Soul Maps

Kabbalah to Navigate Your Inner World  



7:30 - 9:00 PM 

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Our upcoming course, Soul Maps, introduces you to the Tanya, a 200-year-old text with a revolutionary new look at human psychology. It provides Kabbalah-based tools to help you understand yourself.

Until the publication of Tanya, the Kabbalah was an esoteric discipline that was studied and understood by only a select few. Tanya, however, sought to make the teachings of Kabbalah practical, relevant, and accessible. Its numerous reprints attest to its success in achieving this goal.

A precursor of the modern self-help genre, Rabbi Shneur Zalman authored Tanya as a substitute for his personal mentorship. If you attend this course, you will experience six virtual sessions of spiritual counseling from a master of Kabbalah and the nature of the soul. You will come to understand the source of guilt, conflict, and confusion, and find useful strategies for developing joy, purpose, and direction in everyday life.




Course Rationale

Lesson One

The course begins with an analysis of our inherent ambivalence. On the one hand, we are idealistic and transcendent beings, and on the other hand, we are flawed and self-centered. How can one individual possess such opposing values and emotions? Which ones represent the “real” person? In order to assess and contextualize these conflicting instincts, one must first outline the internal mechanisms from which such drives originate. Lesson One introduces the book of Tanya, presenting its key terms as well as laying the groundwork for its philosophy.

Lesson Two

The intellectual framework of the first lesson casts light on a new paradigm of exploring the psyche, yet it does not begin to account for how to bridge the gap between the realms of intellect and emotion. A person may strongly feel one desire while habitually acting in a completely opposite manner. Lesson Two describes various ways in which one’s internal world may intersect with one’s external actions, and describes the ultimate goal attainable to the average person.

Lesson Three

Although many maladaptive patterns can be described purely in behavioral terms, and can be controlled by a commitment to behavioral change, there is a great risk of losing resolve if one cannot generate sufficient internal motivation to continue with what is ultimately a difficult struggle. The third lesson considers the long-term vision of aligning reason and emotion, and lays out two methods to be used, concurrently, for achieving this goal.

Lesson Four

Despite this masterful plan for achieving self-control, there are often inevitable, unexpected complications in day-to-day existence that can drain energy from the commitment to change. Even the most dedicated individual, when faced with difficulties of either a material or spiritual nature, may become despondent and abandon a program of self-betterment. Rabbi Shneur Zalman provides a spiritual perspective that allows people to deal gracefully with life’s stressors, while maintaining a positive, productive outlook.

Lesson Five

Rabbi Shneur Zalman recognizes that a powerful motivation, for sustained effort at change, is the recognition that one’s actions matter and have cosmic purpose. In this lesson, Rabbi Shne’ur Zalman contextualizes the struggle of the individual, within the larger framework of the person’s relationship to the universe at large. He emphasizes that individuals do matter, and though they may be indelibly plagued by failings and imperfections, even imperfect people can make meaningful contributions toward creating a perfect world. 

Lesson Six 

Most of Tanya focuses on the process of gaining control over external actions and behavior, despite internal ambivalence or struggle. To that end, earlier lessons consider how feeling and motivation might be developed. Yet, deep internal change — although a slower and more challenging project — is inherently valuable for its own sake. This lesson provides some meditations and exercises that can, over time, allow the individual to engage in essential change, reaching a greater state of spiritual sensitivity and personal enlightenment.