Audio Version Of The Blog – 10.08.17

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Newsmax: “GOP And Dems Can Share A Tent Without Calling Police“

The largest portal Newsmax published my new article “GOP and Dems Can Share a Tent Without Calling Police

Setting up an Empathy Tent amidst the chaos that took place between political protesters in the University of California at Berkeley last week seemed like a thoughtful idea—a calm area where protesters from both sides could have a peaceful discussion, free of aggressions.

However, it failed miserably, when a shouting argument led to a violent quarrel which ended with four people being arrested.

Among those arrested for violent behavior was school teacher-turned-Antifa leader, Yvonne Felarca, who had been arrested before for similar behavior. This certainly makes you ponder about the violent ways in which those who consider themselves the guardians of free speech choose to operate. While this is worthy of scrutiny in its own right, I believe it is more urgent to answer: How can we put Republicans and Democrats in the same place without generating violence, and perhaps even produce mutual understanding?

Understanding Human Nature is Key

First things first. We have to acknowledge human nature. Not the nature of Republicans or the nature of Democrats, but the nature of how all people operate. We are inherently driven by our ego, and that’s especially evident when it comes to our political views.
Our ego vehemently fights to self-justify, to the point that it blinds us from seeing anything else and blocks our capacity to understand any opinion that is not similar to or supportive of our own.

Therefore, it’s naïve to think that amidst the sweltering pot of egoistic urges from both left and right, setting up a tent will magically allow people to rise above their differences and find empathy, even temporarily.

In order to produce empathy in the Empathy Tent, participants need proper guidance and preparation. They need a method of deliberation that can produce equality in the discussions and a professional moderator who doesn’t take sides and whose only role is to maintain a “circular” discussion.

“The Circle,” a Safe and Positivie Discussion Platform

To conduct a safe and positive discussion, it’s recommended that participants sit a in a circle, and not just because it helps everyone see and hear each other. This seating arrangement also places them in an equal distance from the center of the circle, which symbolizes a common place between them, where each has a bird’s eye view of all opinions in the circle, without cancelling their own. Only that higher perspective from “the center of the circle” can bring about mutual understanding.

How can such a common place be created? It’s the result of a successful round of discussion. And the starting point is to agree on two simple rules, which will be stated and kept by the circle moderator.

Rule number one: Equality in the discussion. Every participant is given the same amount of time to express themselves freely and safely. Freedom of speech at its best. Each speaker takes his or her turn following the order of the circle, so no one needs to spend their energies in fighting for their time to be heard.

The second rule is listening to every input. This means that when someone speaks in the circle, the role of the other participants is simply to listen. This does not mean they need to agree with what they hear, nor do they need to start thinking like the speaker. Rather, they listen in order to understand what motivates the speakers, what they aspire for, what is their view.

A professional circle moderator will make it clear that there is no attempt to decide on a winning view, and we also don’t want to blur out our differences. The circle encourages opening one’s ears without shutting one’s mouth. This brings us back to understanding human nature – when a person is certain that he will have the time to express himself and that his message will be heard, he also becomes more capable of listening.

American Society Needs to Focus on Collective Intelligence

These two simple principles, equality in the discussion and listening to each other, are like much needed oxygen in today’s society. But there’s more. These principles have been empirically proven by MIT researchers to drive the collective intelligence of any group of people. This means that if a group of people is faced with a collective challenge, their success is determined not by how sharp or talented the individuals in the group are, but rather how well they follow these principles in coming to a solution.

The relevance for the socio-political rifts in America is straight forward: with each side focusing on its righteousness, we are collectively incompetent in finding solutions to common challenges. We have to recognize the urgent need to foster our “collective intelligence” and establish effective practices to achieve it. Otherwise, what we witnessed in Berkeley last week is only the beginning. Social rifts will widen, the inability to communicate will become fixed, and violence will spread exponentially.

