Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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Yisroel wrote:

     I am in my twenties and have corresponded with you several times regarding my difficulties with meditation.
     It turns out that I have a neurological autoimmune illness (some sort of encephalomyelitis) and that my difficulties with meditation have spread to other less intense cognitive tasks including some days even sitting there doing nothing!
   This is getting worse and worse to the point where I am barely even able to carry out normal functions.
    My faith needs work and it has been suggested that I have “spiritual exile,” that I need to learn more, or even that I need to work on some of my behavior and think less…
     Problem is, my very ability to do all the above is physically leaving me. Even just being aware when I go into a bad thought pattern and saying “have faith” and “don’t sin to get out of this” or something of the sort depletes my brain function, gives me a headache and thus I cannot do this forever.
     How am I supposed to do the spiritual work necessary to get better, if I can’t do it, if further energy depletion damages my brain?
     My life is on hold, my dating to my future wife is on hold, my learning is on hold and I feel trapped in my body because sometimes my brain can’t even watch TV!!! I don’t know what to do!
     I can’t begin to explain how debilitating this is. My doctor thinks it is treatable as long as we find the exact bacteria or toxin causing the reaction, but it is very complicated to do so… it will take a miracle. Do you have any advice? With this added insight, can you recommend any way to achieve some sort of deveikut (cleaving to G-d) so I can merit healing? I feel like I’m stuck.

Gutman’s response:
Shalom Yisroel,
     Hashem have mercy on you and heal you completely and very soon.
     My obvious advice is first to do whatever the medical specialists advise. As for your spiritual life, certainly do not sin as this cannot lead to the goal you are seeking.
     Even if your mindset becomes simple, there is no reason why you cannot maintain a loving relationship with your Creator. The joy of the most simple Jew when he does a mitzvah brings into the world the same holiness that learning Torah brings. Always try to be happy that you have the opportunity today to do some good to gain the merit that you need to place yourself in a good way with Hashem.
     Try singing when you are stressed or hurting. Sing or hum a personal, gentle tune that smoothes over your rough feelings.
     Joy will help you to overcome all of your trials.
     Send me the good news when the doctors find, and cure the problem.
Be well


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