Apocalypse=REVELATION, NOT 'the end of the world'...

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Re: Apocalypse=REVELATION, NOT 'the end of the world'...

Post  MoMo on Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:51 am

le sabrage wrote:
el kabong wrote:Yoo Hoo, lilly willy, I notice you retain alot of anger, jealousy, envy, etc...........you must learn to overcome your ego and manifest lovingkindness to all, even those you feel have wronged you. thumbs up



Negative emotions have much to teach us about ourselves and our relationships with others and the world at large.

the consequences of malicious gossip, slander, and insults

cultivating humility as the middle path between pride and lack of self-

learning to rejoice in the happiness and success of others

knowing when it's better not to be nice

the proper way to correct or criticize others

living with ill-will and avoiding fights

forgiveness and reconciliation

turning your enemy into your best friend


The Torah recognizes one positive use of jealousy - be envious of the virtues in others. thumbs up

"Envy," according to Rabbi Bonder, is "a vampire who feeds not on his own vitality but on that of others." Like anger, gossip, and negative emotions, it "pollutes the heart." Instead of resenting the happiness of others, we can practice "farginen," a Yiddish word meaning making a pact with another person's pleasure or success.

"Envy is the most abstract form of rage." (4) There is a
sense to Bonder that the conflict here is between "I" and the "other." In this sense his thesis takes on the elements not only of
Buber but also of what we have seen regarding Eastern thought. He will speak later of the importance of dialogic
communication to break the chains forged by this powerful enslaver. He makes an interesting point in the Introduction in
speaking of the Ten Commandments. Why is it that the last commandment deals with envy or coveting? "The Rabbi of Radvil
explained: 'This is the last of the Commandments because he who fulfills it will certainly have complied with the rest.'" (5)

Bonder next talks about the power of envy by repeating a story from the Talmud. In it Moses had asked God why he had to
die, and God explained it was because he had already named Joshua to lead the people. Moses then tried to persuade both
Joshua and God that if he could live he would be content with not being in charge. Finally God agreed. But the first time
Joshua entered the Holy of Holies and Moses could not enter Moses prayed for death saying., "A hundred deaths are
preferable to the pain of envy." This gives us some idea of the pain and power of envy, but probably most of us do not need it
pointed out. The problem as Bonder says is that it often does not just come at the end of our life where it can so easily be
avoided. The author then establishes the purpose of the book as "not so much a study of the pathology of envy as it is a guide
to how to live with it." (11) That study will involve ancient as well as modern techniques.

Envy and all that relates to it, more than any other emotions, enslaves us to another person. Rabbi Zalmon Shachter-Shalomi,
(he lectures at the Naropa Institute in Boulder), is quoted as describing Envy as the "Poker-game syndrome." Winning in this
game depends on another's loss, and it is even better if one wins by bluffing. The goal therefore is not so much a personal
victory, but an opponents defeat. Each player tries to hide what he has from his opponent. Envy turns its slave into a heartless

The second chapter deals with envy and how it relates to other worlds. These other worlds are a Kabbalistic idea. These four
worlds will be discussed in a little more detail later, but suffice it to say that they represent a composite of who we are. They
represent the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions. They are essentially overlays. Perhaps I can draw an
analogy based on my teaching photography in journalism. I had a four color separation that I would show to my students.
As the layers of red, yellow, and green were successively laid down, the picture would begin to look better and better, but it
wasn’t until the final layer of black was overlaid that the picture really looked sharp. It was also shown to them the
importance of aligning them just right or the picture comes out blurry. So too are the worlds. When things seem distorted we
are not in proper alignment to them. Bonder's explanation is as follows, "These worlds, coexistent and superimposed on one
another, serve to transport mundane events, starting with the most concrete, into more subtle dimensions of reality. In addition
to the four worlds effects on anger, there is also a cumulative effect. Just as small doses of something behave in one way while
cumulatively they can be altered in nature, so too hatred. Bonder gives many examples in the form of midrashic stories, but I
imagine we have had first hand experience with a small anger being left to fester and growing way out of proportion. One
interesting note is that the majority of stories have to do with problems of borrowing and lending. I suspect in some way or
other that is the cause of most anger and frustration today as well. Our whole economic structure is built around breaking the
wise axium, "neither a borrower nor a lender be." I have railed against Capitalism before and I will do it again. This is a
system that uses greed and avarice as its fuel and its inevitable by-product is envy, anger and frustration. This represents the
worlds out of balance.

