Most of us can remember somebody who hurt us with their words.
A schoolteacher, a relative, a so-called friend. Their loosely-uttered
sentence sits in our memory from decades ago. Late in our life we may
still be holding onto something negative that was said to us when we
were 10 years old, or younger.
And yet, despite this knowledge, we still treat our words lightly. As if
our words cannot hurt. Or heal. Or create. Rabbis argue over the
so-called sin of the 12 spies who went to check out the land of Israel,
10 of whom came back with negative reports. Why were they punished
so heavily? On that note, why was Moses punished so heavily for hitting
the rock rather than speaking to it?
We try to have it both ways. To acknowledge we are made in the image
of God but then not take responsibility for it. If we stay conscious that
we have a Divine power with our words – yes, THIS MEANS YOU!!! – then
we are careful not to spread negative reports like the spies, and not to doubt
the power of our words like Moses.
How will you use your words today?
(Originally Published June 29th 2016. Parshat Shelach).
Yoga, Torah, Meditation & Enlightenment. Welcome to The Kosher Sutras.
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KOSHER SUTRA “God killed every firstborn” (Exodus 12:29)
Shalom Friends. How you can you heal your pain & move into a state of ease and grace. Welcome to 60-second Kosher Sutras.
. There are times when we feel deep pain. Life is not turning out how we desire. Maybe there has been a trauma, a collapse, an unwanted surprise.
We learn when the Hebrew slaves were increasing their numbers in Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh resisted setting them free. The Zohar says that he resisted change, resisted their growth, and as a result suffered many plagues including the death of his own firstborn son.
Yoga & meditation teach us to be free from attachments. Free from our ideas of how things should be.
Practice Shavasana, or Shabbatasana, Corpse Pose. As you do so, consider how you can be free from fixed ideas that may cause you pain. Where are you attaching to an idea that is unhealthy? How can you release it? Meditate deeply on this & move into freedom, ease and grace.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Please feel free to share it with your friends & comment below. [For More of These Teachings] You can get your copy of The Kosher Sutras on Amazon. Be Happy, Stay Happy & Celebrate Life. Shalom.
Shalom friends. How can we banish panic. Say goodbye to stress and hello to calm? Welcome to 60-second Kosher Sutras.
We can all get into a panic from time to time. Our fight-or-flight system takes over, the sympathetic nervous system kicks into play, and we are ready to run for our lives.
We are told that The Children of Israel couldn’t hear Moses “because of shortness of breath” (Exodus 6:9). They had Kotzer Ruach, a limited way of breathing and thinking, and as a result they were holding themselves back from their own freedom.
The great yogi Mr Iyengar spoke of “moksha”, how we get freedom from the bondage of worldly desires, which can lead to other healing for the mind and body.
Breathe deeply with long, slow, single-nostril breaths. Alternate both sides. Feel yourself calming, grounding and expanding possibilities.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Please feel free to share the video. For the full lesson and many more teachings, get your copy of The Kosher Sutras on Amazon.
I’m Marcus Freed, thank you for watching. Be Happy, Stay Happy & Celebrate Life. Shalom.
Get your copy of “The Kosher Sutras: The Jewish Way in Yoga & Meditation” at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JJ5F0ZC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1
Is your 2016 going to be a year of pushing or allowing? There is a time for both. Our education systems focus on continually pushing, producing & doing, but taken to its extreme this can lead to stress & illness. The art of allowing – of creating space rather than filling it – is an essential quality in any relationship, be it human or Divine. Equally, too much allowing without action can lead to a whole lotta nothing. Everything is in the balance.
Here is a quick Kabbalistic meditation. Disclaimer: I have completely made it up. But it works nonetheless. 2016 = 2 x 16 = 32. The hebrew letters for 32 spell “Lev”, or Heart. In 2016, let your heart be your guide.
One last thing. I’m halfway through filming a series of videos based on my first book The Kosher Sutras. Video #1 is below. If it’s your thing, enjoy. If not then hit unsubscribe & I’ll leave you alone for the rest of this incarnation. If you love it then you know what to do (share, share, share….).
Big love & Blessings for a Rocking Year. Shabbat Shalom.
SEE THE KOSHER SUTRAS ON YOUTUBE. Banish Stress & Get Happy: The Yoga of Exodus. Kosher Sutra #13. Torah, Yoga, Meditation & Love
KOSHER SUTRA “A new king arose over Egypt who did not know about Joseph” (Exodus 1:8)
Sometimes life can change and we don’t like it. How can we go with the flow so that things are better than ever before? Welcome to the Kosher Sutras.
Humans can put extraordinary energy into resisting change. Sometimes it is time to leave a job, let go of a client, leave a relationship…but we may hold back all costs.
The Children of Israel were experiencing prosperity in Egypt when their boy Joseph was Prime Minister, but they faced a sudden change when, “a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). Everything changed overnight. One view is that the Pharoah had a sudden change of heart after Joseph died, while another is that the King himself also died and a new Pharaoh took over with different values.
