Apropos of making available my translation of Hitbodedut Meditation by Rabbi Avraham, son of the Rambam, it would be valuable to analyze people's actual practice of hitbodedut a la Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. It would make a wonderful graduate study.
Some sample questions could be:
The details of people's hitbodedut: How many times a week? How long each time? How many times a day? The place. The time. The nature of the hitbodedut: speaking, singing, screaming, crying, dancing, clapping. How long has one been doing it? How many women and how many men do hitbodedut?
What has the person prayed for? Has he [or she, and so for the rest of the text] prayed for things and gotten them, or prayed for things and not gotten them?
And then, the more interesting questions. How has it affected a person's life? Has it made him more spiritual? Has it made him closer to God? Has it made him more intelligent? Has it improved his character traits: is he less angry, more kind, a better parent?
Conversely, has he seen any negative effects: If he has prayed and not received what he wanted, has he grown bitter? Has the fact that he does hitbodedut made him feel better than others? Has it created or exacerbated personal, spiritual or character problems?
How has the experience of hitbodedut changed over the years?
What has his purpose been in doing hitbodedut? Has hitbodedut done what he expected it to do or more, or less?
How does his hitbodedut experience compare with other forms of spiritual work, whether Jewish or non-Jewish?
I would be very interested to hear about people's experiences and perhaps share them with others (of course preserving confidences when requested). You can click "contact me" at the right of this blog post to get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you.