route of mussar getting started

getting started

Here's how it all works. The chart below shows how this website will aid you through the process of making your life a wellspring.  This is not a passive study program.  The key to tuning your character traits is making mussar an active daily practice with the steps below.

Program Chart 

signup

commit
  • If you are looking for a meaningful mussar practice in a committed community, then look no further.  Signup with Riverton Mussar on the homepage to receive the weekly email with the middah (character trait) of the week, and donate to keep the program going.
get source books
  • We recommend having a copy of Everyday Holiness by Alan Morinis, and a journal.  These can be found here.  Other books recommendations are here.

weekly activities

jumpstart
  • You week will start out by reading an email which will be sent to you from the Riverton Mussar website on Saturday night.  This will summarize the middah for the week and help you get started .  Take time on Sunday to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as they relate to this middah.
prepare
  • Use the resources on this website to understand the nature of the middah for the week. Acquaint yourself with the middah and inspire yourself with the various writings regarding work on this trait.  In addition, read your classic and contemporary mussar texts to help supplement your learning.
partner
  • Schedule time with your chevrutah partner for study during the week.  If you get together in the latter half of the week, this will give you both time to observe and discuss your own interactions regarding the weekly middah before getting together.
reflect
  • On Saturday evening, after sundown, finish your final journal entry for the previous week by looking back at your weekly experiences.  Review your journal entries and summarize your discoveries for the past week.  Add up your accounting for each day and review the results. 

 

daily activities

meditation (hitbonenut)
  • this is best perfomed in the morning before the days' duties
  • find a quiet spot to sit in where you will be undisturbed for at least 10 minutes
  • allocate the time to meditate as a necessity, like you would to eat breakfast or shower
  • find a comfortable space on the floor and breathe in and out  - and notice your breath
  • when your breath becomes uncalculated and you find a natural rhythm, you are ready to proceed
  • say, think or feel shlema (wholeness) – focus and block out external noises and mind noise
  • don’t wander, come back if necessary in your meditation
  • at the end of the day write what distracts you during your meditation in your journal (as it will illuminate what middot are your working points in your morning mantra)
nourish
  • Use the resource page for the middah to gain insights and experiences from mussar masters, leaders, and fellow members.  As the community grows, this resource collection will grow.  While each of our experiences are unique, many of these insights will nourish your soul with wisdom and give you the tools for self-awareness and growth.
observe
  • As you progress through each day, make a mental note of your successes and failures as they relate to the weekly middah.

    Become sensitive to the soul traits inside you.  Heighten your awareness.  It means being aware of the seed of a thought, word, feeling or deed as early as possible in its cycle of germination and birth.  As you go through each day, recognize when your middah is being challenged and how you respond to a particular situation.
correct
  • On Saturday evening, after sundown, look back at your experiences of the week.  Review your journal entries and summarize your discoveries for the week. After you add up your accounting for each day and review the results, make a mental note of where your inability to master self-restraint affected your performance of a particular middah.
    As you prepare to enter a new week, consider where your need to improve lies.  In order to have success in the next week, resolve to be more aware of your behavioral patterns and reign in potentially damaging behavior.  Are you prone to lust?  Look the other way.  Do you have a tendency towards lying?  Perhaps in tandem you need to not only master truth but silence.  Rework problematic soul traits to the root so that it is not a barrier to the soul.  

    Harness the power to correct your middot with this thought:

    "External motions instigate internal motions."  --Rav Chaim Luzzatto
share
  • The power of Riverton Mussar lies in being a collective.  As we share our experiences in an objective fashion with many members, we empower and encourage those around us who may struggle with the same middah that it is possible to change and achieve more wholeness.  Members will be encouraged to participate in our private Facebook discussion group.
journal
  • Each day, it is imperative to journal before retiring.  This includes scoring yourself on the 13 middot and journaling on one or many experiences which reflect on the main middah of focus for the week.  The only night where you would not journal is Friday night, since it is the Shabbat.  Rather, you would journal Friday and Saturday's progress for both days accordingly in your journal following the close of Shabbat.  When you have finished those two entries and accounting, look back at your experiences for the week.  Review your journal entries and summarize your discoveries for the week.  Add up your accounting for each day and review the results.  The cycle begins again each 13 weeks, so you will be able to work on this middah again in 3 months so keep in mind you will have the ability to return to a particular middah again as need be.

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