Journey into the High Holidays with Amichai Lau-Lavie, founder of Storahtelling and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. It’s a daily dose of inspiration to get you focused and ready for the new year, featuring daily intentions, simple tasks, and tools for living better.

Prepent Day 11: A new door opens, and we enter the next level of this journey. Pause before taking the next step: let’s do it together.

The first 10 days of this 40-day process got things jump-started. We’re moving toward Yom Kippur—the day of at-one-ment, of re-start, that will enable us to begin the coming year with a new and improved lease on life. But we‘re also moving inwards, taking on one of the hardest tasks of being human: fixing ourselves from the inside while the motor’s still running.
Prepent 5774 is a four-phase grid, grounded in the mystical notion of the four worlds: Doing (Assiya), Feeling (Briaa), Thinking (Yetzira), and Being (Atzilut). The notion that the universe is comprised of four “worlds,” or levels of reality, is based on an ancient Kabbalistic conception of existence as multilayered and in a state of dynamic flux.

The first level was about our body: the faithful container of all that we are, the vital vehicle for doing our will in the world. How we breathe, eat, stretch, and sleep has a lot to do with our general wellness. But to go further toward self-improvement, we need to go beneath the skin—and spend the next ten days thinking about feelings and carefully examining how our emotions shape our lives.

Feelings and emotions—our likes and dislikes—give our lives meaning. They cause us to be happy or unhappy, fulfilled or dissatisfied, and to a large degree they dictate our actions and even our health. I am an emotional person, and what I feel and how I react sometimes makes me agitated. Do I overreact? Am I too emotional?

Today’s intention: Gain some clarity on the fog of feelings. I’m going to make two lists: one list of feelings I experience often that make me happier and more alive, and another list of emotions that, when they do erupt, I’d like to take a closer look at and examine. What do I need to pay attention to in my world of feelings?

This is a lot to think, about and it’s admittedly confusing. Here’s a short reminder of how our brains manage all this. And here’s a list of emotions, compiled by Aristotle, to help us begin to make sense of the heart and feel better about feelings. Onward to phase two.

Follow along with the Scroll’s daily Prepent series here.