by Reb Gutman Locks
I started becoming much closer to Hashem and the Torah about 7 months ago and I started having set times for Torah learning and prayer 3 times a day. I can easily say that those were the most happy and exciting days of my life, every word was sweeter than honey.
But at some point I got this big question that hit me in the back of my mind that I'm afraid of even typing, "Who is this God that I'm serving?" The question got louder and louder and soon I could barely focus on anything I did. I would get angry at everything and eventually fell into a tough depression which I'm still dealing with. I've come to the point where I'm barely even capable of praying because I feel like I don't even know who I'm praying to.
Also, whenever I try to learn Torah I feel this very uncomfortable anxious feeling in my stomach that makes me sick because I keep asking myself, "What am I even learning about?"
All of these doubts constantly cloud my mind that sometimes I take long naps just so that I can run away from all of the thoughts in my mind. This phase I'm going through makes everything so hard, even simple things like talking to other people, because no matter what I do I feel like I have no idea why I'm doing it.
There are also other scary thoughts that bombard my mind at times that I don't know how to deal with and I don't know where to start when it comes to bringing back that beautiful happiness that I had in serving God that I experienced in the beginning. I've really dug myself into a deep hole and I would really love your opinion and advice on what I should do to help bring myself back to the love of Hashem and the love of the Torah as one, because now I can barely see the connection between God and the mitzvot even though I know in my mind that there definitely is a connection.
Thanks so much for your time Rabbi and I hope that you can help me with my predicament. Hashem should bless you.
The first thing you have to do is to release your attachment to your uncomfortable thoughts. The easiest way to do this is; whenever an uncomfortable thought comes, no matter what it is, simply know that the feeling of discomfort is a sign that you are to immediately, "watch your breath."
This means that you are to calmly turn your attention to your breath, and notice the way the air feels as it passes in and out of your nose. Do not take a deep breath, but merely focus on the feelings in your nose as the air passes in and out.
At first, you may become aware of the pressure of the air against the inside of your nose, or you may be able to sense its temperature as it moves in and out… whatever the sensation, it does not matter. All that matters is that you focus on the feelings of the air as you breathe in and out of your nose. Then, as your attention leaves your breath, simply return to feeling the breath, over and over again.
After you have watched your breath move in and out a few times, remember that it is Hashem Who is breathing your breath in and out. Then, go back to focusing on the sensation of the air.
You should do this every time an uncomfortable thought comes, and continue watching your breath for a minute or two after you feel calm. Then, if another uncomfortable thought comes, return to watching your breath.
As to why these thoughts come…simply stated; they come because you are interested in them. The mind wants your attention. Also, when you begin to grow spiritually you become more sensitive and open, so unless you fill that new openness with holy thoughts, your mind will be filled with whatever thoughts you strongly attach to.
In addition to releasing your attachment to those negative thoughts by doing this exercise, you must also learn to fill your mind with positive thoughts.
There are always positive things happening in life, and there are always negative things happening in life. Whichever of them you pay attention to will determine your mood, your mindset, your daily experience in life. So, after you have relaxed your concern about your negative thoughts by watching your breath, see how many positive things you can think of.
You must learn to be strict with this, and whenever negative thoughts come, immediately think of some of the good things that are going on in your life, and or focus on your breath. You have to train yourself to take these steps as soon as you have a negative thought.
As to your question regarding the existence of G-d; the fact that you know that there is existence answers your question. G-d's most holy name means Existence. G-d is Infinite, therefore He is All, but He hides to allow us freewill. Because He is hiding we see ourselves as separate, individual, finite beings. This is a very narrow perspective of the truth. The higher, broader perspective shows that G-d is All, and there is nothing else.
If you try these recommendations they will certainly solve your problem. Obviously, if you do not do them, they cannot be a help to you.
Try them, and soon you will see that you are not subject to your mind, but that your mind is subject to you.