There is a long section on the four worlds relationship to this topic. Condensed: hatred, voraciousness greed and slander exist
in the out of balance world of the physical -- Asiyah. Hatred turns into revenge, pride, jealousy, and talebearing in the
emotional world of Yetzirah. It continues to grow into feuding, envy, arragance and an evil tongue as it passes into the mental
Beriah. And finally karma, skepticism, and heresy are the result of hatred in the spiritual world of Atzilut. I think this is the main
point for Bonder in his trying to present a plan of action for defeating envy. We may not be able to control our physical natures
easily, but we can recognize the warning signs and stop the progress before it reaches our spirits. I want to present this in
another way to make certain that Bonder's point is made. The following is the progression of hatred and its fellows:

While the ultimate goal is to eliminate the problem before it starts at the physical level, the starting point is to try to halt its
progress. One of the most important places to start is with pride. There is much written about this, but Bonder makes several
interesting points. One is that humility is not the opposite of pride; lack of self-esteem is. "Humility is the point of equilibrium."
(36) One of the dangers of pride is that it can disguise itself as personal growth. According to Rabbi Mendel Libavitser,
"There is no worse pride than the pride of the pious." And according to Bonder, "Of all the types of pride, the pride of a
person who thinks he is growing as a human being is the worst." (37) The sad thing is that this goes to the heart of the self-
improvement movement. It becomes just another possession that if you spend enough money you can "possess" goodness
and maturity "They want to possess growth as one possesses a diploma, instead of living it and enduring the pangs that are an
intrinsic part of growth." Bonder uses a great analogy that pride represents a negative sign, so that no matter how many
points you gather towards enlightenment, pride instantly turns the number into a negative . The solution to pride is humility.

Proverbs 22:4 says, "The effect of humility is fear of the Lord, wealth, honor, and life." Bonder equates humility with the fear
of God. He uses many texts to prove his point, but let me try and apply this to those who may have a difficult time with the
notion of God. The point is that we must fear or respect something that is far removed from the physical plane. The effect of
that is to move us past the concern for how we appear to others. Ghandi is a great example of humility. Of course we can not
all instantly achieve his status, but if we could set men like him rather then many of the actors, or sports figures or politicians or
even self-help gurus that we tend to idolize, we would at least be moving in the right direction. So fear does not mean fear of
retribution, but rather fear that we will somehow disappoint whatever god we choose to put into that position, and unless that
god is truly worthy of emulating, we will get our desire and become just like him or her to our Karmic destruction. We must
choose whom we fear carefully and then we must be willing to live our lives in service to that choice as if he or she were right
there with us at every moment. I just read an example of this from the book Ghandi. Gopal Krishna Gokhale was a leader in
the Indian nationalist movement and very well respected in his own right. He said of Ghandi, "In Ghandi's presence, one is
ashamed to do anything unworthy….afraid of thinking anything unworthy." (44) This would be classified as the fear of Ghandi.

OK, I have to move on or I will never get this finished. In chapter 3, "Reasons For Hate," Bonder discusses some of the
emotional and physical situations we get into that causes hatred or rancor to grow. One of the main reasons is differences.
We tend to love and easily forgive those who we perceive as close to us, and close off those who are different. To overcome
this we must first learn to love ourself, "All love begins with loving oneself and then seeing in others…different people who
are part of us. The important thing to note here, is that we are not called to defy our nature by forcing ourselves to love those
who are not connected with us in some way. The trick is to fool our nature by expanding the realm of those we see as our
family. Again, as Bonder puts it, "Personal growth occurs not out of an attempt to love non-children/siblings or
disciples/friends, nor from the expectation of betraying our natures, but from a constant review of who we are." (50)

Bonder next discusses humiliation. We have seen that come up so many times before that I wont spend any time with it here
except to say that it is a vital part of our growth to put that behind us. I was watching television the other day and I saw a
commercial for America's Funniest Home Videos. That show, and going all the way back to Alan Funt's Candid Camera
shows off our love for seeing others humiliated. Even the so called "Reality Shows" that are so popular today are built at the
expense of someone else's pride. Another example of humiliation is gossip. This has often caused great grief, and again, I don't
think that needs defending, but as to how to combat it. Bonder quotes Reb Israel Meir who came up with a formula for when
criticism, (Often a dressed up word we use for slander or gossip), is constructive:
1.Evidence of dishonesty or faults must be obtained by the person who makes
the criticism and not by way of rumors he has heard.
2. The person who criticizes must be cautious and reflect deeply on the matter, to
to be sure that this is an instance of an incorrect attitude.
3. He must then privately censure the person who committed the error, without
creating a furor and in a nonthreatening manner, showing his expectation
that the behavior in question will be changed. If this does not occur, then
he may make the case public.

