The Answer to Casting Away Depression and Fear Forever and Making Sense of What Happens in Life All Around Us!
The answer to casting away depression and fear forever and making sense of what happens in life all around us is the belief in four Jewish concepts which anyone can learn about and practice in his or her own life. They are “Hashgacha Pratis”, “Continuous Creation” “Emunah” and “Bitachon”(...)
What do these terms mean? First off is the idea of “Hashgacha Pratis”. Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, the Eastern-European 18th century founder of the Jewish Chassidic movement, is credited with the reintroduction (as originating in scripture) of the idea of this concept. Hashgacha Pratis is the belief in detailed divine supervision of every occurrence and every creature (1). As it is understood, every blade of grass has a spiritual force behind it telling it to grow. Everything is divinely ordained. Therefore, if one reaches in his/her pocket for a quarter to put into the parking meter and takes out a dime, there is a reason for that tiny bit of aggravation that he/she endures in that moment. There can be no happenstance. If you happen to run into an old friend on the street, there is a reason for it. You should be asking yourself, why did that person just reappear in my life? What message am I supposed to be getting from this meeting? Is there some unforgiveness in my heart toward this person that I need to let go of? Was there something that I borrowed and forgot to return to him/her? Was there something that he/she just said to me that I really needed to hear? etc.
The concept of hashgacha pratis is linked to another vital theme in Jewish thought, continuous creation (2). The concept of continuous creation is well established in ancient Jewish texts. It’s that the Creator of the Universe not only created the world once and then walked away. Rather, He continually creates the world, constantly forcing it out of an initial state of utter nothingness into existence and life. Should this flow of vitality cease for even an instant, G‑d forbid, all would revert to absolute nothingness (2).
Often, as we journey through life and grapple with its myriad challenges, we experience moments of hopelessness and despair. For example, we see all of the turmoil in the world today, and it may hit home for us, such as being hit with a flood in our basement, experiencing an earthquake, losing our jobs or our home, feeling that our rights are being taken from us due to political circumstances or being the subject of violence. Or we may experience less dramatic but still traumatic events, such as having a disagreement with someone we are close with… At these times, we seem incapable of seeing any good in ourselves or in a fellow human being, nor of discerning any redeeming purpose in the dilemma or circumstance in which we find ourselves. But the doctrine of perpetual creation means that at every point in time, the world is the way it is only because G‑d actively desires to so create it. There can be no “hopeless” situations, no “meaningless” moments, for this very moment, with all its attendant circumstances, was only just now brought into being out of absolute nothingness by a purposeful Creator who is the ultimate source of good. (2)
Faith in Hashgacha Pratis is actually the foundation for the elimination of all fears, as it provides the basis for another Jewish concept, “bitachon” (3). Generally translated as “trust,” bitachon is a powerful sense of optimism and confidence based not on reason or experience, but on a deep seated faith called “emunah”. You know that “G‑d is good and He’s the only one in charge,” and therefore you have no fears or frets (1).
Just through your belief in Hashgacha Pratis you raise yourself to a level at which G‑d is intimately involved in your life, in an open, beneficial way. One who believes in hashgacha pratit finds G‑d in all that s/he sees and hears. Every facet of life becomes another opportunity to connect with the Infinite, and thereby another cause for celebration (1).
In my every day life, I live and breathe these four concepts, even without thinking about them, because I have made them the foundation of my life and belief system. I wrote here recently about losing my job and being thrilled about it. How can that be? This is why!
Now I would like to end with a recent story of something that just happened to me. I was down to $67 in my bank account with no source of money coming in on Wednesday going into a three day holiday of Rosh Hashana followed by the Sabbath. I was thinking how am I going to pay my bills and the private school tuition for my children. But I was not at all worried about it! I subconsiously used my belief in these four concepts, “Hashgacha Pratis”, “Continuous Creation”, “Bitachon”, and “Emunah” to go calmly into the holiday and not worry about anything. I was actually looking forward with great anticipation to see what G-d was going to do to help me out in this situation… Incredibly, last night, after the Sabbath, I turned on my computer to find not only my first unemployment check, but also my IRS tax return from 2016 has just been deposited into my bank account! It was totally amazing but came as no surprise to me, because I have become so accustomed to G-d helping me EVERY single time I have ever needed Him. That’s Hashgacha Pratis! The more I believe in these concepts, the more He helps me and the more I am blessed. The same can happen for YOU if you believe. Look around you in your life! You’ve been through some traumas, I am sure. How did you react in that situation when you were going through it and aferwards? Was it with despair and hopelessness? Looking back, had that situation not happened to you, how would your life have been different? Was there anything good that came from the situation that you may not have experienced otherwise? Was there some great lesson that you learned from it that has impacted your life in some amazing way and given you something that you never would have had had you not been through that trauma? If so, use that experience and the knowledge that you now have gained looking back at it, to flex and strengthen your “emunah” and “bitachon” muscles. Strart now looking around you today at everything that’s happening in your life as you go throughout the day. Search for messages in the things that happen to you today and the people who you meet. And start asking for divine assistance for that parking spot that you need or to succeed in that conversation that you need to have with your boss or your friend today. You will begin to see miracles unfolding before your very eyes! If so, please write back to this thread and let me know about it! Feel free to contact me for personalized coaching if you want to talk.
All the best!
Carolyn (Chaya Yehudit) Battino, MPH, CIC, AADP Board Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in hormonal, spiritual and emotional health and anti-aging for women ages 35–55