a new focus

כדי לבטל את רצונות היצר אפשר לעקוב אותו במחשבה פשוטה. שילוב חיי אם אני, להקדים את מקור חייך להאני הישות שלך מביא ביטול מוחלט מאני לאין: חאיניי - עיטוף האני בחיי נפשך מגלה עצם ביטולו

One of the most basic ways to work on ego is to remind yourself that you are nothing next to your soul which is literally a piece of Godliness. (חלק אלוקה ממעל ממש) The Tanya discusses this in the context of awakening divine mercy for your poor soul that has been distanced from her home (the source from which she was hewn) in heaven.

A simple idea to focus on is this: the ego, the I, is אני in hebrew. The goal is to turn the ego, the אני, into אין, into the hebrew word for nothing. This seems simple as אין and אני have the same hebrew letters, aleph yud nun. So, we should be able to just rearrange our awareness and that's it, presto! no more ego. 

Unfortunately it's not so simple. But, when we start to think of our soul, of the source of our life-force, we can represent it with the word חיי. This is the life-force we pray for when we ask HaShem for בני חיי ומזוני - offspring, life, and sustenance. The life component encompasses many things, including really the other two. So, when we focus on our soul as the root of our life-force,  חיי, we can unite it with our ego, אני, and accomplish fascinating results.

When we connect two ideas in our thoughts, we generally interweave the letters of their composition, called in hebrew a שילוב - shiluv. In the case of אני and חיי when we want the חיי to be the dominant force influencing the אני, we start with the ח from חיי and then take the א from אני and so on, alternately taking one letter from each word. When we combine the whole thing we get:
In this word we see that while the חיי remains intact surrounding what's in the middle, the middle has changed from אני, from ego to אין, to nothing.

In this way we can see that by focusing on the source of our life-force, on our soul, and its importance, we can overcome our ego in a very natural almost roundabout way.

When we remember our soul, and recognize how our actions either respect our soul, dignifying her, or dishonor her, embarrasing her, we can lose sight of whether our actions are bringing us honor or power or attention or all the other things our ego likes us to focus on.


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