4. He should never make the offense appear greater than it is.
5. He should try to understand his own motives and be sure he is not criticizing
the other for personal reasons.
6. If there is any other way to avoid slandering the other, he should first
resort to that method.
7. As a result of his action, he should not bring upon the criticized individual
a punishment greater than that proffered by a court if the case were to
be judged.
In addition to all this, a person who publicly slanders someone should himself
be honest and not guilty of the same type of crimes or faults for which he is criticizing
the other. (65-66)

Well, there goes our legal system.

Slander and humiliation invades the other's privacy and space. This is also something we should consider. We need to be
careful of another's space, and if ours is invaded we need to question whether or not we actually left enough room for the
other to avoid interfering. Bonder put it nicely when he said, "When people step on our toes, many times they do it because
we have left no other space for them to stand, except on our own feet. " (69) So what is the answer here? We must strive to
allow other's their space and understand what our own space looks like. When we are criticized or think we are, we need to
be very careful to really understand where the arrow is coming from and where it was really intended to go.

Bonder starts off the next section entitled, "Quarreling," with a great Yiddish proverb, "If the heart is bitter, nothing will
sweeten the mouth." (75) Essentially what Bonder talks about in the first section is that we generally have the greatest quarrels
or feuds with those who are closest to us and most often the quarrel is over something that the quarreler hates about himself.
According to the Maggid of Mezeritz, "Do not be discouraged by strong opposition. Robbers attack those who carry jewels,
not carts carrying fertilizer." (76) What a great illustration. If we could think to ourselves every time someone picks a fight
with us that we should be flattered that this person sees us as worthy to try and rob from. We should be flattered. If we could
truly feel that way, what kind of response do you think that would engender? I would venture to guess it would be completely
different from our normal response. Another suggestion Bonder makes for ending what may seem impossible feuds is taken
from the story of Jacob's wrestling with the Angel. I will assume you know the story, so I wont repeat it, but there are a few
interesting insights that Bonder has. Jacob was about to meet Esau and this is a classic feud story, but before he met him,
Jacob dreamt he wrestled with an Angel who was actually God. We must recognize that when we quarrel with someone, we
are actually quarreling with God, but we often avoid that fight. We shouldn't. It is only by wrestling with God or our innermost
self that we can bring about change. That change may turn us inside out or create in us a whole new person with a different
name, (Jacob to Israel), but it beats the alternative which is being beaten down by our demons of rage. There is another
interesting point that the author makes. "Jacob had come to a river whose name is an anagram formed by the inversion of the
letters of his own name (J-c-b; J-b-c )." (83) We must often turn our way of looking at things around in order to see who
we really should be fighting with. It is interesting that God seems to encourage us then to fight with him rather than others. Even
the name Israel which was to became a great and glorious name means "he who fights with God." One of the fringe benefits of
fighting with God is that it could keep us from falling into the trap of believing that you are absolutely right and your opponent
(God) is absolutely wrong. Bonder tells a story that illustrates the point, "Judge not lest you be judged." But I prefer to think
about that in the light of another story that essentially says that when we stand before God, every word of judgement that we
spoke about others will be used to sentence ourselves. Scary thought. One of the keys here is to always, always doubt the
things we believe are certain when we are angry, and never argue by criticizing others or justifying ourselves. We must be very
careful whenever we feel we are right because, "Being right lies on a tenuous line between true worship and idol worship."
(89) There is a belief that when we truly learn to engage in dialogue that the Messiah will come. So how can we have
legitimate differences of opinion with another person? We must always respect our opponent and (this is a great key) "He
must reach the complex stage of knowing he is not right, but being certain he is not wrong." That takes some contemplation,
but it soon proves to be a powerful insight into how to argue dialogically. While this can help us when we are in the midst of
conflict, Bonder's next chapter will talk about avoidance.

