An inspiring reader wrote in requesting exercises based on the last section of Chovot HaLevavot (Duties of the Heart), Sha'ar Ahavat Hashem (Gate of Love of God), similar to what was done with the section on Cheshbon Hanefesh in the workbook 30 Days to Make Your Soul Shine.
Needless to say, complete ahavat Hashem is something I need to work on too, so I was grateful for the Heavenly nudge from this reader. (And apologies to the inspiring reader, that it took me so long!)
So here it goes:
Exercise #1: Chapter 1 of Ahavat Hashem
Your soul possesses a natural attraction to all that is beneficial & healthful for your body.
So take a moment to focus on the fact that Hashem imbued your nefesh with the good inclination to care for your physical body. Then close your eyes & ask your nefesh:
- "What do you want me to do for my body?"
- "How best can I help my body?"
You can speak this aloud or freewrite it, as you wish.
If you have a specific health problem, you can ask your nefesh what it wants you to do for that.
Exercise #2 (This is also from Chapter 1):
- Now think about 3-5 activities that give you the most pleasure.
(The above can be literally anything, even very material not-so-positive pleasures, like eating fatty carbs or getting buzzed, or positive emotional states like when you first fell in love with your spouse or the love you have for your child at his or her most lovable age).
- Now focus on the fact that achieving a feeling of love for Hashem actually feels BETTER than any of those activities combined! (This should lead you to some kind of WOW moment – even a millisecond of WOW is really, really good.)
You don't actually need any of those material, emotional, worldly things to feel good!
(Needless to say, it is of course very positive and beneficial to love your spouse & children, but even such positive worldly love can sometimes lead a person to indulging the relationship when they shouldn't; it can lead to imbalance.)
Loving Hashem is the best feeling there is. All the other stuff we do to feel good pales in comparison to being in love with Hashem.
- Think about this, that loving Hashem feels SO MUCH BETTER than ANYTHING else. Contemplate it for at least 10 seconds.
(In Rav Avigdor Miller's 10 Steps to Greatness, Rav Miller advises telling Hashem directly, "I love You." The truth is that following Rav Miller's 10 Steps to Greatness will definitely lead you to increased love of Hashem, as will talking to Hashem in your own words as you would your best friend – as per the shitah of Breslov Chassidut.)
Sha'ar Ahavas Hashem - Gate of Love of G-d with select commentaries
Click here for Part 2.
Click here to continue to Part 3.