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Rebbetzin Revi's Reflections


Equanimity versus Agitation

Acceptance of the Present Moment


By Rebbetzin Brachah Rivkah Belk

 

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Man's soul is the L-rd's lamp, which searches out all the innermost parts. Mishlei (Proverbs)20.27

 

Equanimity is a state of mental or emotional stability or composure arising from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment.

 

When the mind is settled man has free choice and the control over his spirit to take the time to focus his thoughts upon exercising his sovereignty over his animal spirit and to device strategies that activate or restrain his animal spirit for his personal benefit in this world and in the World to come.  Cheshbon ha Nefesh Rabbi Mendel of Santanov page109

 

My son, keep the commands of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.  Bind them always upon your heart, tie them upon your neck.  When you walk, it shall lead you; when you lie down, it shall guard you, and when you awaken, it shall speak for you.  For a Commandment is a Candle, and the Torah is Light, and disciplining rebukes are the way of life;  Mishlei (Proverbs) 6.20-23

 

Acceptance of the present moment.

 

What a goal that is and extremely daunting.  To have true freedom of choice we must be able to control our emotions so that we can choose the correct path to take in any circumstance.  Each and every moment of our lives is a Gift from our Creator.  What we do with that gift is our choice.  We often look back over times in our lives where in certain circumstances we wish we had made better choices.  The past is the past and that cannot be changed.  We can, however  begin a new path that will G-d Willing be full of better choices.

 

Let's take a look at equanimity.

 

Equanimity in Hebrew is menuchat hanefesh.  This phrase literally means settling of the soul.  When life throws multiple curve balls and when things don't go as planned or expected we can react horribly, allowing anger and frustration to control us and getting caught up in the drama of being busy, stressed and challenged.  The story of Noah and the flood (Noah's name comes from the same route as menucha, resting or settling.) provides some insight.  The raging flood waters represent the unpredictability of life.  We can be caught up in the craziness and the drama of these waters and possibly drown, or we can be in the ark, rising above them and, from that perspective, have a more powerful effect in the world and with those around us.  Equanimity is the quality of being able calmly to take all that life throws at us in our stride. 

 

Most of us are so accustomed to our own reactions to different situations, so defined even, by our anger, impatience or arrogance and we think that our patterns of behavior are just who we are and we cannot really change

 

The soul that inhabits our body has its work defined for it from the beginning, there is a known quantity to the lessons that this soul needs to learn in its lifetime and that every day is going to throw us opportunities to work on this, yet we have absolute free choice in how we respond to what we get. 

 

From the ten Sefirot the soul derives its corresponding ten soul-powers, all of which have names identical to the Sefirot.

 

(Keter - Crown; Subconsious)

 

[INTELLECTUAL]

Chochmah - Wisdom; Conception; Seminal Point; the Aha Moment; Lightning

Binah - Understanding; Comprehension; Articulation; Building; Expansion

(Daat - Knowledge; Attachment; Application; Internalization)

 

[EMOTIONAL]

Chesed - Kindness; Love; Giving; Attraction

Gevurah - Strength; Restraint; Discipline; Judgment

Tiferet - Beauty; Harmony; Empathy; Mercy

 

[FUNCTIONAL]

Netzach - Victory; Ambition; Fortitude

Hod - Splendor; Devotion; Humility

Yesod - Foundation; Bonding

Malchut - Kingdom; Royalty

 

We won't be studying these - they are included so that going forward we will have a reference if needed.  Let's continue our journey, the path through the garden of our soul.  We need a bit more study on equanimity to ensure we have a solid foundation to walk on.

 

Blessings and Peace

 

Rebbetzin Revi


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