One of the first ways to avoid conflict is learning to see each situation clearly. I have heard the story that Bonder tells here
before, but I love it and I think it's worth repeating:
The king visited the royal prison and spoke with the prisoners. Each who
Approached vowed his innocence, except for one prisoner, who confessed
to being a thief. "Get this scoundrel out of here!" exclaimed the king. "He
will corrupt the innocent!" (95)

It is no accident that one of the physical characteristics of anger is squinting the eyes. If we could see clearly we would most
likely not be angry. Just as in the last paper, we talked about hearing what was not said, so too must we be able to see what
may not be obviously visible. This is the stuff of prophets and holy men which is available to each and everyone of us. Bonder
puts it succinctly when he says, "Prophecy comes from a wise person's ability to keep his eyes open when everyone else's are
closed." (98) Most of us when confronted with a child who does outrageous things can react with patience and
understanding. This is a child after all. I remember one time I was disciplining my daughter and she flew into a rage and started
yelling and screaming and telling me that she hated me. I didn't react back with anger, I knew she didn't mean those things. I
let her spend her anger, then we talked, and then we hugged, and it was over. Had I been confronted with that kind of anger
from an adult, I doubt I would have been as forgiving. But that's the problem. Bonder talks about the Rabbinic concept of
tinok she-nishbah which is a captive child that does not know of his origin. This child must be treated with extreme patience
and forgiveness. When we are greeted with anger we must learn to develop an understanding that the person before us is a
tinok she-nishbah. I have been doing some reading about dealing with the inner child and the bottom line seems to be that
Bonder's assessment here and the concepts he quotes have a very solid basis psychologically. Each one of us has that inner-
child, and I would venture to say that for a number of us, diagnosed or not, that child has never really been nurtured. Is it any
wonder that conflicts exist. At least with my girls, they have the assurance, proven time and again, that I love them
unconditionally and the bonus is that they have returned that unconditional love to me. There are many who have never had
that assurance. The goal of most religions is to provide that assurance on a spiritual level, but we must truly accept it. So what
Bonder is saying here as a way to avoid conflict is that we must identify the child in others (as well as ourselves) and treat them
as a LOVING parent. What this does is allow an "other" the space to grow. Bonder gives us a great Yiddish verb farginen
which means "to open space, to share pleasure; it is the exact opposite of the verb to envy." (104) It is much easier to grieve
with someone then to rejoice with them. To farginen someone takes discipline and practice. But I offer again the analogy of
seeing in the other not only a child, but your child. I feel no envy when my girls succeed, only pride. It is easy to farginen your
own child or disciple so the trick is to expand your definition of who is your family. Christianity teaches in the words of Jesus
and I am paraphrasing since I no longer have a Christian Bible, Who is my mother…I tell you that anyone who does the will of
God is my mother and father and sister and brother."

Know the example I gave earlier of my daughter's anger came out of discipline or rebuke that I made. Bonder in the next
section gives us another way to avoid conflict by understanding how to offer correction that avoids rancor or conflict. The
heart of his proposal comes from Leviticus 19:17 that juxtaposes two concepts in one verse. "Do not hate your brother in your
heart…certainly you shall rebuke your neighbor and not suffer sin upon him." The implication here is twofold; one, not
criticizing another is equal to hatred of the other and two, when we criticize, it cannot be with any kind of hatred or dislike for
the other. If either you or the other is unprepared for the criticism, you must not give it. I must apologize now for the length of
this journal. Bonder uses so many wonderful stories in his book, and I have tried not to repeat most of them, but I find some
that are just too good not to repeat. So I apologize for making you read so much. Well here goes. This is from another of the
many great Rabbis who lived around the 18th century, Rabbi Meir:
Once, a lion decided not to seek food until his breath was sweeter. He found a
Mule and said to him, "Put your head near my mouth and tell me if my breath
Is sweet." The mule did so and responded negatively.
"How dare he insult me?" exclaimed the king of beasts and immediately
devoured the mule.
Some days later, the lion met up with a wolf and put the same question to him.
The wolf answered in the affirmative. "How dare you lie to me?" roared the lion, and devoured him at once.
Some time later, he questioned a fox, an animal that does not let himself get mixed up in complicated situations. "Excuse me,"
said the fox. "I have a cold and have lost my sense of smell."
"Get yourselves a cold as well," said Rabbi Meir to his disciples, "and you will be saved from the lion." (111)

YHWH has already provided Humankind a sign of the Covenant for all times.



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