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Question of the Week


Why Don’t I Feel Inspired Anymore?


Question:

I am experiencing a major lull in my spiritual motivation. I started getting into Jewish things around a year ago, but now I just don’t have the passion for it anymore. Rosh Hashanah is coming—last year I was all inspired, this year I don’t feel any drive whatsoever to attend services. Is there something I can do to revive my enthusiasm?

Answer:

Do you remember how you learnt to ride a bike? Your first bicycle was fitted with training wheels on both sides, to keep you from tipping over. The training wheels allowed you to get the feel of riding the bike and build confidence. You felt so good, speeding along and never falling.

Then, just as you started to get comfortable, your parents removed the training wheels and told you to get on the bike and ride. So you got on, rode for half a second and then lost balance and fell flat. “How can I ride without training wheels?” you thought. But your parents insisted that you try again. So you did, and again you fell.

Your frustration built up, to the point that you were ready to give in. You may have wondered why your parents took the training wheels off in the first place. But had they not, you would never learn to ride your bike all on your own. It’s harder to ride without training wheels, but only then is it really you riding the bike, using your own skill rather than depending on outside help. You may fall a few times, but as long as you get back up and keep pedaling, eventually you get your balance and the bike rides smoothly along the road.

When someone gets in touch with their Jewishness for the first time, there is a thrill and an excitement unlike anything else in the world. This initial inspiration is a little helping hand from G‑d, spiritual training wheels that help us start our journey. But once we get the hang of it, once we have advanced along the spiritual path and are ready to go deeper, the training wheels are removed and we have to ride on our own. The inspiration disappears, the motivation fades, and we are left dangling.

Here’s the real test. When the excitement wears off, there are those who drop out of the spiritual life. They think that the fun is over, this spiritual stuff isn’t for me, and they move on. If we do that, then we miss out the chance to go to the next level: to connect to our souls through our own efforts. Precisely the moment when the inspiration fizzles out is when the real soul work begins. Rather than being propped up by divinely created inspiration, we have to look within and start riding on inspiration that we create ourselves. The spiritual path has to become ours, something we work for and earn.

We will fall again, but every fall brings a chance to take things to a new level. Keep on pedaling, inspired or not, and you will advance further and further in your soul’s journey.

Feeling uninspired? Your training wheels are off. You don’t need them anymore. Get up and ride.

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By Aron Moss   More articles...  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author
Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.

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Reader Comments
Latest Comments:
Posted: Oct 10, 2018
'Precisely the moment when the inspiration fizzles out is when the real soul work begins'. Rabbi Akiva Tatz discusses this idea on a video on Youtube called 'Kabbalah: The Spiritual Core of the World - Rabbi Akiva Tatz'.

Rabbi Tatz says: Life always has two phases. Phase 1 is the first light and phase 2 is the second light. Phase 1 is unbelievable, amazing and filled with possibilities. It uplifts you and inspires you, but it only lasts long enough to convince you that it will last forever. Then phase two kicks in. You feel a cruel let down. Abandoned and hopeless. This is where you have to pick yourself up and make it real. This is when you have to shine the second light yourself. Hashem is saying to us: "Now you do it and we'll meet as equal. I've done my part to inspire you, now you do your part and construct yourself".

This is the pattern of life. For example, at the beginning of marriage it is like a fairy tail (phase 1), and then the hard work kicks in (phase 2).
Posted By Chava Soroh Goldberg, London

Posted: Aug 10, 2018
It is only when I perform mitvoth and do at least a little Torah study every day that I feel centered. When I get distracted by the world or my moods - and forget my spiritual work, it's like falling into an abyss. Some days I have to push myself to do spiritual work but I realize it's as necessary to me as food and water.
Posted By Susan, Montreal, Canada

Posted: May 17, 2018
I have no emotional attachment to the jaywalking laws. Traffic regulations mean bupkis to me other than I don't want a ticket. When I look at my life as a worshiper of the almighty G*d. I every day look at the mitzvot he put in place and I have an emotional attachment! With every thing I become truly aware of or awoke to its another way to love G*d and thus I maintain my inspiration. G*d and expressing my love to him through obedience is never without inspiration.
Posted By Michael Sherman, Henderson

Posted: May 7, 2018
Being all we can be
Inspiration as a choice for me is an uncommon notion. In Yoga I see there's the assumption of an inner light emanating up the spine through the chakras to the mind. This last writer responding to the discussion got me thinking of choice as the switch that moves us--not an alien zap (my childhood upbringing attuned me to such a thought) but a decision to "wake up and be awesome."
If that light goes out, we are in terrible trouble.
Posted By Anonymous, Montreal, QC

Posted: May 7, 2018
Yes. This is very true. And Severe Parental Alienation involves manipulation , control , degredation , defermation of character , bullying , intimidation , fear , trauma as severe as that of a soldier. We must help.our children leave this Domestic Violent situation alive and well on earth right away. They are unable to do so on their own. These people.even forbid our very own children from having any contact alive and well on earth with their very own loving non abusive parents. We desperately need help right now.
Posted By Anonymous, Toronto

Posted: May 3, 2018
I'm sure it is. You were intended by G-d, and that makes your aliveness holy. Your life is His gift to you, and you are supposed to treat it as a precious gift, not abuse it or throw it away. It is regarded as G-d's privilege to end your life at His choosing, not yours.
Posted By William, Winkelman

Posted: May 3, 2018
Inspiration and service
Inspirational sources can be positive or negative. I assume that the question is oriented towards positive inspiration. Don't we choose to be inspired or not by something, as thinking human beings? Sure we can turn on the inspiration in our lives, or turn it off.

When want to, we can make the choice to be inspired. Or, we can make the opposite choice to hold back than same inspiration, and hold it in reserve.
I think that we are always in control of our service to humanity.
Posted By Anonymous, Los Angeles

Posted: Apr 7, 2018
This was so inspiring to read and a prime time to stumble upon this question.
Posted By Anonymous

Posted: Feb 25, 2018
Re severe parental alienation
G-d wants what's the supreme best for us which is why there is nothing greater than pleasure. Every morning prayer we affirm our faith and vow to teach our children so that it may be upon their hearts.
HoWever, G-d it torah also asks us to Fast and "Bind Them for a sign upon your hand that they shall be ornaments between your eyes" as we are instructed to do the Tefillin mitzvah every morning.
Posted By Robert Fadal, Seguin

Posted: Feb 25, 2018
Parental love of a child, like God's love for us is always the one absolute that is unfaltering!
Posted By Robert Fadal, Seguin, Tx



 

   
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