in my life of all the areas in which I’m helpless… And
to accept them and develop and awareness that it is here that the REAL
AUTHENTIC me exists. I put into perspective that these helpless areas
of my life is where lies my true personal life quest and challenge or
"Tikkun" (Rectification)… Then, only then do I begin solutionising!
Naturally the first solution is to bring Hashem into the picture as the
one who loves, nurtures and helps me out of this and any other
situations, as his 100% track record has shown 1000’s of times in the
past. That’s the real beginning of healing. By the way the other tool I
use is the "Mikve" tool that I elaborated on earlier, which for me adds
the Paradise element of realising that this situation is the best
possible one I could be in for my TRUE healing and perfection as part
of my Divine Perfection process!!
I — I’m getting the picture and I can tell you
that it sounds very liberating, so let’s go on to the next step. There
we are feeling ourselves in all of our naked helplessness and we feel
Hashem is nurturing up and taking the burden off of our shoulders… What
Y — The truth of the matter is that if one
connects up with Hashem in a powerful enough way, one doesn’t need
anything else! What happens is that most people are not real enough
with their release to Hashem or with their conception of Hashem, and as
a result one needs extra — ‘Human Help’. This can take many different
forms. Since our subject is ‘Paradise’ I’m not going to elaborate on
these solutions here… let’s just say that the general direction is to
take oneself or one’s friend gently by the hand and begin to project
where he would like to ultimately be, and then take the necessary steps
to get there.
I — That sounds like a unique type of counselling…
Y — It is! I call it Ratzon counselling and it’s
perhaps my most successful and practical research tool. I’ve used it
consistently over the last couple years to help bring people to the
projected desired goals, with Hashem’s help.
I — Is there Paradise involved in the process!!
|Actualizing ones Desire Paradise
Y — There’s only as much Paradise involved as one
consciously works on or awakens in oneself. But the very fact that one
is doing what he really wants to be doing is in itself an aspect of
Paradise. Especially in our troubled person who is truly in touch with
and accepting of himself. His desired goal is to be much more plugged
into a ‘True Paradise’ type of awareness. He is closer to fulfilling
all of the Paradise elements we’ve mentioned so far. I.D.F
transcendence — He’s integrated his lower troubled self. He’s enacted
the Hashem Dvaikus element. He’s opened up to how he truly is now and
thus he’s focused on projecting himself in such a way that he will
become or achieve what he TRULY wants to be. At that point he can
transcend all of his paralysing inner self-sabotaging tendencies and
scripts that he keeps telling himself… What is left is for him to sit
back and enjoy the ride as he watches Hashem guiding him towards
actualising his true desire!!
I — That sounds very very encouraging and I think
basically what we have left to accomplish in this interview is to
summarise the main topics briefly and maybe give over a few practical
exercises in every area. I feel that will enable everyone to walk away
with a feeling that he truly is taking something home with him.
Y — Thank you again for your guidance… I strongly
agree… lets begin with the summary!!
Chapter 4: A summary with other exercises and
I — I suppose the best way to do this summary is
to focus on summary statements with a few chosen exercises.
|I.D.F transcendence formula
Y — Good, lets begin!! The formula for Paradising
in any and every situation is I . D . F… Which is:
- ‘I’ Transcendence through integrating my lower
and higher self maximally into all that I’m doing.
- ‘D’ — Dvaikus, based on the realisation that
with the awareness of Hashem I have well-being and without I don’t. It
is basically the activity of constantly connecting with Hashem in all
- ‘F’ — Focus I do whatever it is that I do in
life with total presence. I’m in the ‘here and now’ with all that comes
- Transcending: Once I prepare the ‘vessels’ or
groundwork for myself for my intended area of activity, I let go!! I
let the music play through me, so to speak!! I let Hashem into my
creative process…basically through what I am doing.
