So there I was, coming towards the end of completing the manuscript for my new book, which Bezrat Hashem, will give people tons of powerful tools for figuring out what’s going on with them, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
I just passed the 120,000 word mark, and it really is full of good, even revolutionary, stuff.
After months of gloom and pessimism, I was beginning to feel positive and confident again – and my yetzer hates that. So it sent me a week of disturbing bad dreams to soften me up a bit, and then it hit me with one of the most horrible days I’ve had for a long time.
Externally, nothing was really going. Internally, I started to feel filled up with despair and futility.
“No-one’s going to read your book…you’re just wasting your time…why even bother finishing it?…just go and do the washing up, already, and forget about your aspirations to build the world…”
And so on and so forth.
This carried on for a few hours, until I literally started to feel there was no point to life generally, and my life, specifically.
Has that ever happened to you? Do you get what I’m talking about?
Lucky for me, I was in the middle of listening to a class by Rav Ofer Erez in the car, and I was too despairing to even be bothered to turn it off. So I sat there, while Rav Erez started talking about ‘Klipat Amalek’, and how it’s big thing was to get a person so despairing that they give up on themselves, and stop believing that G-d is interested in them, or wants to help them, or that they can change.
Despite myself, I started listening.
Then, Rav Erez explained how he’d been talking with a big shrink in Israel, who’d been telling him that when a person gives up on themselves – when they get despairing, or yeoush, then they can’t be helped.
Their despair is what’s blocking their recovery, and the big turnaround in their life and fortunes.
I started to feel better.
I came home, started work on the book again, and I saw I was up to the part where I brought the idea from Rav Arush about how you can tell if the voice in your head is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, which is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity.
In a nutshell, good things, good thoughts, come from the side of ‘good’; and bad ideas and bad thoughts come from the side of ‘bad’.
All those bad ideas about how I was wasting my time, how my book was rubbish, how it was just going to sink without a trace etc etc – that was just my evil inclination!
Again, I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re in the middle of these tests, the biggest problem is that the voice of bad really sounds so convincing and ‘honest’.
Once I had clarity again, that the voice in my head wasn’t ‘realistic’, it was just plain evil and ‘Klipat Amalek’, I started to fight back. The next day, I finished two big, long chapters, and I set myself the goal of getting the whole draft completely done by February 1, G-d willing.
Rebbe Nachman taught us ‘there is no despair in the world’. He didn’t mean that we don’t feel despair, because we often do, especially in this difficult generation. What he meant, is that even if we’ve despaired of ourselves, and our abilities to improve or change, we should never despair of G-d’s love, and help.
G-d continues to believe in us, even when we’ve given up. He sends us CDs with just the right words we need to hear; holy rabbis to guide our path; great, simple, powerful advice to help us see that He didn’t give up on us.
His hand is always open, to lift us out of the mud and despair we’ve fallen into. So look for His hand in your own life, and grab it!