Our external situation can change – a client leaves, a relationship ends, a job is over – but you go with the flow? Can you adapt to your new circumstances? Can you find G-d in the flow.
. Practice some Sun Salutations, in whichever variation you know, and focus on breathing with the flow. Tune in and move with the motion of your breath. The yogis teach about calming the mind and finding stillness, and our aim is to find stillness in motion, with whatever is happening in life.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Please feel free to share it with your friends & comment below. [For More of These Teachings] Pick up your copy of The Kosher Sutras on Amazon. Be Happy, Stay Happy & Celebrate Life. Shalom.
There is a plague in the religious world. In all religions. The disease is ‘judgement’. People look down on others because they are less observant, not following the ‘true’ path & not doing things ‘right’.
A rabbi once visited the great Lubvaitcher Rebbe and said he was involved with “kiruv rechokim” which means ‘bringing close those who are far away’. The Rebbe said not to ever use that term. Who are we to say who is far away from God? These people are the children of Abraham and Sarah.
Who are we to judge others?
I had a radical thought while standing in shul last weekend. Those people who fidget, who are distasteful, who distract us from our spiritual growth…they ARE our spiritual growth.
We are made “in the image of G-d”. The Kabbalah (Zohar) teaches that everything is G-d – everything, everywhere – it is all One. The theory of everything-is-unified-even-though-it appears-we-are-separate. Just like mobile phones – you can’t see the network but you know they are connected (except our souls are beyond 4G).
These unkempt people are all fragments of God. When we are busy trying to reach God and getting annoyed by the person who is distracting us or not doing it right…imagine them suddenly removing their mask and revealing that they too are part of God. Like The Secret Millionaire in the end-of-episode reveal.
One of my teachers often says that “judgement is toxic”. It is poison. It can literally kill us. We judge others & judge ourselves. In the world of energy medicine, this judgement gets stuck in the cells, metastasizes, contributes to causing cancer and who knows what else.
At my 13-hour-a-day acting conservatoire I missed the first day of our year because it fell on Yom Kippur. Apparently our teacher opened with an important lesson about judgement: “While you are here at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, never judge another student’s performance. If you do, your brain will pick up the habit, you will think they are judging you and it will in turn damage your acting”. A poignant principle that applies universally.
Let’s leave judgement to the One True Judge and focus on our job at hand: to Choose Life.
What prevents us from getting enlightened, centred and still? Other people! The boss who ruins our life, the friend who always breaks commitments or the spouse who does not give us peace. Problem solved.
The most powerful transformation tool I ever learned was that of taking responsibility for my words. Every time I blamed a person or situation for my unhappiness, there was a place where I was a ‘cause in the matter’. If someone was regularly breaking verbal commitments, there was usually a place where I was breaking verbal commitments to myself, be they internal promises (i.e. “I’ll never put up with this again, I owe myself more”) or external promises to others (“I’ll be there at 8pm tomorrow”).
The tough side of self-development is that we intensely dislike seeing ugly traits within ourselves and it is easier to deny them. As John Webster wrote “Man stands amazed to see his deformity/In any other creature but himself” (The Duchess of Malfi, 1612). The yogis called these traits ‘kleshas’, a kind of spiritual wound or challenge that needs healing.
Moses warned about the power of words: “according to whatever comes from [your] mouth, [you] shall do” (Numb 30:3). The Kabbalah teaches how our words create realities in spiritual worlds. Every thought we think or word we say is a tangible ‘thing’ other planes of existence. Thus the importance of being 100% mindful or our words and thoughts (Sefer Tanya, Chp 39). In the sense we really are made in the image of the Creator as we continue to create worlds at every moment.
Blaming others is always easier, but taking complete responsibility for our words – specifically for our broken commitments to ourselves – is the first step to enlightenment.
14 hours left to get your name printed in The Kabbalah Sutras! http://bit.ly/1KtWkj0
Years ago I met up with my father at a hotel in Eilat, after he crossed the Sinai Desert in a four day charity trek from Egypt to Israel. He cried with joy when we said hello. After four days of sandblasted hiking and star-filled camping, they made it to the Promised Land (albeit a 4* hotel). A question: How did their 4 day journey once take 40 years?
Friends of mine recently turned 40. Few had arrived at a place they had wanted to be by the time they hit that milestone. One day they were leaving school, the next they celebrated four decades. Bam. (For clarification, these people don’t live in Los Angeles. Nobody turns 40 in LA. That’s why they put aspartame in the diet sodas: [it turns to formaldehyde which keeps everyone nicely preserved).
Moses takes a census of the 12 tribes (Numb, 26:1). Names, numbers, facts – who cares? Boring. But not for Rashi (1040-1105), who explained that Moses was caring for the tribes in the same way that a Shepherd looks after someone else’s sheep, periodically counting them to ensure his charges are returned.
Kabbalah links the tribes to 12 months of the year (Sefer Yetzirah 5:1). What if we took a census for the 12 months of **our** year? How we are using each day, each hour, each minute? Are we staying on track with our intentions, are we continually aligning our thoughts with our actions, and are en route to our preferred destination, or wandering off-track in a desert?
