Transitions can often be times of stress and anxiety, yet for me this moment of transition mostly reflects the middot of humility (anavah), gratitude (hakarat ha’tov) and trust (bitachon).
I have been honored to serve as President of The Mussar Institute (TMI) for the past four years. To be sure, Mussar is a highly personal spiritual journey. But for me, it has also been an organizational journey. During this time, I strived to apply Mussar wisdom to help The Mussar Institute grow from a small grassroots entity — the vision of Alan Morinis, our esteemed Dean — to a more robust organization. With your involvement and financial support, we completed a three-year strategic plan, which resulted in over 5,800 participants in online courses, local programs and special events such as the Kallah, Practice Intensives and Mussar Israel Experience.
Free Shambhala Video Series Includes Alan Morinis
You know how you feel when someone spontaneously smiles at you or holds the door for you or gives you a compliment? Such generosity and kindness can change your whole day or even your week. Now imagine such generosity and kindness coming in the form of inspirational words from beloved and experienced teachers.
Shambhala Publications, the publisher of Alan Morinis’s books, invites you to sample a 12-week video series for free, including a sample of his course, “How to Be a Mensch: The Jewish Tradition of Mussar.”
Sign up now and you will receive the first teaching the following Sunday morning delivered straight to your inbox, and then continuing for 12 weeks. You get to sample some great teachers, including Alan, and you will then have the opportunity to purchase a full course, including Alan’s.
MUSSAR PRACTICE RETREAT:
Could your spiritual practice use a charge? Looking for ways to connect to a greater good? Seeking community with other souls on your path? The Mussar Practice Retreat, Awakening Hearts and Minds: A Mussar Practice Intensive, is a three-day workshop that will boost your spirit and send you home with new practices to sustain your growth for months to come. The dates are May 6-9, 2018, in St. Louis, Missouri. Registration is now open.
WEBINAR SERIES: The Mussar Institute kicked off its 2018 webinar series Calming the Storm: Mussar Practices for the Heart and Soul in Troubling Times. The series continues April 29 with Chaim Safren leading “The Art of Internalizing through Mussar Chanting.” All webinars will be recorded, so you can watch them all! Click below for a playlist for this year:
VIDEO BLOG: What can we learn in this Pesach season about how to get out of our small-mindness? Watch Chaim Safren’s short Mussar video, “I Can Do It” to learn more.
The Practice Corner
Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, in his book Michtav M’Eliyahu, writes about bitachon in a way that might be better translated as “confidence” rather than trust. He sees it as part of the spiritual path to develop confidence (bitachon) in HaShem. This is a helpful hint toward a contemplation that will help you develop bitachon.
Reflect on how much happened to you in the past few days that has been good. Did something you hoped for come through? Did someone express love for you? Were you provided what you need (which is not to say everything you want)?
Reflect in your own life on how much care you have recently received at the hands of the universe. And then trust that this is how life is, and how it will be. Draw from the evidence of your own life the sound basis to have confidence.
Journal your insights.
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