all have the opportunity to reach great heights of spiritual perception
and understanding. There are an infinite number of levels that a person can
achieve in this world and the next; so here's some rocket fuel to launch your week in the best possible way!
Emuna adds common sense to your intellect. Today, I'll talk about how simple common sense can remove all of your worry and sadness and empower you to reach for your shining star!
G-d Willing we'll be broadcasting today's lesson live from the Chut Shel Chesed Yeshiva in Jerusalem at 5:00 PM Israel time.
The broadcast, as well as my lessons posted are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in as follows:
7:00 AM in LA and the West Coast, 8:00 AM Denver, 9:00 AM Mexico and Central Daylight, 10 AM EDT, 3 PM in the UK, 5:00 PM Johannesburg and Capetown, 5:00 PM Israel. G-d willing, we'll try and post a link to the lesson for all those who couldn't see it live by 12:o1 AM Monday (Israel time).
David Dome plays the kind of music I love. He writes and sings about emuna - simple faith in G-d. David's a rising star, in Jewish music - his songs are inspiring many people to return to Hashem. Inspired by the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush, David's music is clean sweet and melodious with a sincerity that softens hearts and inspires people to return to a more authentic life of faith..
This beautiful song is one of my personal favorites. I promise you, if you listen to it every morning David Dome will have you "breathing each breath and taking each step" with emuna all day long! Thank you, David!
Bye the way, if you'd like to be friends on facebook don't be shy. All you've got to do is request it here!
Living in the moment is essential for success in literally everything. It is an essential tool that we teach in emuna coaching for people who want greater authenticity in their relationships and want to connect to Hashem in Truth. Try really being present for the ones you love this Shabbos. They will be sure to feel the difference. So will you!
Today is the last day of Succos - Hoshana Raba. On this day we can still positively influence our "verdict" for the year. The best way to win this fight is with simple humility and commitment to be upright individuals who will be loyal to the values that G-d wants us to live by.
Today we put aside the three more beautiful and fragrant of the four species and focus exclusively on the willow. This is because the willow represents the common person. As Rav Kook said: "The lowly willow represents the common folk, unlearned and unexceptional in good deeds. Yet, these 'willows' are blessed with an abundance of common sense and are unencumbered with sophisticated calculations; and they have fulfilled important roles in the history of the Jewish people...The custom to hit the floor with the willow is not to punish the willow, as is often thought (for not studying enough Torah). It is rather to show that the willow is also a force to be reckoned with - a natural, healthy power that is part of the arsenal of the Jewish people. We don't strike the willow. We strike with the willow."
Here's the question that's gnawed at me for most of my life.
What, if anything, would make me happy?
I became a psychotherapist in the hope of finding the answer to this question.
As part of my training I was required to undergo a full classical Freudian psychoanalysis. I lied on the couch 4 times a week and free associated to an analyst who I never saw. She sat behind me for almost nine years. During that time, if I wanted to make emotional contact with her, I wasn't allowed to turn around. Through her abstention from being a person, my analyst became a blank screen. At times, my unconscious fantasies turned my analyst into a withholding childhood mother, a punitive father, or even an omnipotent G-d-like figure. As my childhood conflicts emerged, I gained incredible insights into myself and my dealings with people. Unfortunately, despite a plethora of insight, after nine years I can't say that I was any happier than when I began.
Then I started banging on pillows with baseball bats and tennis rackets in an effort to release my
pent up aggression and hurt feelings. The primal scream therapist prompted me to scream at the top of my lungs. This procedure helped me to feel like a new person for about two days.
In cognitive behavioral therapy I focused on trying to make all of my thoughts positive. "I'm a happy person..I'm a happy person...I'm a happy person!" The problem with that was that I was forcing myself to be positive but my internal state had not changed. I soon saw that I could not just by-pass my internal mood I needed to deal with it.
Next I became fascinated with hypnosis. I was sure that with the aid of hypnosis I would be able to go deeper into my mind and uproot the mess in my unconscious mind. The problem with positive thinking had been that it did not deal with the skeletons that were hiding deeper down in my unconscious closet. So I hoped that by re-programming my unconscious mind with positive hypnotic suggestions that this would make me happy.
Unfortunately it turned out that even my unconscious mind had a mind of its own. My unconscious mind stubbornly refused to accept even pleasant hypnotic suggestions for more than a few days - after that my body seemed to reject them as if they were foreign bodies.
It was around this time that I discovered the fascinating world of Ericksonian hypnosis. My Ericksonian hypnotherapist said that traditional hypnosis had not helped me because my unconscious was not some passive entity that could be bombarded by ideas however positive - he said that my unconscious demanded more respect than this. I was told that my unconscious mind had amazing untapped resources that could be used to find creative solutions to my problems. This sounded great. I couldn't wait to start. It was truly empowering to be told that I was smarter and more resourceful than I knew I was in my unconscious mind. This was by far the most compelling psychological theory yet. If I could learn to trust my unconscious then everything would be okay.
The problem was that although I could now access more of my unconscious creativity, still my unconscious didn't always know what to do when I was in severe conflict. Whenever the stress mounted I gravitated back to my core conflicts.
So I decided to give psychoanalysis another try but this time the interpersonal school of psychoanalysis. Instead of the emphasis on picking apart the inner workings of my mind I would now hopefully be cured through the corrective emotional experience of a "therapeutic relationship." The idea was that I had never had a healthy relationship before and having one with someone who had earned a degree in psychology would be my ticket to personal growth and salvation.
Determined to cure my neurosis I tried a family therapist. He sat with me on the couch and together we drew my family genogram - a pictorial view of my family tree. He showed me how I am reliving the life of one of my ancestors who lived three generations ago. The theory is that there was some "unfinished business" in that person's life that I am trying to complete in a maladjusted way. All of these therapies were really interesting intellectually. But no - family therapy didn't do it for me either.
Then came gestalt therapy. I was put in a chair and was "helped' to resolve my relationship with mom by speaking to her in empty chair across front of me.
Need I say more?
In primal scream therapy I was taken into a sound proof room and told to scream at the top of my lungs. All that I got from this was a sore throat.
In paradoxical psychotherapy I was told that all of my worries and concerns about myself were absolutely true (a form of reverse psychology). I was in fact a depressed narcissist with competitive and emotionally dependant traits.
The theory behind paradoxical therapy was that my problems were rooted in repressed rage. The therapist continued to provoked me in the hope that I would break through my inhibitions and lash out at him.
I couldn't really take the paradoxical approach seriously. It was easy to see through the therapist's ploys - especially since I had read about this technique in graduate school.
After all this, I expressed my misgivings about traditional therapy to a clinical supervisor telling her that I was feeling drawn towards spirituality. My supervisior told me that if I abandoned psychotherapy for spirituality I would be acting out my wish to claim an oedipal victory. I was looking for a vindictive triumph over my mom who was a psychoanalyst.
That was the last straw.
I am writing this in the hope that I can save you the enormous outlay of time, money and emotional turmoil that almost 40 years of aimless wandering through the wasteland of secular psychotherapies has cost me.