Yogis ask these questions every day in every posture: Am I breathing smoothly? Are my limbs in the correct placement? Is my balance centered? The practice is being intentional and conscious at every moment.
Life is easier if we kick back at a hotel pool, float across the surface with a Mojito in our hand and gently tan in the afternoon sun. This comes with a major health warning for your life goals: if we fail to count our days and intentions, we can count on failure. Most people get lost in deserts but with close attention to our direction we can cut 40 years down to 4 days. Get Conscious, Get Productive and then Take a Well Earned Break.
A great teacher will not only share information, but will impart wisdom as well. These days knowledge is free and you can get a university-level education on Youtube. Wisdom is another matter entirely. A business mentor once had the wisdom to tell me that a certain area of my life was hurtling along like a steam train headed towards a ravine, and the tracks were about to run out. He guided me to take fast action, the equivalent of building a bridge across the valley. I immediately started “construction”.
Where is your “train” headed right now? When we get really honest with ourselves, we often know the truth deep inside, although it certainly helps when the warning is voiced by an external source. Are your tracks strong, or do you need to make serious adjustments to your course? Where is there a potential “cliff” in your life, be it in your relationships, body, spiritual outlook or career & business?
In the ancient world there were differing views of destiny. Ancient Rome & Athens believed in fate. Accordingly to mythology there were three sisters, the “three fates” who decided your future. Ancient Jerusalem believed you could bend your karma and change your destiny, through action (teshuva), prayer (tefilla) and charitable karma-balancing (tzedakah). When Moses warned “you will surely become corrupt..[and] evil will befall you” (Deuteronomy 31:29), it was with the knowledge that the future could be changed.
Look ahead into your future and see if it needs changing it before you get there. Get in touch if you need help. The wisdom is out there. The story of your future can be rewritten today.
Today’s teachings were inspired by Nitzavim-Vayeilech.
Many of us were brought up with the same lie; “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”. Do you want to bet? Think back to the most hurtful and hateful words that somebody has ever said to you. Now consider how long it takes to heal a broken bone – maybe a few months, a year. And how long can it take for someone to heal from damaging words? The verbal weapon alone has kept many a therapist in business for years if not decades.
Words can hurt & words can heal…
Moses takes a moment to instill the importance of vows. He explains the spiritual weight of the spoken word, the way it can cause damage and how to renegotiate a promise that has been made. The most oft-misquoted opening to the Bible is ‘in the beginning there was the word’, which is in fact the opening to the gospel of John, but he was certainly in line with the Kabbalistic perspective which outlines how spiritual worlds can be created and destroyed with the power of our words*.
We all know what it is like to be betrayed by the words of others, to be let down by somebody’s promises or perhaps to be upset by their choice of vocabulary and the intent behind it. An even more powerful insight can be to understand how we have let ourselves down at times, or the words we use against ourself.
I for one have been completely guilty of this, making huge promises to myself about creative projects I planned to launch, short films I planned to make, productions I planned to stage, books I planned to write. When we make a vow to ourself, however subtle, we create something that exists. On a delicate level, that promise exists in our heart and our mind, which is why so many people live out of the would-a/should-a/could-a mindset of things could be different if..life would be different if.
When we realise the true power of our words and the potential they can generate, we can start harnessing that energy and using for the good. We begin by keeping the word to ourself, then to others, and bringing our visions into being.
We currently live in a wonderful world where, for just a few hundred of your hard-earned shekels, you have the choice of enough personal growth & leadership seminars to help you transform your very DNA. The downside of the Lead-Like-Ghandi-In-A-Weekend-Seminar or Learn-To-Speak-Like-Martin-Luther-King-in-an-Afternoon or Build-a-Donald-Trump-Business-Whilst-Surfing-Facebook is that most teachers will miss out one simple fact; realising your potential can demand extreme sacrifice which may be painful, messy and incredibly uncomfortable.
Be unafraid. Be very unafraid to brandish your metaphorical spear. Just don’t hurt anyone in the process…
Pinchas was the great-nephew of Moses. He was rewarded with a ‘covenant of peace’ (Numbers 25:12) after taking an action in line with his beliefs that was so extreme it could have resulted in social banishment, career failure, or even being killed. Whilst most of us do not have to go through anything quite so severe on a physical level, there is an internal equivalent we might face on the path to leadership and self-realisation.
Facing our fears and breaking through them demands smashing through personal habits built up over a lifetime. Pinchas drove a spear through two people he saw transgressing. If we are to step into our own highest potential it usually means driving a spear through the fears that have been holding us back. On a Kabbalistic level it is as if we are destroying the negative energy sheaths known as klipot, which are analogous to shells – like a nutshell.
The first stage is to name your ‘shells’. What are the deepest fears and behaviours holding you back from reaching your highest good? What needs to happen for you to do the thing you have been scared of, and let your light shine at its brightest? Take your spear, smash some eggs to make an omelette, crack those nutshells, mix up some more metaphors, and do something EPIC.