Fostering a New Social Mindset

Let’s face it. The change that’s needed in America will not happen by an occasional Empathy Tent even if it’s conducted according to the above guidelines.

Americans need to consistently experience the benefits of safe and positive deliberation, week by week, circle after circle.

Sounds far from reality? Of course it does. This is because we have come to accept a reality where constructive deliberations and mutual understanding between different views are not expected to occur. Instead, violence is an expected result when people of clashing views occupy the same space.

However, it is precisely this deadlock and these extreme disparities that bring about the dire need to implement a connection method that elevates us above our differences and enables us to find the “center of the circle.”

My experience has shown that such a method can be applied to all types of people and in all settings. This is because it relies on our natural wiring for human connection. It’s not about using pretty words and being polite to each other and has nothing to do with ethics.

Rather, we have to unearth the natural fountain of wisdom, resilience and efficiency that exists in the correct connection between people. In fact, it is a natural resource for prosperity in every aspect of human life.

But at the very least, it can prevent violence. Even for this reason alone, we should put it into practice as soon as possible. Otherwise, today it’s a flare-up at Berkeley, tomorrow it’s a wildfire everywhere.
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My Thoughts On Twitter, 10/6/17

twitter

A child plays to develop & grow. In #spiritual development, the game’s equivalent is the gradual advancement toward truth from its opposite

#Catalonia Unity is when two free nations unite as equals.

Our organism is the model of right connections in nature: a cell is egoistic, but unites with others above its ego for the body’s benefit.

We’re entering the age of #cyberspace, where #wars are waged with drones and computers. Ahead are wars of thoughts of good and evil!

The Torah isn’t a book on a shelf, but a special method of using Nature’s general force. Using it correctly turns the world’s evil to good.

#Sukkot #Israeli #Jews Unity among all is a powerful weapon. With this tool, we can govern our entire life.

If ppl don’t unite, nature creates disasters that unify & alter world’s perception–but this is the path of suffering! #Catalonia #LasVegas

If we combine all 4 forms of the ego (4 symbols #Sukkot) and direct them toward unity, we will eliminate the ego that divides us.

Governments must start educating 90% of society, i.e. work towards “manufacturing” humanity and building a new society. #Catalonia

Our #future: learn the system of connections of nature’s parts, and realize what it compels us to do: create the same connection btwn us.

Today’s world is global, and if ppl don’t want to be interconnected, wars and terrorism will reveal the necessity of interconnection.

The crisis keeps growing & spreading. We can prevent it by doing all the discernments in the mind before it manifests in the material world.

#LasVegas. The external world is an imprint of our inner state. We’re looking at inner catastrophes which only seem external…

Tragedy in #LasVegas confirms once more: #education of society towards unity is society & government’s top priority. #Congress

Tragedy in #LasVegas. Only educating society will create an atmosphere of interconnection, making other such tragedies impossible.

From Twitter, 10/6/17

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My Thoughts On Twitter, 10/3/17
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“I Have Set Before You Today Life”

laitman_760.2Torah, Deuteronomy 30:15 – 30:16: Behold, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, inasmuch as I command you this day to love the Lord, your God, to walk in His ways, and to observe His commandments, His statutes, and His ordinances, so that you will live and increase, and the Lord, your God, will bless you in the land to which you are coming to take possession of it.

This sounds like a hymn because these are the only things that are before a person: a blessing or a curse, a path of good or a path of evil. However, in any case, they lead to the same result.

It is just that the path of evil is a very long path of sufferings, wars, big problems, as a result of which a person still begins to realize and understand how to move forward. But this is a terrible path!

There is also a path of good when a person himself creates this system, no matter in which way. Like children who build toy cities and houses, so we too must play with each other in order to build the correct relationship and correct connection between us through artificial connections, as if we love each other and want to get closer to each other.

For this “as if,” the Creator will send us strength, knowledge, and opportunities so that in the connection between us we would reveal Him and be in connection with Him.

