middot enthusiasm Displaying items by tag: stress
Tuesday, 05 October 2010 09:10

stress management

Rabbi Akiva sailed from Israel to Cyprus. Before he left port, he saw his prized understudy, Rabbi Meir, board an older vessel, also sailing to Cyprus. In the midst of their journey, a terrible gale struck the Mediterranean. Rabbi Akiva's heart broke as he gazed into the distance, wincing while the storm lashed into the decrepit craft that carried Rabbi Meir. In a matter of minutes, the latter's ship was utterly destroyed...

A tear slid down Rabbi Akiva's cheek. "What a waste of a brilliant mind!" he lamented.

Several days later, upon reaching the shores of Cyprus, Rabbi Akiva entered a local synagogue and house of study. Flabbergasted, he froze in the doorway. Rabbi Meir was in the middle of a lecture to a group of Cypriot Talmud students. Seeing his esteemed teacher and spiritual guide in the doorway, Rabbi Meir ceased lecturing. "Rabbi Akiva, my honored master, please come inside!"

Rabbi Akiva could barely speak. "M-Meir! Y-You're still alive! H-How did you get ashore?"

"Simple, my master. Instead of focusing on the stormy sea, I rode one wave at a time. I caught wave after wave until I reached the shore!"

Published in daily living
Sunday, 12 September 2010 21:34

the pH of anger

Talmud - Mas. Nedarim 22a

R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in the name of R. Jonathan: He who loses his temper is exposed to all the torments of Gehenna, for it is written, Therefore remove anger from thy heart,’ thus wilt thou put away evil from thy flesh. Now ‘evil’ can only mean Gehenna, as it is written, The L-rd hath made all things for himself yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Moreover, he is made to suffer from abdominal troubles, as it is written, But the L-rd shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind. Now what causes failing eyes and a sorrowful mind? Abdominal troubles.

What is remarkable to me as I read this is the physiological response that is being spoken of if we become worked up: stomach troubles.

Published in mesorah
Sunday, 22 August 2010 23:46

finding equilibrium

art-balance

  1. Do you become emotionally unstable when you hear news, either good or bad?
  2. Do you become distressed when you experience unexpected pain or pleasure?
  3. Do you lose equilibrium when a chair or table is moved from one room to another?
  4. What happens if you find yourself in the company of people you do not know?
  5. Can you handle unexpected requests to lead or speak in public?
  6. When you are already overburdened, what happens when someone adds another thing to your to-do list?  Do you get flustered and short tempered?

 

The remedy for many of these troubles comes through conditioning.  One must approach whatever is disturbing and confront it.  Understand it through touching, feeling, questioning of intention.  Seek the root of your discomfort.  Many times our reactions to situations obscure the real root of the problem.  It is much easier to condition one's self once the root is addressed. 

For example, if you are overworked and any new tasks make your existing work unmanagable, perhaps you should try organizing your workload by making lists and prioritizing the more important things to do.  By writing them down, you don't have to remember all the details.  As new items arrive, simply adding them to your list can help eliminate some worrisome thoughts.

Published in daily living

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