Middah of the Month of Elul: Curiosity and Awe

Curiously, we begin this month with an attitude rather than an actual midah.  Hitlamdut means internalizing what you learn or learning how to learn. Sometimes we react to sudden emotions (excitement, anger, offense, insecurity).  We behave in ways guided by those unexamined emotions rather than with curiosity and compassion about their deeper source. In preparation for Rosh HaShana, the month of Elul encourages us to BE CURIOUS.   What new truths can I learn about myself, the world, another that might change my ability to respond rather than react?  An attitude of hitlamdut allows our learning to be transformative.  (Rabbi Sonia Saltzman & the Tikkun Midot Project Curriculum)

Try one or all of these techniques.

Focus phrase

Who is truly wise? One who learns from every person. (Talmud)

Create an inner ability to learn and you will find the world full of teachers.  (Rabbi Jay Asher LeVine)

Question:

What happens when you substitute curiosity for judgement?

Practice:

Allow yourself to be curious about yourself moving through a routine activity such as preparing a meal, brushing your teeth, or leaving the house.        

The goal is NOT to improve the task but just to notice, to become aware of your body, actions, feelings, thoughts during the activity.   What do you learn about yourself?

See the weekly e-blast for new practice suggestions.

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