(Or, as Rav Avigdor Miller summed it up in one sentence: "Bitachon means to say that Hashem knows what's best for us -- that's all." Tape E-216, December 1999.)
(The following applies to the part of this profoundly allegorical story in which the giant appointed over the winds gifts the viceroy a magic vessel that contains unlimited funds; this "magic" vessel symbolizes bitchon.)
Building bitachon is a life-long process, but whatever progress you can manage is really, really good and these 3 steps can give you concrete tools on how to advance in this area.
On pages 244-250, Rav Erez explains how bitachon is built from 3 steps:
- Step 1: Accepting that everything is orchestrated by Hashem using precise individual supervision, with this acceptance ideally leading a person to accept even challenging events with humility and submission.
- Step 2: Accepting that everything is for our benefit, with this acceptance ideally leading us to accept events with love and gratitude.
- Step 3: Accepting events with joy by knowing there is no "bad" in the world; everything is a message from Hashem to come closer to Him.
This is yet another example of paradox in Judaism, and one with which many people understandably struggle.
Rav Erez goes on to say:
"Within the third step, a person doesn't just subdue his will, he starts to accept b'simcha whatever passes over him. When a person accepts scorn and breaks out in dance, when a person receives troubling news and he claps his hands to sweeten the judgements, when things occur beyond his understanding and he breaks out in melody and dance for Hashem and he cries out, 'I don't understand anything. But, Abba, thank You for concerning Yourself with me; this is certainly coming from great love' -- a tremendous light extends over the person, the light of complete bitachon. This is the light of humility and holy joy."
And again, it's perfectly normal to achieve this level for one moment, then feel discouraged or bitter an hour later, and then to reach this level a couple of hours or moments after that.
It can even be a roller-coaster ride of days, weeks, or years.
This is the challenge and spirit of our generation.
The main thing is to at least try at whatever level you're on.
Depending on what each person has suffered in life and depending on individual personalities, some people find this much more difficult than others. That's normal.
The main thing is just to try.
Rav Ofer Erez in English
For more about the phenomena of spiritually and emotionally soaring and plummeting, even several times within a day, please see his series on Spiritual Bipolar Disorder.
Garden of Emuna (for Jews)
The Universal Garden of Emuna (non-denominational for non-Jews)
Note: I have not personally read this book, but recommend it on the strength of Rav Arush's other books, which I have read and found exceptional.
Garden of Gratitude
Note: This book is amazing, but if I hadn't read Garden of Emuna first, I would've found Garden of Gratitude too "strong" and not gotten out of it what I should. But everyone's different, so go with whatever you perceive as best for you.