The CCM Mussar Journey
Signing up for Mussar requires a commitment to holistic, experiential learning. Body, emotions, intellect and soul are all equally involved.
In some ways, Mussar study is like other offerings in adult education; you will learn and gain mastery over significant texts. But in Mussar you are as important as the texts you study. While the reading and discussion of texts provides the theory, your life provides the lab. In effect, your life becomes the text that you will need to study and master.
Mussar study and practice requires a sturdy sense of self, one that is open to growth and change. This requires ongoing accountability (cheshbon) with yourself and others. Mussar study is not to be confused with therapy. In therapy, you work on yourself, healing past hurts; in Mussar, you work on yourself in the present moment, in order to become more available to another person. You should discuss your situation with the Mussar teacher you are considering in order to determine if you are ready for Mussar.
In the first phase of Mussar practice, you will learn to identify when you are protecting yourself or absorbed with your self and you will develop tools to restrain yourself from acting on those impulses when triggered by another person. Over the course of the CCM curriculum, you will progress toward an experience of transformation, as you embrace service of the other as a path to joy and holiness.
The Maharal of Prague created a golem from clay, and this was a great wonder. But how much more wonderful is it to transform a corporeal human being into a mensch!Rabbi Israel Salanter