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HomeIsrael and SocietyNoahide WorldMoving in the Right Circles
 
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Moving in the Right Circles    

Moving in the Right Circles



Living in this anxious state can create an unpleasant assortment of problems, a vicious circle. Anxious people aren’t nice to be around. It’s contagious.

 



This week we are going to start with a few definitions.  Some are supplied by the logophiles at Random House (RH), some from the brilliant Alan Morinis (AM), author of a deep yet accessible work on mussar called Everday Holiness, and some augmented or created by me, a Bat Noach of average intelligence living in Atlanta (AJ)
 
1. bitachon: a profound trust in Hashem. (AM)
2. vicious: addicted to or characterized by vice; reprehensible; unpleasantly severe.
    Antonym: moral. (RH)
3. vicious circle: one trouble that leads to another that aggravates the first (RH);
    something bitachon can release you from (AJ).
4. anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune (RH); an emotion you will rarely experience if you have bitachon (AJ).
5. positive circle: one success that leads to another success that positively affects the first; a moral cycle; your life when you have bitachon (AJ).
 
Imagine living your life with an annoying emotional hum that you feel in the background roughly ninety percent of the time.  Your fight-or-flight mechanism is working overtime telling you, “Something’s wrong, something’s wrong, something might be wrong, get ready...”  I lived most of my life like that.  Past tense. 
 
Living in this anxious state can create an unpleasant assortment of problems, a vicious circle.  Anxious people aren’t that nice to be around, for starters.  It’s contagious.  You can’t really focus on the moment.  You aren’t truly with the other person because the anxious part of your mind is searching out threats.  Or if you manage to focus on the person, the anxious part of your mind thinks your friend or acquaintance might be the threat, which isn’t nice.  At all.  And people often pick up on this vibe you are emitting.  And here’s where the vicious circle kicks in, they quite naturally don’t want to hang out with you too much.  Who would?  This then isolates you, which makes you even more anxious.  This is an all pervasive side effect, impacting work, home, friendships, shopping, neighbors, and telemarketers who catch you at the wrong moment- which is always.     
 
Physically speaking, a constant buzz of nervousness can lead to a host of ailments that I have seen in friends and acquaintances, high blood pressure being the most obvious and perhaps most frightening.  There are the physical side effects related to the high blood pressure meds, the side effects from mood enhancing meds, the battles people experience when their mood enhancing meds don’t work like they used to, and the medical bills and ugly labels doctors burden patients with.  And as Rabbi Brody has written about at length, you get the self-destruct mode with excess- and junk food, illegal drugs like weed, and legal drugs like Budweiser or expensive French wine, just to name a few – and of course all of those can lead to things like diabetes, liver ailments, financial stress and the concomitant relationship strife. 
 
I think it’s quite interesting that the antonym of ‘vicious’ is ‘moral.’  Because I was freed from anxiety and its ugly companions by, in effect, embracing a moral view of the world.  They are the antidote.  I didn’t jump right to them though.  Morals come from a trust in a Creator, trust in a force that is greater than you, bitachon.  And as Mr. Morinis points out, this first requires a faith that the Creator exists, emunahEmunah will hopefully lead to bitachon.  And this is where I am adding based on my experience, bitachon will hopefully lead to embracing a moral system that comes from the Creator, not merely one you have made up yourself with lots of feedback from your Evil Inclination. 
 
This is the really important message that I want to make clear.  My experience was that very quickly and without much work I got into the positive circle and its wonderful side effects.  So for some people this may happen very quickly.  Isn’t that the best news, maybe ever?  I had to be willing to swallow my pride, potentially look like an idiot, and find the courage to try something totally new to me.  I tried praying to what I imagined a perfect Creator would be.  I told that Force that I wasn’t sure existed to get right down here and help.  And I am still shocked by the fact that this worked.
 
6. work: to act or operate effectively. (RH)
 
Just to be crystal clear, I am telling you that a lifetime of anxiety was dissolved.  Poof.  I don’t blame you for perhaps finding this hard to believe because if I hadn’t experienced it myself, I would not have believed it either.  In fact I would have thought the person making this claim completely daft.
 
7. daft: senseless; stupid; foolish; insane; crazy. (RH)
 
So by taking a chance and granting for a moment that there may be a Creator to Whom I could speak, I developed emunah.  This lead to bitachon, which is sort of like jumping into the Red Sea when you can’t swim and then the waves part.  You have to do it despite the risk.  This gets you into a positive cycle.  You relax because the Creator is working for you and handling your problems in tangible, real, often visible ways.  You become nicer to be around, increasing friendships in number and quality.  Your home life improves because you are happier, more fun, kinder, and more optimistic.    
 
These positive results lead you to believe that maybe this Creator’s morals are worth trying out, committing to even.  The fact that you are behaving morally makes you appealing to all the right people and unappealing to the people you shouldn’t be hanging around anyway.  It makes you more successful at work, unless you are in the mafia, or work for the Iranian Government, for example.  And the problem solving skills that follow from an optimistic world view make you more successful in every arena, which will bring you great joy.
 
8. simcha: profound joy; a beautiful name; what you experience when you can relax because you have handed your problems to the Creator. (AJ)




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