Last week, our group discussed chapters 21-23 in With Heart in Mind. Among the issues we considered were:
The strategies we could employ to help us be “slow to anger” (one of the characteristics attributed to God, though even God was not always consistent in this practice). We liked Mussar Rabbi Perr’s metaphor of opening “a space between the match and the fuse” (i.e., of not being reactive and endeavoring to override our emotions with wisdom.
The qualities of “Goodheartedness,” which include seeing the good in others, being more centered on their well-being than our own, avoiding resentment and envy at another’s good fortune, acting joyfully (especially when giving), and smiling easily. This last quality raised some issues for some of us, perhaps since “putting on a happy face” does not always reflect genuine feelings.
Some of the difficulties related to having “faith in the sages” and not straying from what they tell you. We spent a good deal of time trying to identify exactly what sages/authorities we should have faith in. The authors of the Talmud? Other knowledgeable Jewish authorities throughout the centuries? Only Jewish sages? Only pious sages? We were grateful for Morinis’s qualification that we could question/argue with (constructively probe) authority–not to prove it wrong but to develop our own understanding and come to a better grasp of truth.
This Friday, participants will explore chapters 24-28 (pp. 135-160) of With Heart in Mind dealing with issues that range from “Accepting Suffering” to “Not Claiming Credit for Oneself.” Those who wish to partake in the discussion should come prepared to identify what they consider their ONE most important takeaway from those 5 chapters, and the ONE most important question those chapters raise for them.