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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.

The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by our content partner, Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.
 

82 Comments Posted  |  Post A Comment
Reader Comments
Latest Comments:
Posted: July 8, 2019
Amen
Posted By Harold

Posted: Feb 21, 2019
The past two years have been rough. The final two years in high school ,in Greece are the most important for someones' university acceptance, I know I have to succeed and have the best scores possible but it's been difficult lately to feel inspired and be productive. At the beginning I knew that the results wouldn't come soon, but now two years later I find it difficult to believe in myself and keep going. My scores aren't the best they can be, I make silly mistakes and I have started to believe that I won't ever succeed. I don't usually talk about my concerns, but lately I always feel like a failure. I am a believer of the outcome, so I can't believe in myself when I can't reach my goals.
Posted By Angeliki

Posted: Dec 9, 2018
I like it. Thanks ever so much for sharing this inspirational thought. I hear the message loud and clear.
Posted By Anonymous, Los Angeles

Posted: Dec 1, 2018
Grief
I had brain surgery Nov21,2014 the next day my father died the next year my best friend died, the next yr my moma died, the next year my brother died,& this year my brother in law and in all this time I have never recovered from my surgery and I feel many times I have lost my life, I have ithe last of my children at home my 16 yr old son, what will I be if I am not a moma everyday with children to tend to? The Grief at the life lost is overwhelming there are 4 of my parents children left, but we are not a family anymore,again grief over a live lost, my family. And with such lack of love, with much hate & lying. But in the end G-d will give me as many days as he gives and the choices that are about others behavior they will have to live themselves about and I will live with myself about, I am not mad at G-d for any part of this hate created it & I fix another’s soul and neither can you. You must except this and find peace and your happy will return do it for you & your beloved Ma!
Posted By S Evans, Bakersfield calif
via chabadofbakersfield.com

Posted: Oct 10, 2018
Thank you for sharing. Your comment is inspiring and much needed.
Posted By Anonymous, Toronto

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 25, 2018
Grief
I lost my great Mom 2 years ago and my only brother does not talk to me often or not at al, is only short e-mails, and only we I write him. He is married to a very unfriendly and cold Non-Jewish girl who did not even give him a child either. So I am very sad, lonely and depressed. Sometimes I feel like going with Ma & Pa. I have lived already. Used to go to Shabbat services and loved it. Now I don't care. I do not feel spiritual attachment. Am I angry with HIM? No, I do not think so. I cannot accept that there are people on the earth incapable of loving others, like my sister in law--who threw me out of their home every time Ma & I went for a visit. There is nothing she likes about me. I am now very lonely, getting older and do not know what to do anymore. I am looking for places to play piano and entertain the elderly and I should keep painting, but I don't. There is nobody there to talk to. Ma is not here anymore. I keep getting her messages but they are going far...
Posted By Fanny L Sloan, Carmel

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



 

   
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