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Based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
I had just landed in Newark airport, and after the hour-long train ride, found myself in New York’s Penn Station amidst hundreds of travelers crisscrossing, each in their own trajectory, speeding to their destinations. Many held briefcases, or pulled small suitcases, and had their morning cups of coffee in to-go cups, looking straight ahead, wearing serious faces, to get to their destinations faster. To smile at a stranger is dangerous when you’re on the clock- time is money, baby.
To smile at a stranger is dangerous when you’re on the clock- time is money, baby.
I felt the urge to jump into the pedestrian traffic to get myself the heck out of there, but was too overwhelmed with feeling lost and uprooted that a thought flashed in my head, “I need to find my center. I must re-root.” Urgently, I looked around for a quiet corner, a window where I could see the sky, a few feet of my own- space to be. I spotted a row of pay phones on a nearby wall, made a beeline for them, and temporarily joined the masses, as I sped toward my destination: inwards and upward.
“I need to find my center. I must re-root.”[/one_third_last]
I put down my bags, picked up a phone, closed my eyes, and whispered “Master of the World. Here I am.” Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face, as I poured out my heart to my Creator. I delved into the complexity of my emotion regarding the friends I left, and the family I was about to see. I explored the intricacies of worlds colliding, time passing, and my evolving identity.
Before I knew it, an hour had passed. I took a few deep breaths, whispered some final “Thank Yous,” hung up the phone, strengthened, humbled and deeply re-rooted in my unique essence, I turned around to face the world.
Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face, as I poured out my heart to my Creator
In Rebbe Nachman’s 9th teaching in Likutei Mohoran, he elucidates that the same word “Teivah” means both “word” and “box-like-thing.” He brings the story from Genesis when Hashem informs Noach that He is going to imminently bring a flood of raging winds and rains for 40 days. “If you want to survive, G-d says, you must step into the “Teivah,” the ark, the word of prayer.”
Life often feels like a raging storm. I feel flooded by things to do, places to go, stuff to fix, people to meet… to no end. The media tosses me from one breaking news update to another, hurled between contradictory articles about health, politics, and global warming, what is the truth? Endless images are paraded before my eyes, alleged pictures of success and beauty. But, how do I fit into it all?
Even from within the world of Torah and Mitzvot, our ancient pieces of advice on attaining an intimate connection with the Creator of the World, even there I can feel lost, and be unsure of where my place is.
This is one of the main things that bonded me to Rebbe Nachman. I heard his urgent advice that “the highest thing you could do in your service of G-d is to seclude yourself, and talk to Him in your own words.”
Life often feels like a raging storm
Doing Hitbodidut transforms my life. It breathes the soul of G-d’s palpable Infinite light into the simplest moments of my day. Through it, I receive the illuminated guidance of what to do next, and in what way I need to grow. Whenever I feel that I just can’t afford the time, I grab myself by the shoulders and say, “You can’t afford not to.”
I can do Hitbodidut anywhere! It can be out in the field. (In the spring, Rebbe Nachman teaches, that the individual song of each blade of grass joins and enhances my prayer.) It can be on a porch, a park bench, or in a closed room. Wherever I will feel most comfortable to open up a real, raw dialogue with the One who knows me better than I know myself.
Whenever I feel that I just can’t afford the time, I grab myself by the shoulders and say, “You can’t afford not to.”
So whether you choose to schmooze with G-d under your bed covers, while you are washing dishes, or on a pay phone in the middle of New York’s Penn Station, you are invited into the “Teivah of Noach,” words of rest and comfort, amidst the craziness of popular opinion. Step in, sit down, and get ready to discover your infinite depth, the preciousness of every moment, and your crucial, unique power in this world.Tell me more about Hitbodidut
Please note: We spent much time and effort to bring the inspirational teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov as accurately as possible in this article. If you find any mistakes in translation or have trouble understanding the article, please let us know! Feel free to comment below.We bless the viewers to be connected to Rebbe Nachman and to his teachings, and to always be happy and inspired…