Question: Why do you attach such a great importance to a game?

Answer: It is because a game is the basis of life for everyone. Even atoms and molecules play with each other.

A game is the basis of existence because development can happen only if we play in our higher state, in an ascent. “What will I be when I grow up?” Let’s say that now I begin to drive a toy car or play with a toy plane. I am developing while I play in this state. Therefore, the entire life is a game.

Comment: It is much easier at the material level because you see a pilot and say: “I want to be a pilot.”

Answer: And here Kabbalists explain to you what you must play. If we listen to them, we will begin to advance. Therefore, what is our life? A game!

Question: Why is the preparation period so long?

Answer: This is not a preparation period, but a period of awareness, of shaping our desires within us. The fact is that if once it took us thousands of years and then centuries to change from one state to another, now it takes years or maybe even days. And soon it will take hours and even minutes to qualitatively change our states. Time is shortening.

Thus, we come to a completely different state when we are both the performers and the receivers of everything that happens.
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From KabTV’s “Secrets of the Eternal Book” 1/18/17

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The Times Of Israel: “The Meaning Of The Jonah Story Read On Yom Kippur”

The Times of Israel published my new article “The Meaning of the Jonah Story Read on Yom Kippur:”

The story of the prophet Jonah that we customarily read on Yom Kippur captures the essence of the holiday, that we need to put ourselves aside and act for the benefit of others.

The Story of Jonah the Prophet – In A Nutshell

The story of the prophet Jonah begins with a mission he receives from God: to warn the people of Nineveh that they need to repent their evil ways, to change their relations from unfounded hatred to love of others.

However, Jonah is displeased with this mission. He escapes it by boarding a ship and sailing overseas. His escape sets off a storm. When the ship’s sailors realize that Jonah is the cause of the storm, they throw him overboard. In the sea, Jonah gets swallowed by a big fish. He spends three days and three nights in the fish’s belly. Afterwards he is ejected to land, and heads to Nineveh.The story of the prophet Jonah begins with a mission he receives from God: to warn the people of Nineveh that they need to repent their evil ways, to change their relations from unfounded hatred to love of others.

How the Story of Jonah Relates to the Jewish People

Just like Jonah, we—the Jewish people—have an unavoidable role. It is the same role today as it was in time of ancient Babylon, when Abraham united us as a nation on the basis of “love your friend as yourself”: to establish our unity such that it would serve as an example for humanity, i.e. to be a “light for the nations.”

“Israel is the first and foremost to receive all the abundance, and from them it is dispensed to all the worlds. For this reason they are called Israel, meaning ‘Li-Rosh’ (‘I am the head’), namely that they are in the discernment of Rosh (head), to receive the blessing first, and after them the rest of the world.”
– Be’er Mayim Chaim, Parashat Teruma, Chapter 25.

Historically, we have experienced how this interplay between us and the rest of the world operates: when we were united, both we and the world thrived. However, when our relations deteriorate into unfounded hatred, we experience blows as many forms of anti-Semitism, and the world experiences decline as many forms of crisis.

As the clock ticks on, and we continually escape the realization of our role, we gradually reach a state where re-establishing our positive connection seems impossible. Moreover, we become repulsed by the very mention that our role is to be “a light for the nations.”

Jews turn against each other. Jewish self hatred or Jewish anti-Semitism becomes rampant as divides between factions of secular, religious, ultra-Orthodox, pro-Israel and anti-Israel Jews become markedly distinct. We ourselves let the gray cloud of unfounded hatred descend upon us, and set the scene for a great big storm.

The sailors in the story change each time. They’ve taken forms of the Nazis during the Holocaust, the Russians and Eastern Europeans during the Pogroms, the Catholic Spanish during the Spanish Inquisition, to name a few.

The Relevance of the Jonah Story for Jews and Humanity Today

In the last few years, there has been a sharp rise in anti-Semitic crimes and threats, together with a sharp rise with many other problems in the world, terrorism, natural disasters, depression, suicide, social division and drug abuse, to name a few. The more humanity experiences crises and problems, the more their fingers point at the Jews as the source of their problems.

