Do you want to feel more fulfilled and balanced? Are you struggling to find useful ways to make positive, lasting changes in your life? Are you looking for a Jewish path to Spirituality and Mindfulness? An American Mussar practice gives you the tools you need to find the root causes of your internal struggles and empowers you to make changes in small, incremental steps.
Mussar goes to the core of what it means to be Jewish – acting to bring kindness, justice, and compassion into the world. These are lofty ideals, and if it were easy to act in those ways, the world would be a wonderful place. In the real world, however, we are all flawed, and slip up in large and small ways every day. That’s ok, it is how we were meant to be. But, we don’t need to be a prisoner of our impulses and bad habits.
Mussar teaches how to find those things inside that get in the way of being the kind of amazing person we all aspire to be. More importantly, Mussar teaches that with small steps and mindful living, we can bring balance and healing to start living a better life today.
Mussar is based on the principal that we all have the same soul traits that make up who we are – however we are each at different points on the spectrum for each of them. The purpose of a Mussar practice is to create balance among these different traits within our souls. This is achieved by focusing on a single soul trait for two weeks at a time. The American Mussar framework makes it easy to identify habits and thoughts activated by the Soul Trait. We can then begin to make small modifications to our behavior with the goal of being more centered and nurturing to ourselves and others.
American Mussar is a 21st century wrinkle on traditional Mussar – the core principles are the same. We’ve taken an inclusive and innovative approach to make Mussar accessible to the 70% of American Jews who do not belong to a synagogue.
For example, we have eliminated Hebrew, even in transliteration, and thus only use English terms. Why? Because 49% of American Jews do not even know the Hebrew Alphabet, and Hebrew words can cause discomfort, even shame. In addition, we provide alternatives to “God talk.” You do not need to believe in God to practice Mussar.
Finally, we try to summarize the back story to help you get started right away, and learn as you go. We’ll provide you with Mantra Cards, visualization tools, and other fun ways to practice and get started.