I hear the same question all the time - how can I build my vessel? What can I do to expand my vessel? So, as we get ready to welcome the new year and all its challenges, I’d like to spend some time assembling all my answers to this question so everyone can embark on their mission to build vessels in 2021! Remember, the light is always there, the problem is our lacking the vessel to receive it. God is never the problem, the fault always lies with us. All we must do is build the vessel and Hashem will fill it with blessings. Therefore, the only limit to our blessing is the size of the vessel we build to receive it!
First, our belief system has a huge impact on our ability to build vessels. The single greatest thing you can do in your life to attract vessels is to improve your trust in God. This is because when you look up at heaven, heaven looks down upon you. If your belief system is rooted in fear and control, you are blocking your creator from your life and cannot hope to attract vessels and receive blessings. Fear is the opposite, so we cannot have trust if we have fear. Bear in mind as well that trust without action is useless, we must act on our faith in order to demonstrate trust. Building a vessel takes action, not thought! It is useful to sit quietly by yourself for 20 or 30 minutes a day and meditate on the emotions inhabiting your mind. You may be surprised how much anxiety, fear, and resentment you are holding on to! If this is the case, you must pray to God and ask for his help to remove these negative emotions from your mind so you may focus on your purpose and have trust in Him. The more you trust your creator, the easier it becomes to block out all the noise and distractions that exist on this earth which contribute to your forming negative thoughts and feelings. We need to be all in when it comes to trust, so pray to your creator every day and ask Him to help you build your trust!
Next up is the importance of our practicing mercy in our lives. This is what the Tomer Devorah instructs us to do - we should emulate our creator, and He is merciful with us, so we must be merciful with others! When you forgive others, heaven forgives you, and when you are easygoing with others heaven is easygoing with you. We want things to flow easily in our lives, and in order to ensure this we cannot allow our hearts to become stuck on hurt feelings or resentments. You should look at every opportunity to forgive another as an opportunity for you to be forgiven yourself by your creator. This is difficult at times, but it is the best way to receive divine mercy. The Shefa is always coming down, we just create blockages with our emotions and control issues, so make sure your heart does not become stuck and block Shefa.
The third way to build vessels is specific to the men, and that is taking on responsibility! When a man gets married and takes on the responsibility of providing for his wife, he has created a vessel in his wife through which Hashem will deliver blessings so that he may provide for her. Rabbi Nachman teaches us that when a husband takes responsibility for his wife, he is granted a measure of authority which allows him to draw bounty. Fear prevents us from taking responsibility as we believe we are not capable. I hear so many married men these days afraid of having more children, thinking they will not be able to provide for them. This is the complete wrong way to think about having kids! Your job is to take on the responsibility of having the children, Hashem will provide the blessings so that you can provide for them. You cause your creator pain by not taking on responsibility as you prevent Him from providing for you.
The fourth item I want to discuss is wisdom versus motivation. Rabbi Nachman teaches us we should be focused on building our wisdom rather than allowing our mood to be our motivator. When we allow our mood to drive us we get stuck in overthinking mode. This is because you have let your heart do your thinking, when this is the job of the mind. 99% of decisions are made based on how we feel the moment we make them. This is no good! Make 2021 a year of wisdom building rather than allowing your mood to become your mind.
It is so important to remember that feelings come after actions, not before them! If you based the decision to exercise on how you feel about it before the workout, you would never get to the gym. You have to go against your instinctive feelings and do what it is you are resisting, and the good feelings will come after you have completed the action. It is OK to have negative thoughts about something, your job is to overcome these thoughts and take action so that you can receive the reward. Again, do not allow your mood to run your life!
Next up, it is not enough to simply think about a conversation with your creator, you need to open your mouth and speak it. God instructs us to open our mouths wide so he may fill them - how can he fill a closed mouth? Your bounty is determined by the level of speech you demonstrate to your creator. The man who wakes up 20 minutes early to speak to his creator will see great success, the man who spends those 20 minutes with his pillow will see nothing. When you express your desires aloud with speech you build the vessel by which to receive them. Hashem wants you to come to him every day and speak to him about what is on your mind so that your vessel can be built and he can deliver the blessings to you. If you speak aloud to your creator you get results, if not you are only left with excuses.
Rabbi Nachman also instructs us about the importance of spiritual purity in our lives when it comes to our ability to build vessels. If you are allowing impurities into your life, for example the many young Jewish men I see these days dating non-Jewish women, then you are inhibiting your ability to construct the vessel needed for Hashem to bless you. Guys, I cannot stress this enough, you need to be seeking your soulmate now! Let go of the idea that you are just having fun and will worry about marriage later in life, that attitude will cause you to miss out on so many blessings because you’ve not prepared the vessel required to receive them.
The eighth idea to keep in mind in order to build vessels in 2021 is simple: stay in your lane! The more I look at the success of others, the less focused I am on my own success and the less satisfied I am with my own blessings. When we are not in our own lane we attract anger, resentment, anxiety, self-comparison… all things which take us away from our creator. Start every day with gratitude and you will end the day the same way, for without gratitude you invite resentments which will weigh you down and cut you off from Hashem. The lives of others are none of your business, and you don’t have the full story of their lives anyways! Someone may appear happy due to their financial success, but their marriage could be falling apart. No one on this earth is here to be whole, we all have pieces of ourselves which require repair.
It is also important to have joy in your life, as joy opens up the mind. Our joy comes from our perspective, so the only way to gain joy is to alter our perspective. It is difficult to have joy when you are going through a challenge, so what can you do in times of struggle in order to shift your consciousness and achieve joy? Give your situation a new meaning! Recognize that everything happens for a reason, and look for your creator hiding in what appears at first to be an obstacle. Our perspective can steal our joy, but when we change our perspective and look for our creator in all things our joy is regained. Humility is important when it comes to our ability to shift our perspective as well, as this allows us to walk in another person’s shoes and see things from their point of view.
Last but not least, if you want more out of life you need to become a conduit for your creator. You accomplish this by focusing on service and giving to others, rather than worrying about receiving. When you’re in a mode of service and co-creation, Hashem is able to use you as a vehicle to deliver blessings to others, so you in turn receive more blessings so that you have more to give. Maintain a mentality of “I want to receive so I may give” and you will become a conduit for your creator. If you are desiring success for the greater good, rather than for your own interests, you will attract vessels and blessings endlessly in the coming year!