Sunday, January 17th, 2010
I am currently working with a good friend of mine who is a wonderful teacher in Israel. We are going over the Mussar, which is a thousand-year-old Jewish tradition that offers an insightful perspective on life. It is also a discipline for personal change. As exciting as this learning is, Mussar is much more than something to learn. It is mainly something to do. This tradition bears a remarkable resemblance to coaching. Once you study Mussar and receives the insights, you must act on them. Coaching is also based on action; we need to design our steps and start acting on them in order to move forward.
The author of one of the major work of this thousand-year-old tradition, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato, writes on the introduction of his book Path of the Just, the following: ” I have written this work not to teach people what they do not know, but rather to remind them of what they already know and clearly understand. For within most of my words you will find general rules that most people know with certainty. However, to the degree that these rules are well-known and their truth self-evident, they are routinely overlooked, or people forget about them altogether.”
Just like coaching, this tradition believes that we have clarity inside ourselves. We know what our mission is and what our call is. We know what we are supposed to be doing during this lifetime. The main point is to get in touch with our true nature and be reminded of who we are and why we are on this earth at this time.
I am now working on the trait of Humility, which is the one that opens the gates for all the other traits that follow. Humility teaches us to occupy our own space in the world – not more, not less. It is about being who you are and doing what you are supposed to be doing in this world.
As a path of spiritual self-development, Mussar involves working on yourself. But, it is important to stress that this is not for the sake of yourself. Just like coaching, there is a bigger picture involved in this process. By refining and elevating your inner life, you clarify your inner light and thus become a lamp shedding light into the world. Just like coaching, Mussar also understands that developing oneself also implies developing his/her family, community and ultimately, the world. The main purpose of both disciplines, Coaching and Mussar, is not so that you will gratify all your desires, but so that you will become the master of your desires, in order that you can fulfill your potential, which is spiritual above all else.