What You Will Learn in Each Lesson
Introduction to the Mussar Method
In this first lesson Alan presents an overview of the Mussar method. Through the lecture and the readings, you will learn about its roots in the Jewish tradition and about Alan’s rediscovery of this practice of spiritual transformation based on the Torah and begin to experience the Mussar practices.
Discerning Your Challenges
Each of us face unique challenges in our lives. In this lesson Alan discusses practicing the Mussar method within the context of these challenges. Relating tales from Jewish teachings, he makes connections with the origins of Jewish understanding of the character traits to create a deeper understanding of some of the terms as they relate to the Mussar method. The challenging traits that we need to work on are often the opposite of our strengths. Traits that one may consider “negative” can also be harnessed for good in the right setting. For this reason, you will choose a practice that will help in identifying your own unique spiritual path within the context of the course.
In this lesson Alan explains the meaning of “obstacle” in Jewish teachings, in reference to traits that are part of the Mussar method. You will continue to develop your own spiritual path as you identify which challenging traits are obstacles to your personal change and growth.
Change Comes with Practice
In this fourth lesson Alan will discuss the change process. By applying a four-stage process, the practitioner becomes more whole in the trait in which he or she has chosen to focus. Alan takes you through the Mussar practice by focusing on the trait of gratitude as an example.
Recognizing Your Motivations
Our motivation can pull us toward different outcomes—those that may elevate and those that may debase. It is important to be aware of situations where a decision to act or behave may lead us in a direction counter to our spiritual best interests. In this lesson Alan explains how focusing on our challenges by default leads us toward spiritual growth.
A Higher Level of Consciousness
In this lesson Alan discusses how the Mussar practice can lead practitioners to gain an overview of their journey to wholeness or holiness. This naturally leads the practitioner to a higher level of consciousness.
Where Do We Go from Here?
In this final lesson Alan will reflect back on the Mussar practice, explaining how it has evolved through the lessons and how you can continue to work on a deeper level beyond the parameters of the course. In addition to your weekly practice, you will develop a plan for moving forward to connect more deeply with yourself, with your community, and with your God or spiritual practice.