Benefits of Mindfulness

Since I dared about a month ago to start sharing what little theoretical and practical knowledge I have accumulated about mindfulness with a few friends of mine here in Jerusalem and hearing what they have to say about their new experience with it, I can reappreciate much better know benefits of mindfulness in my daily life, especially in my interpersonal relationships.

When I was still deeply trapped in my mind-made prison and my drinking habit, I identified my thoughts as myself and tried to numb my very mind, which in turn lead to my mindless reactions to what other people who were unlucky enough to come into contact with me said and/or did to me. This way I have harmed and often destroyed my relationships with many of them, including those who have decided to sever their connection with me.

Since then I seem to have come a long way. The most important turning point my way to mindful living occurred when I stopped drinking completely about a year and a half after drinking 37 years and trying many time in vain before to stop drinking.

Now I can see clearly that when I tried to numb my mind by drinking heavily, I not only became mindless but even went down below the level of an animal, saying and doing what my Animal Soul thought and felt. Since I stopped drinking, I've also started to feel stronger effects of my daily practice of mindfulness in two areas of my daily life.

First, I don't equate my thoughts with my true self and can leave space between them, observing and even accepting not only my thoughts but also my emotions and physical sensations more non-judgementally. I feel I need less and less effort to prevent my mind-controlled false self from reacting to internal and external stimuli. This way I have been able to save many interpersonal relationships which I might have destroyed otherwise.

Second, I have become far more compassinate toward mindless behaviors of other people, whether verbal and nonverbal, seeing in them what I used to be. Now I seldom get angry with them as before.

As this feeling of compassion grows stronger, I also feel like sharing my knowledge-shmowlege of mindfulness with as many people as possible so that they may not have to pay the same heavy price I had to pay due to my mindless speech and action. So I have decided to take an online course in teaching mindfulness soon so that I may be able to teach it more professionally as part of my future practice of Jewish life coaching.


Commemorating the First Anniversary of the Death of Something Precious

"Sometimes you just have to turn the page to realize there's more to your book of life than the page you're stuck on. Stop being afraid to move on. Close this chapter of hurt, and never re-read it. It's time to get what your life deserves, and move on from the things that don't deserve you. Don't try to fix what's been broken in your past, let your future create something better." - Trent Shelton

Yesterday I commemorated the first anniversary of the death (yortsayt) of something precious to me by reflecting on this year and meeting someone who was also involved with this something precious, if not its death.

I don't remember any other period in my life in which I underwent such fundamental internal transformation as this one year after this death. Naturally, this unprecedented life experience came as a great shock to me at first, which in turn caused me a lot of emotional and even physical sufferings. In retrospect, the turning point in this spiritual journey of mine happened when I became so depressed and desperate that I had no choice left but to surrender.

When I try to recall how I must have thought and felt internally and looked externally and compare this to my present situation, I feel as if I were talking about two different people at least internally, if not externally. Among the most essential differences are that now I'm more mindful and peaceful and have a much clearer view of my own life purpose as well as how the personal and collective egos work and affect our life.

One of the most crucial but demanding tasks during this year has been to completely forgive this other "player" so that I may not remain stuck in my own mind-made prison. Our meeting and subsequent shmooze have confirmed me that I feel neither anger nor resentment.

I also feel that this old page in my book of life, which ended officially one year ago, has come to an end for my mind, and I can now move on to continue a new page I was forced to open one year ago.


Intellectual vs. Emotional Comfortableness with Languages

At long last I've started practicing life coaching as a coach as part of both curricular and extracurricular activities in Yiddish and Japanese respectively.

The school where I study life coaching in English this academic year offers six supervized practicum groups - five in English and one in Yiddish. Though my English must be much better than my Yiddish both lexically and stylistically, I've opted for the Yiddish practicum group as I feel far more comfortable with Yiddish than English emotionally. Though I have quite a few chances to speak Yiddish here in Jerusalem, I've never lived in any anglophone country, so English remains a tool of intellectual communication for me. On the other hand, I spent two full intensive years speaking Yiddish for not only intellectual but also emotional purposes. As life coaching has more to do with emotions than intellect, I simply don't feel comfortable enough coaching someone in English.

Do I also feel more comfortable with Japanese than English? Definitely! The former is my first language chronologically. But I'm not sure if I always feel more comfortable in Japanese than Yiddish emotionally. My true first language is a northern dialect of Japanese, which is quite different from standard Japanese, which is the variety I still use. But I haven't had so many emotionally intensive direct experiences in this standard Japanese. In a sense it remains a tool of intellectual communication though not in the same degree as English.

This self-introspection has lead me to a conclusion that has also surprised even myself - Hebrew has already become my present first language in that I feel more comfortable with it both emotionally and intellectually than any other language, including English, Yiddish and even Japanese.

In spite of this special "status" of Hebrew for me I've decided to target speakers of Japanese of my future practice of Jewish life coaching, which incorporates teachings of Chabad Hasidism, mainly because they seem to benefit more from this practice than speakers of Hebrew. Another factor is that there must be enough Hebrew-speaking Jewish life coaches, but I may be the only Jewish life coach who can also speak Japanese.


Spiritual Incubation

I'm starting to witness the first two signs of my spiritual incubation after about two years of intensive spiritual learning and practice: 1) sharing with some friends of mine what little skill of mindfulness I've acquired in the past two years by learning and practicing it; 2) coaching two people who are kind enough to volunteer to be coachees in my still experimental practice of Jewish spiritual life coaching based on the teachings of Chabad Hasidism.

In neither cases I feel I'm skillful enough, but I can continue to feel this way eternally. So I've decided to improve my skill by practicing it in real situations involving other people instead of remaining inside a comfortable incubator with no one else as I've already learned from my own experience that the best way to learn something is to teach it.

As I continue my spiritual transformation by trying to transcend the levels of consciousness, I'll have to be prepared to accept the possibility that many other people than the above, including friends of mine, may have little or no understanding of such a journey and the actual necessity thereof in spite of my growing desire to instigate as many people as possible to directly experience the process of becoming aware of their respective ego and all the problems its "garments", i.e., egoic thought, speech and action, cause to themselves.

The next possible stage of my spiritual incubation is the actual process of transcending the ego through the teachings and spiritual practice of Chabad Hasidism.