Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our journey of Tanya lives on...

Dear JLI Student,

Allow me to thank you for taking part in Soul Maps: Kabbalah to Navigate Your Inner World. I have very much enjoyed spending the past six weeks delving into the philosophy of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi as recorded in the Book of Tanya, and I hope you have as well.

Throughout this course, we have discussed emotional and intellectual congruity as well as serving G-d with all our faculties. The two most primary emotions are awe, shrinking back from that which is overwhelming, and love, drawing close to that which is pleasing.

Some of the steps necessary for personal change are relatively easy to identify and implement. We are comfortable with the idea of educating ourselves, and using that knowledge to set goals. Yet it can feel as if our emotions are beyond our control. It is one thing to muster up the will power to do good, and quite another to feel excited and happy to be doing it. Yet unless we learn to harness our emotions, we will have a hard time maintaining the motivation to follow through with our program of spiritual growth.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman ends his book by explaining how it is possible to educate and develop our emotions through study and contemplation. In our last class, we had the opportunity to partake in two contemplations together – one for awe and one for love, thus experiencing how this process can change us internally.

I hope that you will use this process often, so that you can see for yourself what a difference it can make in your life. And I hope that you will take the opportunity to continue your exploration of Tanya after this course has ended. I am available to speak with you privately about options for continued study.

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