Trying to foster a good mindset in life in general is an important thing, and probably something that many a therapist and life coach will tell you. If this is true and beneficial in your daily life with regards to mundane activities, errands, work, social interactions, etc, etc, etc, it is all the more important in terms of one's religious and spiritual life.

Here I describe prospective perspectives that may be useful angles when looking at our spiritual lives. Let's not mince our words, the obligation-and-restriction nature of Judaism can sometimes (often?) be difficult to relate to on a deeper, spiritual level. These "mini-approaches" are very simple and help me keep things in perspective when I find myself faltering in spiritual terms. What they lack in complexity and sophistication they make up for in elegance and ease-of-use.

Help yourself to one of the following:
  1. Shabbos - Negative and Positive Space
  2. Mitzvos - Cosmic Guitar Strings

Shabbos - Negative and Positive Space
Shabbos is one area that may pose challenges due to its malacho-oriented nature. Even people that have been frum their entire lives may find it difficult to really enjoy Shabbos due to the bundle of activities that they need to remember not to do. Notwithstanding that once you get into the groove of observance and avoiding malochos it gradually becomes second nature. However, up until that point and even afterward the ebb-and-flow of life can be distracting. Therfore a particular visualization may help you to really enjoy Shabbos.

Imagine for a moment a white sheet of paper. One of the basics taught to art students is that a good piece of art makes good use of both the empty space on the page and the area that the artist fills, known as the "negative" and "positive" space respectfully. If the entire canvas was empty there would be nothing to look at, and if the entire canvas was filled with paint it would feel cluttered and chaotic. The more balance there is between positive and negative space the more pleasing the piece of art is to look upon.

Shabbos as well is composed of negative and positive space. The negative space corresponds to the activities that you need to avoid, which are the melochos. The positive space corresponds to the actively engaged element of Shabbos, i.e., the davening, the seudos, the friends, the singing, and of course, the sleep. Fortunately for us these concepts are already built in to Shabbos in the form of שָׁמוֹר וְזַכוֹר בְּדִבּוּר אֶחַד, with שָׁמוֹר corresponding to negative space, and וְזַכוֹר corresponding to positive space.

Mitzvos - Cosmic Guitar Strings

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