Our hearts are yearning! We want to be loved and respected. We want to feel good and worthy. We want to contribute and be recognized. But something is missing. There is a void in many of our hearts that seems to gnaw at us. It rears it’s head unannounced and says, “I want more! Is this it? Is this why I’m here?” So many of us know exactly how to deafen that inner voice. Some of us shut off our racing minds by inundating ourselves with television or some other social media. Others scour the fridge for the right ‘comfort food’ to stuff away those emotions. Still too many others numb the emptiness by drinking, gambling or doing drugs.
But the heart aches! It’s thirsting for real connection. It’s pining for relationships with our partners, friends and with the infinite. That longing is very real. We need to stop hiding and address it.
But how do we address it? How do we deal with the trauma of our past? How can we face ourselves and have a future?
Personal prayer! More and more prayer!
King David sings, “That which is elevated, is denigrated by man (Psalms 12:9)”. The Talmud (Rashi to Brachos 6b) says David is referring to prayer, which “stands at the summit of the universe, yet is treated without respect”. Rebbe Nachman says (Tinyana 1) that personal prayer is in exile. In order to redeem prayer from its exile, we need to be wholehearted. We need to access our entire heart by instilling the fear of God in our lives. That awe allows us to sincerely access our hearts, which have been busying us with thousands of facebook posts and hundreds of daydreams, as we stare at our new clothes in the dressing-room mirror. With an open heart we can develop tools of prophecy. In Torah 138 the Rebbe taught that even though there’s ‘officially’ no prophecy left in the world, a clean heart is so in tune with creation, that it’s nearly prophetic. The heart is so deep. Unfortunately many of us are afraid to let it feel. Maybe we had some ugly episodes in the past that have convinced us that our emotions are best kept under lock and key? But how long will this go on? Can we deny it forever? How long will we numb ourselves? It’s time to allow our hearts to feel and heal.
This happens when we really pray! Not how we learned to pray as kids, and not how we see others praying in synagogue, but how only our hearts know how to pray. It’s very uncomfortable at first; almost awkward. Many times it just doesn’t go, but undoubtably it’s the most special expression that we have. It’s us, who we really are. It’s our greatest tool of health. It’s the best remedy for all of our challenges. Not only will we find our true selves but we will be shocked at how amazing we can be.
Try it. In your own words. A few minutes here and there. Every so often a longer session when necessary. Only you know how much you need. Sometimes when you’re taking that second or third helping of dessert, or you’re scrolling down the youtube screen for the next video, maybe you just need to shut your eyes and whisper? Maybe you need to walk outside, take a deep breath and mumble? Only you can know what you need. But I know you need it.