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Home » Naso

Naso: The Path To Permanent Recovery

Submitted by on May 20, 2007 – 4:35 amOne Comment | 1,365 views

Success

It is often said that the difference between success and failure is the willingness to go the extra mile. The decision to go the extra mile can only be made when we have already traveled the entire conventional route. We reach the end of our trail, but the successful seek out unconventional means to travel yet another mile.
By this time we have exhausted our every resource. We have attempted every idea, explored every avenue and consumed the last reserve of energy. We are tempted to succumb to the inevitable logic of the moment and concede defeat. It is only sheer will power, a resolute aversion to failure and a powerful drive to succeed, that propels the successful forward.
Everyone understands that launching a business enterprise entails an investment of finance, time and effort. One expects to toil for years before the business succeeds. Yet, turned down by potential customers, refused by  financial institutions and rebuffed by critical suppliers, the average person concedes defeat.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t. They too often taste the bitter pill of defeat, but they never allow themselves to swallow it. Failure is not an option that they permit themselves. They hurl themselves over each and every hurdle and create opportunities to succeed.

Self Confidence

Not everyone is a successful entrepreneur, but when interacting with others we can each practice pushing ourselves across the final mile. Interaction is a tricky affair. At times it is a routine journey, but at times even an innocent comment can destroy trust, shatter self-confidence and derail relationships.

When our comments are ignored or when we are redressed at public gatherings, we feel humiliated and worry that the entire assemblage took note. It is difficult to maintain self-confidence, bounce back at the next meeting and risk exposure. The natural tendency is to cower in a shell of our own making, avoiding exposure and vulnerability.
Our hearts tells us that it is best to avoid risk, even as our minds retort that without risk there is no gain. Our minds insist that the abuse was not maliciously intended, but we lack the inner strength to dismiss our concerns.
What can be done when our environment no longer supports our confidence and growth? We must establish our own environment, an inner haven, of calm and security. We force ourselves to banish our fears and and gloom. We force ourselves to make the extra effort.
This sheer act of will becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Willing ourselves across the last and most difficult mile proves our mettle. Without even realizing it we begin to project an aura of calm and security that inspires confidence in others. We find our true strength and with it, our success.

Picking up the Pieces

Once the panic has been overcome it is time to pick up the pieces and rebuild. A sheer force of will has emerged and temporarily taken control, but that was a drastic measure to avoid catastrophe. We cannot function at this level of intensity all the time. Once the disaster is averted we must return to our regular routine. We must recommit to steady, but progressive growth.

Two Step Journey

These very rules also apply to behavioral and character transformation. Our behavioral patters don’t always reflect our values, but every so often we reflect bitterly on our inner state and are inspired to change. Change, however, is a two step journey.
First we banish all thoughts that lead back to our familiar, but inappropriate patterns. This is a difficult task. We seem to have an endless supply of arguments that justify temporary relapses, which in turn become permanent relapses. Our hearts desire and our minds justify; it is a struggle to uphold our values.
This inner transformation requires nothing less than a blast of sheer will power . A resolute decision that brooks no disagreement. On this subject there must be no inner debate. Our commitment must be absolute.
Once the inappropriate behavior has been stopped we initiate the second step; turning our attention toward the positive and constructive. We chart a course that reflects our true code of values and is in harmony with the principles of our faith. This requires dogged and unrelenting commitment. It cannot be achieved in a day; it’s a long term commitment.

the path to permanent recovery

We must pick up the pieces; direct our talents, marshal our resources, lay out our priorities and reconstruct our lives from the bottom up.

Inner Tabernacle

The Levitic tribe carried the tabernacle as our ancestors journeyed across the desert. The Merari family carried the Tabernacle’s walls. The Gershonic family carried the tabernacle’s covers. The Kehati family carried the Tabernacle’s artifacts; the ark, candelabra, show-table and altar.  (1)
The word Merari means bitterness. All Change must begin with the bitter acknowledgment of our inadequacy. When we reflect upon our behavior and consider it lacking,a sense of disappointment sets in. Disappointment is only constructive when it is accompanied by firm resolve to effect positive change.
It is upon this resolve, borne of dissatisfaction with the status quo, that the walls of our new lives are constructed. Indeed, the Meraris, the family of bitterness, carried the tabernacle’s walls.
The word Gershon means to banish. Over the walls of our new lives, a cover must be drawn to secure a healthy environment within. This protective cover is formed by the actual banishment of all inappropriate behavior and even thought. Indeed, the Gershonites, the family of banishment, carried the covers that were fitted over the tabernacle’s walls to protect the sanctuary within.
Kehat, means to marshal. Once we have secured a healthy environment it is time to marshal our resources to imbue our new environment with positive behavior and a constructive attitude. Indeed, the Kehatis, the family of marshals, carried the sacred artifacts that filled the tabernacle’s space. (2)

Reflection

The tabernacle need not be ancient history; it can become an active element in our daily lives. We are each endowed with Meraric, Gershonic and Kehatic abilities. We are each capable of firm resolve, of effecting change, and of charting a new course of constructive behavior.  We are each capable of bringing the ancient planks, covers and artifacts to sacred and vivid life. (3)

Footnotes

  1. Numbers, 4.
  2. Genesis, 49: 10.
  3. This essay is based in part on Likutei Torah (R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chassidus Chabad, 1745 – 1813) p. 21a as elucidated in Ohr Hatorah (R.Menachem M. Schneerson, Third Rebbe of Lubavitch, 1789-1866) pp. 241-249.
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