Rabbi Moshe Gersht believes that “joy is our nature,” and in his new book, “The Three Conditions: How Intention, Joy, and Certainty Will Supercharge Your Life,” he charts his personal transformative spiritual journey to this elevated state. His recipe relies on three conditions for living: embracing intention, certainty, and joy. Along the way he addresses life’s challenges and misconceptions about spirituality.
Gersht’s journey began at 20, after spending seven years in a pop-punk rock band. When a good friend innocently asked him, “How long are you going to play music?” Gersht was rattled. He realized that he didn’t know what “success” would look like, and whether being a musician was his true purpose in life. He left his band and many friendships behind, immersing himself in Torah study for years, emerging as an accomplished teacher.
Yet this, too, failed to fulfill him. Married with children, Gersht felt boxed in, overwhelmed by his responsibilities, and emotionally unsettled. By day he taught students about the God with whom he felt estranged and often came home feeling like a fraud. Food and sleep became a refuge. His emotional and physical health declined.
“The Three Conditions,” Gersht’s third book, lays out the lessons he learned about himself during this time and how he found his true purpose through letting go of fear and tapping into a more authentic, intentional, and confident life. The book discusses many solid psychological concepts, Torah philosophy, and New-Age language about “the higher self.” Below, the author explains some of the book’s main ideas:
Why the three conditions matter: Only two things matter in your life that directly lead to your joyful living: What you believe about your “self” and what you believe about “the universe.” You get to choose what you believe. How are you going to live?
We need “intention” to return to our true selves. This requires us to disconnect from the dramas, the stories we have created about ourselves and the expectations we have of ourselves and what we think others expect of us. “Certainty” is a return to God, believing that there is a cosmic order. Even amidst chaos we can believe that things are good and getting better. We don’t know how it all comes together but we hold on to the lifeline that there’s a plan. “Joy” is the barometer for alignment with intention and certainty. When a person is in tune with love and experiences joy, they open the door for miracles.
If you want to be spiritually connected, returning to self is essential. In the Torah, Abraham wanted to have the deepest experience of connecting to God. But God surprisingly tells him, “Lech lecha,” go to yourself. God was saying, “If you want to find Me, you need to find the truth of who you are.” That’s a profound lesson. We need to ask ourselves: How much of “me” was shaped by others? True freedom isn’t the ability to do what you want; it’s the ability to know and be who you really are.
What happens in front of our eyes is not as important as what’s happening behind them. That’s why changing our thinking changes the way we feel about ourselves and the world.
How we can transform our thinking to be more joyful: What happens in front of our eyes is not as important as what’s happening behind them. That’s why changing our thinking changes the way we feel about ourselves and the world. This involves a practice of noticing. For example, when I experience myself as a happy, loving, joyful individual, I know I’m believing in myself and the world. If I feel broken, resentful, anxious and sad, and it’s not just a passing emotion, I know that I’m out of alignment with my higher self. Integrating intention, joy and certainty will supercharge everything you do with all the energy of your life force: what you say, think, and do. This makes you a co-creator with God and allows you to live with purpose.
On maintaining the three conditions mindset: I often stop at my front door before coming home and say a prayer to release all the negativity I may have picked up throughout the day. I ask to stay connected to my healthy, loving spirit before seeing my wife and children. I can’t tell you how often I have experienced Divine guidance in those moments.
We can begin to doubt ourselves, especially when we start recalling a negative past experience. But we are meant to believe in ourselves, to live with the light of consciousness that we call Emunah, or certainty. That light of consciousness is always shining on the road. If you find yourself afraid, in that darker place, and you’re thinking “I can’t, it’s impossible” you just need to get back on that road. You may be able to do that by thinking about it, or writing it down, or talking to a friend, teacher, or therapist who can reignite that flame. Sometimes you just need to go to sleep.
An idea for how to live in the moment: When we are overly rooted in the past or the future, we fight the blessing of being in the present moment. The present is where we find and make space for the blessings to enter. While the future is uncertain, we can hold space for the idea that things will work out, without understanding how. Allowing yourself to feel good about the life you are living raises your consciousness and brings blessings into this world. When you feel aligned, you don’t have to hope life will go the way you want it to go for you to be happy; it goes the way it goes because you are happy.
On misconceptions about spirituality: Many people assume spirituality has something to do with being disconnected from our reality. This perspective couldn’t be further from the truth. Spirituality is not simply about accessing a higher dimension of life, but seeing and experiencing the depth of life for what it truly already is. The love, joy, and peace you will experience isn’t an escape, but an immersion.
On dealing with this painful time for Jews: Our hearts, minds, and souls are united with those in pain today. We sit in mourning over our collective loss. We are not the beginning. We are not the end. We are the process. May we all be blessed to see the light of a new reality with goodness as its leader, love as its guide, and truth as its nature.
Judy Gruen’s new book, “Bylines and Blessings,” will be published on February 20.