The Jonah story describes the roots of anti-Semitism.

Jonah’s escape from the mission he was granted describes the Jewish people’s escape from their role to unite above their divisions and exemplify that unity for humanity.

The sailors’ realization of Jonah as the cause of the storm, and the throwing of Jonah overboard today describes the rise of the Jews being blamed for all kinds of problems people are experiencing.

The time will come when we’ll have to be thrown overboard, and enter into the big fish, i.e. undergo a serious examination of what does it mean to be Jewish? Why do so many people hate us? Also, how can we improve our situation both for ourselves and the world?

The question is only how much suffering will we need to experience until we reach that self examination: Is the current amount of anti-Semitism enough to spur us to undergo this self-scrutiny? Or, will we continue escaping our mission, and will that suffering need to take on proportions at scales of world wars and holocausts, which we’ve seen before, where only a small amount of us would be left again to undergo that examination and agree to our role?

Only when we agree to accept our role—to “love your friend as yourself” and to be “a light for the nations”—will we and the world experience a new tendency toward peace, harmony and happiness, i.e. will the fish bring us to the safe shore, to Nineveh.
|“Since we were ruined by unfounded hatred, and the world was ruined with us, we will be rebuilt by unfounded love, and the world will be rebuilt with us.”
– Rav Avraham Itzhak HaCohen Kook, Orot Kodesh (Sacred Lights), Vol. 3

The Meaning of Yom Kippur in Relation to the Jonah Story

Yom Kippur is a significant point in our development where we engage in deep introspection: How have we been thinking and acting until today in relation to our role—to “love your friend as yourself” and to be “a light for the nations”?

Are we doing what we need to do in order to unite above our differences? We might be very successful in all kinds of fields, like science, technology, medicine, high tech and startups, arts and culture, and we might be providing a lot of material benefit to the world through these fields, but are we trying to overcome the divisions between us?

How can we better realize our role as a Jewish people, and become the example that humanity needs from us?

Yom Kippur is an opportunity for us to realize our role, to pioneer the unity of humanity. This is the way to calm down the increasing global turbulence and explosions setting off more and more around the world, and a canopy of peace, harmony and happiness will cover us (i.e. the Sukkah).

“The people of Israel must be the first nation to assume the international altruism, and be a role model of the good and beauty contained in this form of governance.”
– Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), The Writings of the Last Generation

With optimism, despite our differences, I do see that we have the potential to unite: we’ve always been attracted to equality, we’re a people who have never held slaves, we’re drawn to knowledge and wisdom more than to dividing ideologies, and even the religious among us conduct our prayers not alone, but in tens (the Minyan). Also, the word for our prayer and study houses, synagogues, “Beit Knesset” means house of assembly or connection. Unity is embedded into the foundation of our people, and I hope that we will use the time for self-examination on Yom Kippur to scrutinize how we can extract our unity from its potential and put it into practice.

May all the Jewish people be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.
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New Life #892 – A Healthy Ego

New Life #892 – A Healthy Ego
Dr. Michael Laitman in conversation with Oren Levi and Tal Mandelbaum ben Moshe

Summary

What is the ego and what is its role in our life? How do we measure a healthy ego and what does the wisdom of Kabbalah tell us about developing it correctly?
From KabTV’s “New Life #892 – A Healthy Ego,” 8/3/17

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7 Days: “Is Judgment Day Waiting For American Jews?”

Chicago’s Russian periodical 7 Days published my article: “Is Judgment Day Waiting for American Jews?”

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Daily Kabbalah Lesson – 10.08.17

Preparation for the Lesson

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Writings of Rabash, Letter 62

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Shamati #19 “What Is the Creator Hates the Bodies, in the Work”

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Writings of Rabash, Vol. 3, Article 798

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