Visiting Parents

"If you have been doing inner work for some time, a visit with your family is an excellent opportunity to discover how well you have done." - Eckhart Tolle

I'm visiting my parents now. Since I last visited them about one year and nine months ago, I've experienced some fundamental inner transformation. So before this visit I decided to make it an examination to check the effectiveness of this inner work.

It seems to me that I've been able to evade more of my possible conflicts with them by reacting more mindfully than all my previous visits though this is not easy at all. What makes it difficult for me to face this time is to see my parents "asleep" - each in his or her own manner. My father seems deeply trapped in the prison of his egoic mind, obsessively following his "rituals" and even forcing them upon people around them, while my mother reacts mostly mindlessly to his egoic speech and action.

As a former "convict" of this mind-made prison who also acted mindlessly most of the time, I have deep compassion toward them on the one hand, and feel totally helpless on the other, for a true lasting change is possible only when it comes from inside.

I don't think my parents are special in this respect. The majority of the human beings are "asleep", that is, unaware that they are trapped in their own "inner matrix", so to speak. But this doesn't console me when I see my parents in such a state.

Having become aware of my own "inner matrix", I can understand and articulate more clearly now why I've never wanted to have my own children. The single most important reason is my strong instinctive desire to break this vicious circle by refusing to pass this "inner matrix" to the next generation.

I might be able to liberate myself from this prison, but I have a new reason for feeling no need to have my own children. It's the realization that we are essentially divine sparks connected to each other, so I have no reason to stick to the idea of having "my own" children. I'm also starting to realize that separate selves are illusions of our egoic mind.


Reflections during the First Days of Staying in Japan after a Long Absence

The first thing that caught my attention when I arrived in Japan about ten days ago after the absence of one year and nine months is general fear. It's something I didn't notice so clearly in my previous visits.

I've been asking myself what so many people seem to be so afraid of, not in order to blame them and/or the society, but out of compassion as they as divine sparks can live without such fear.

My hypothesis is that they are afraid of hurting others as they are afraid of being hurt by others. For the purpose of this double protection the society seems to have developed a very elaborate set of unwritten rules that regulate the speech and action of its "law-abiding" citizens. But these rules can't regulate the thought of the people, to say nothing of their mind and emotions.

This fear-based approach is a "short long way" that reminds me of the teachings of the Musar Movement, which I studied for three years from one of its followers and had to abandon because of their negative effect upon me.

A much healthier "long short way" would be to develop immunity to conflicts in interpersonal relationships as they are inevitable. I believe that the teachings of Hasidism, which are joy-based instead of fear-based, have much to offer to non-Jews, too.

I myself need these teachings now as I already feel that my spiritual energy is being drained constantly in this general atmosphere of fear.

In addition to the official purpose - working at two libraries for my last research project in the area of the practical lexicography of Modern Hebrew - and the "secret mission" of this visit I've imposed upon myself one task - to remain mindful.

When I visited Japan last time with someone who has become my ex-wife in the meanwhile, I remained mindless most of the time, constantly craving for the next dose of alcohol.

My subsequent divorce, which has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as a great teacher of life, has made me become sober for the first time in 37 years and remain so until today.

It was after this fundamental change that I started feeling the effect of my mindfulness practice. I've been able to remain mindful or meta-cognizant of my thoughts and emotions most of the time during this visit so far instead of remaining "asleep" most of the time like last time.


"Secret Mission" of a Forthcoming Trip to Japan

I'm going on a three-week trip to Japan next week. When I was there last time in October 2017, I was a rather newly married man who was still addicted to alcohol and had his thought, speech and action totally controlled by his ego(ic mind).

Since then I've experienced divorce, which has turned out to be a blessing in disguise not because I wanted it but because it has taught me so many important lessons of life, including the meta-lesson that suffering can be (or even is) the best teacher of life.

This blessing in disguise has brought me closer to the teachings of Chabad Hasidism through a series of totally unexpected encounters, taking a course in Jewish psychology based on these (and other Hasidic) teachings this academic year.

Two of the messages of the principal of the school where I took this course in Jerusalem are the fourth revolution in the Torah study - spreading certain parts of the teachings of Hasidism to non-Jews - and transforming darkness (עצבות) to light (שמחה) through these teachings.

A "secret mission" I've decided to impose upon myself during this visit of mine to Japan with a totally new perspective is to check how I can help those people in Japan who are suffering from inner darkness through my new practice of Jewish life coaching that is based on some of the teachings of the Book of Tanya - a Chabad classic by its founder Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.

Yes, I have to confess that I've become a kind of Tanya junkie after spending six months studying its first part - Book of Inbetweeners - by myself and through one amazing online course spanning 200 hours in total.