I — Any other good exercises for being totally
Y — Of course… Besides what
we mentioned a few times in this interview about developing a sense of
Divine Providence always guiding one into the best possible reality in
his or her life… and also opening up to what we mentioned regarding the
Mikve dunking exercise. There is another exercise that I would like to
mention briefly as well… Follow the following meditation:
|24 - Hour Paradise Exercise
Step 1: In your minds eye, picture your next 24
hours, exactly as you interpret them, with all of their ups and downs
Step 2: Envisage filling up your "Paradise gas
tank" with a sense of well being that we learned in the "Mikve"
exercise we learnt above… as well as another ingredient; Go back and
recall all the situations you were in, where you needed Divine help
over the previous 24 hour period, and then recall how Hashem helped you
out in one way or another in most of the situations - With this
knowledge of Hashem’s perfect track record of how he got you past the
bumps and fixes of the past 24 hours, gain clarity of how he is going
to get you through the next 24 hours positively and with ease…. So at
this point envisage filling up your ‘Paradise gas tank’ with a solid
and positive sense of Divine Nurturing.
Step 3: Go back to visualising your next 24 hours
in detail, but this time with your personal ‘Paradise gas tank’ filled
with Paradise, just being able to "Zap Away" the upcoming obstacles of
your next day.
Step 4: Do it…. LIVE THE DAY IN THE MOMENT!!!
In summation, these preliminary exercises should
provide enough of a sense of divine based security, for you to let go
and be totally present with the day that is ahead of you!!
I — Wonderful — Onwards with the issue of
integration of Upper and Lower Souls!!
|Lower and Upper Soul Win-Win unity and
Y — In summing it up - We discussed the
possibility of integrating my Lower into the entirety of my life. We
said that usually the Lower Soul is an antagonist to say the least…
specifically to anything worthwhile that we want to accomplish or
become. Our ‘will’ in this context consists of our Upper Soul
considerations. So we discussed the possibility of giving the Lower
Soul a fair chance… Listening to it and making a peace pact with it,
out of a position of love and respect. Ultimately we are looking to
create the best win-win deal, where not only the Upper and Lower
interests are getting what they want, but they’re working together in
such a way that they are able to accomplish together much more than
when they’re working separately!! The ultimate fulfilment of our Jewish
challenge to serve Hashem "with all our heart"…. This means with both
the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ hearts both united.
I — Any exercises?
Y — I don’t recall mentioning any exercises
earlier, so I’ll mention a few now:
- Write a letter to Hashem expressing your Lower
Soul’s trials and tribulations in integrating with my higher soul, and
writ back what I think Hashem would answer… keeping the correspondence
- Go into a core state, and ask yourself what
would I want even more than what I’ve got now. Keep asking and getting
more basic until you are in the most primal state possible… but with a
very cooperative Lower Soul.
- Make a win-win deal between your Upper and
Lower Souls. Here the two sides negotiate a written contract until
they’re fully satisfied. After that be very careful to guard the
integrity of the contract by sticking to it.
- Use creative expressions including music,
writing and having fun as part of the opportunity of expressing the
lower part of yourself, in a non-dangerous or ‘Assur’ (Forbidden) way.
Use these creative expressions for higher soul considerations such as
prayer, Dvaikus, interpersonal righteousness, Mitzvot etc…
I — I know that you could probably go on and on,
but I feel that we should be wrapping our message up to complete this
interview. I believe that the entire topic of Paradising in life’s
various situations speaks for itself and therefore I’ll ask you to just
end off with a work about future possibilities and challenges.
Y — Let’s just say what we began with…
|Restating this interviews purpose and future possibilities
The purpose of
this interview is to create the possibility for a new way to live our
lives, in a state of mind called Paradise. What’s being presented is a
formula, some illustrations, explanations and practical exercises to do
I see the challenge as being met successfully if
anyone including myself is inspired to live in Paradise. The more
people there are doing it and the more inspiration, the greater the
success. Let it be Hashem’s will that this will help anyone to really
make a break through in the quality of your life, in actualising
yourself and in bringing all of us back into the Garden of Eden, which
we fell from close to 6000 years ago.
I’ve already started the writing of a newsletter
called the Paradise Principle Report, with special columns including
Dr. Paradise — Instructing people with how to heal and actualise
themselves with Paradise type methods. But the REAL future possibility
depends on the reader’s response to this challenge of living their
lives in Paradise.
© Yitzchak Schwartz Contact us at: