How does one build bitachon? I am learning about the teachings of the Altar of Novardok ztzl and I think he says one should build it either quickly or small steps at a time depending on the person’s constitution. What are practical examples of building bitachon slowly according to his teachings?
It is excellent that you want to grow and strengthen your bitchon. It is important to remember that there are two schools of thought regarding bitachon. One is bitachon without hishtadlus, which is the way they did it in Novorhodok (not for most people nowadays). The other way is bitachon with hishtadlus, with the level of hishtadlus depending on the level of the person. Meaning that the more bitachon the person has, the less hishtadlus he feels he needs to do, because after that he relies that Hashem will take care of it already. Therefore, a person on a higher level has to do less, because he now relies that Hashem will take care now that he has done his hishtadlus. However, a person on a lower level will still be nervous with the small amount of hishtadlus that was done, therefore he has to do more. Some practical examples, are how many people real estate agents are you going to call, when you are looking for an apartment, how ant shadchanim are you going to call for a shidduch. The way to work on bitachon is by thinking (a number of times a day) about how Hashem controls everything. That nothing happens without His wanting it, and when He wants it to happen that is when it will happen, and specifically in the way that he chooses it to happen. Just because a person does hishtadlus, that essentially has nothing to do with the way Hashem wants the issue to get solved, if he indeed wants it to be solved. (See Emuna Ubitachon chap. 2). We do histadlus because this is what Hashem wants us to do, after we have done what we have to, then Hashem will do what He knows is the correct thing to happen. Additionally, when something comes up, to think these thoughts, and work on having a calm, trusting attitude, that whatever Hashem wants is going to happen, and that he is al capable, if he so wants it.
Getting back to your question, if I remember correctly, according to the Novorhodok system, (bitachon without hishtadlus) the way to do it is by forcing yourself into small bitachon situations, i.e. when looking for a parking spot, or when in a deserted place to have bitachon that Hashem will send a taxi to here. However, most gedolim nowadays say that this level of bitachon is not for most people.