A Prerequisite to Meditation [Equanimity]
By Rabbi Chaim Vital; translated and adapted by Zechariah Goldman
Behold, after a person is worthy of the secret of deveikut [bonding with G-d] one may become worthy of the secret of hishtavut [equanimity]. If a person is worthy of attaining equanimity, one may become worthy of attaining hitbodidut [meditation]. After a person is worthy of reaching the level of meditation, one may become worthy of Divine inspiration, and then one may become worthy of prophecy….
Of two persons – one of them honors you and the second insults you – are they equal in your eyes?
In explanation of the secret of equanimity, Rabbi Avner told me the following: A rabbi once came to one of the meditative Kabbalists and requested of him to be accepted as an initiate. The Master said to him, “Blessed are you my son to G-d, for your intention is a good one. However, tell me whether you have attained equanimity or not?” The rabbi said to him, “Master, explain your words.” The Master replied, “If there are two persons – one of them honors you and the second insults you – are they equal in your eyes or not?” The rabbi said to the Master, “No my master. For I feel pleasure and satisfaction from the person who honors me, and pain from the one who insults me. But I do not take revenge nor bear a grudge.”
The Master said to the rabbi, “My son, go in peace. For until such time that you have attained equanimity, until your soul does not feel the honor of the one who honors you and the embarrassment of the one who insults you, your consciousness is not ready to be attached to the supernal realm, which is a prerequisite to meditation. So go and surrender your heart even more, a true surrendering, until you have attained equanimity. Then you will be able to meditate.”
And equanimity comes by attaching one’s consciousness to G-d, i.e., deveikut (bonding). For it is the attachment of a person’s consciousness to G-d that enables a person to ignore the honor or the insults…
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