Last posting we talked about the fact, that spiritual descent (which obviously causes emotional, mental and other “falls”) is necessary for the ascent that follows it.
The dynamic works exactly like a springboard – you always swing down in order to jump up.
It would be a mistake to think that we need some other external “positive energy” to swing us up.
The very momentum of descent should be used to ascend – that’s the core principle!
Again this can be illustrated in the springboard example – the very energy of the down swing is propelling us up – if we are ready to use it.
What is required of us is only to learn how to detect the start in upward move, connect to it, harness it and ride it as high up as it goes!
Now the practical part – how do we actually turn around?
First of all we need to understand that there is no harm in trying to turn around at any moment
– usually we can’t even conceive the idea of a turnaround while we are in a state of a free fall.
The fact that we are able to contemplate the thought of bouncing back means that the window of opportunity to do it is NOW!
It’s always best to catch the very first chance for the spring up. If we miss the first one, there will be the next, but it is going to be lower and the second one won’t let us jump back as high as the first one.
Once we realize that NOW is the moment, we should start DOING something that brings us UP. The actual practice can be very different for every person. Among general techniques that have intrinsic holiness and, hence, work for many people, are Tefillah (prayer), reading Tehillim, going to a Mikvah (if it is appropriate for our situation), learning Torah and more. (Torah learning can be very powerful tool if one knows how to engage the heart, not only the head).
Listening to the favorite upbeat music can be very powerful consciousness changer
(avoid negative dark music that can sent you flying way lower).
There is a pitfall in this situation however:
Since we have a lot of kinetic energy from the downward movement, we might be subconsciously tempted to release it in unproductive ways.
Typical things we frequently do in that situation:
Using eating, drinking, gambling and even drugs as an outlet for relieve
(The list here can run unfortunately long, those are just some examples).
This might even take a seemingly innocent form as eating lots of chocolate to feel a bit better.
I’m actually pro-chocolate, however I prefer to eat it in different circumstances, for Oneg Shabbat (enhancing pleasure of Shabbat) for example :).
In general, we should avoid resorting to lower-level pleasures – this only dumps the accumulated energy “into the ground”.
While the process may make you feel a little bit relieved for a short time (since the discharged energy doesn’t create the “downswing” pressure any more), it’s a dead end, since the turnaround does not happen, nothing constructive is accomplished and we get stuck with lower energy level in the “down” state.
Spilling negative emotions on someone.
While this may feel like a release, the energy is re-routed towards negative means creating unpleasant reality in our present and future.
Feeling the energy pressure can create very unpleasant feeling, however we need to recognize it as the moment of opportunity. This is the moment when we can call to Hashem in the manner beautiful Psalm 130 is teaching:
From the depths I called you Hashem (Psalm 130:1).
Interestingly the Psalm 130 is among others called “Psalm of Ascents” – Shir Hamaalot.
May Hashem always help us to find the right steps for the Ascent! And if we don’t see the steps we only need to ask Him to reveal us the way up, the “how to” of the upward swing, since the persistent Tefillah can achieve anything!