The key to gaining the sensitivity to G‑d's role in all of the details of your life is – trite as it may sound – to simply be in the moment. It's easier said than done. To be in the moment, you can't recede into the comfort of your own little reality. You have to be brave, and stay in G‑d's reality. This is what Twelve-Step Programs often call: "Accepting life on life's terms." How many spiritual experiences have we ignored by being self-absorbed and insensitive to the perfect job G‑d is doing for us every second? As it says in Psalm 118, "This is the day that G‑d has made. Celebrate and rejoice in it."

The Chassidic approach to applying mystical awareness for practical growth emphasizes the importance of “pnimiyut.” Literally, pnimiyut means "inwardness." It does not mean introspection, as the translation may imply; but it refers instead to inwardness as opposed to superficiality. The superficial person is one who fragments his personality into many different contradictory facets, who is internally inconsistent, or whose behavior is insincere due to a lack of inner feeling and depth.

Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber, the fifth Rebbe of Lubavitch, lived in White Russia and was a leader and a teacher during the turn of the Twentieth Century. He was once conducting a gathering of his disciples and followers where he discussed deep mystical concepts for hours. The high point of the gathering was when the Rebbe would deliver a formal discourse prepared especially for the event. It is customary that in order to prepare for the revelation of a new and profound teaching, the crowd sings a special melody to prime themselves for the discourse. At this particular gathering, the yeshiva students were eager to hear the Rebbe's teachings and began speeding up the song. The Rebbe admonished the young men for their display of honest and well-meaning enthusiasm. The entire point of absorbing Chassidic teachings, he explained, is to develop the trait of pnimiyut — to be genuine to the core, and to put one's entire self into the moment.

Why does it take such a radical shift in thinking in order to enable a person to live in the moment? Well, for one, being in the moment has some scary consequences. It means that you open yourself up to something outside of yourself beyond your control; namely, life. In order to avoid being hurt or feeling too much, we've learned to seek self-stimulation that can draw us deep into ourselves and protect us from having to feel too much about things we can't control. Whether our addiction is drugs, alcohol, eating, inappropriate physical intimacy, staying late at the office or wasting hours mindlessly surfing the net, it's all the same. It stems from a fear of vulnerability to life and an obsessive need for control. Simply put, every addiction is an addiction to self.

To achieve recovery from an addiction is to accept that life is not under one's control. Indeed, many 12-step meetings open with the Serenity Prayer. "G‑d, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." This acceptance requires not just coming to terms with one's own powerlessness, but also, coming to trust in G‑d's complete providence. I don't control the world. But G‑d does, and the world is under perfect control, G‑d's control. It's okay for things to be as G‑d wants them, not how I want them; and I don't need to escape. When someone in recovery arrives at this kind of faith, he is able to live in a way that most "regular" people never dare – living in the moment with complete vulnerability to G‑d’s will.

When recovering addicts speak about taking sobriety "one day at a time," it's not just a survival skill for breaking up time into manageable chunks. It is a statement that you are not afraid to live in the moment and the full range of life's experiences it brings. Being truly alive demands a certain type of bravery. But by exposing yourself to reality in this way, you are truly exposing yourself and being vulnerable to G‑d. Your life truly becomes an ongoing intimately personal relationship with G‑d.

Another way of describing this trait is the knack for "Respecting the Process," and being committed to the fact that, as the saying goes, "Time Takes Time." Have you ever microwaved a potato? How is it? It's okay, right? But it's not quite the same as a regular baked potato. There's something funny about it. The skin doesn't get crispy. There's no crunch when you cut into it. It doesn't taste the same in your mouth.

The difference between the microwaved potato and the good old-fashioned kind is the difference between artificially rushing the process, and actually going through it. In our culture of instant gratification, we are so focused on getting to the payoff that we don't even know what it's like to enjoy the process. Our motto is: Hurry up and get to the good part; and our prayer: “G‑d, give me patience, and give it to me now!!”

I remember once eating a meal with my grandfather and, upon finishing, telling him, "I'm done."

"YOU are finished. A CAKE is done," he said.

By artificially accelerating through life and skipping to the payoffs, we may be "finished," but we definitely are not "done."