The Course in Jewish healing March 2011
A quick tour through The Four Worlds of Jewish Mysticism
|The World of Action||The World of Formation||The World of Creation||The World of Emanation|
Healing derives from within, not from others or outside sources. Your physician, your psychotherapist cannot really know what you feel inside; only you know. That is why you must become responsible for your own healing. Health care professionals can only inform and guide you, but you must make the ultimate choices as to how your healing will proceed. You have to work at your own pace, at your own level, rather than having anyone tell you what you should be doing or where you should be. Healing takes place in life, not in a health care professional's office. Your own daily life experiences are your best teachers, only if you pay attention to what each momentary occurrence is trying to tell you.
Jewish healing can assist in the effectiveness of professional medical or psychological treatment. Many doctors today recognize the efficacy of alternative medicine, the combination of holistic therapies combined with standard medical or psychological procedures.
From "A Framework for Jewish Healing" the notion of psychoneuroimmunology, a relatively new field of medicine that claims the mind provides numerous healing benefits for the body, may have become evident. Spirituality begins in the mind through the power of the imagination and from there filters its way deep into the spiritual dimension. Spirit can be compared to the operating system of your computer; it's responsible for running all the software. Like the computer, we too are programmed to function physically, emotionally and mentally; if there are glitches in our software, some of the programs may not run so well.
One of the principal causes of human software malfunction is stress. A certain amount of stress is beneficial; it keeps us on our toes. But an over abundance causes the "fight or flight" response to kick in and places many bodily functions in overdrive. Chemical changes occur that create imbalances in our psychophysical makeup which lays the groundwork for illness. Jewish healing attempts to bring spirit into our lives to untie the knots that bind us.
of Jewish Mysticism
The Zohar, the authoritative text of Jewish mysticism teaches the concept of universes or worlds which contains the fundamentals of Jewish healing. These worlds, which are nothing more than shades of energy that span the boundaries between heaven and earth, have been understood by ancient civilizations since the dawn of mankind. The Jewish worlds were limited to four--other cultures ascribe other numbers--and these correspond to the ancient natural elements of earth, water, fire and air. In Judaism they are the Worlds of Assiah (action), Beriah (formation), Yetsirah (creation) and Atzilut (emanation). These four also relate to the yod, heh, vav, heh; God's ineffable name.
Each session of our healing journey will take us through each of the four worlds. The element of earth relates to the body and its sensations; water pertains to every facet of our emotions and relationships. Fire is the energy of the mind, like those electrical impulses that go whizzing around inside our brain; and air, with its delicate, vaporous characteristics brings to mind our spiritual nature.
Our definition of health assumes that each of the four elements needs to be in balance with one another. Either excess or a deficiency of any one of the four contains the cause of illness. In other words, a disease state is an imbalance of the body/mind continuum, otherwise known as the four worlds.
In order to heal your emotions, it is necessary to understand them. Emotions are sensations we feel in our bodies. The next time you become emotionally upset about something, take a few moments for time out and notice precisely what's happening. You'll soon find that you're experiencing tension or pressure somewhere in your body. One way to deal the the feeling is to practice breathing deeply into the feeling until it subsides. What we call emotional pain is merely the depressing thought that the feeling or the cause of the pain will never go away; it's a thought. Another way to deal with painful emotions is to talk about them to a trusted, non-judgmental listening friend or therapist. You will find relief when you express your emotions as feelings and not as thoughts. If for, example, if you found out that a friend said something hurtful behind your back, you might report it by saying, "Sarah said something that really upset me"; that's a thought. if, however you said, "What Sarah said made me feel unworthy", you're reporting the feeling of unworthiness. Browse through this list of feeling words to become acquainted with some of them. The list is not complete but it could give you an idea of how to substitute feeling words for thoughts.
A Journey Through Four Worlds
In no way should the exercises or ideas expressed on these pages be a substitute for proper medical or
This month we continue
work on the Four Worlds. It is not necessary to start at the beginning;
anywhere that's most comfortable, doing any one or all of the exercises in each World.
When working on any of the Worlds, it is important to try to keep your body as relaxed as possible and
breathe deeply. It could also be helpful to keep your eyes closed. We suggest you print out these pages to
work from. Some people prefer to record the exercises on a tape recorder, so your own voice provides the
necessary guidance. Healing work takes place on all levels concurrently. Remember God is the healer; we are his
partners in the process. It is our own responsibility to do the necessary work.
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This exercise and those to follow in future months are designed to bring renewed awareness to the body. In
the process of growing up we lost much of the sensitivity of our bodies. As infants we relied heavily of
physical sensations, like wet, hungry or uncomfortable. The years of intellectual education has brought our
focus into our minds--we learned to think matters through--while leaving the sensations of the body behind.
The body is our source of spiritual and healing wisdom. Getting in touch with our bodies brings up clues to
what's gone wrong, physically or emotionally. Our emotions, for example, are actually feelings--sensations
we experience somewhere in our bodies. Spiritually our bodies live in the present moment where we are
most capable of encountering God, our source of healing energy.
of your body means having your attention fully in your body
that mind and body
- Being aware of your body quiets your mind and reawakens your senses. As you become more and
more aware, your self-confidence grows.
- With greater awareness of the body, you can learn to take more responsibility for your own well
The body talks; its message is how you really are, not how you think you are.
Posture: do you stand up for yourself? Some people carry the burden of the world on their shoulders. Others are so poorly balanced that they can't stand on their own two feet. There are some people who lack support and are push-overs. Many in our culture reach forward from the neck because they are anxious to get a-head. Others hold their necks tight, afraid to lose their head. Look around you at the poker faced and the hard headed.
There are people who are tight, hold back, non-giving, tight wads. If the muscles of the back are too weak, you don't have any backbone. Stable bodies have their feet on the ground. Those who don't experience their bodies are very often unrealistic; their heads are in the clouds. Others don't breathe because they're scared to death.
Stoics keep a stiff
upper lip; unhappy people are down in the mouth. Body language is
literal. To be
depressed, is, in fact to press against yourself. To be closed off is
hold your muscles rigid against the world. Being open is being soft.
is being uptight, cold separate, giving yourself and other people a
time. Softness is synonymous with pleasure, warmth, flow, being alive.
Are you itching to get at someone? Is your boss a pain in the neck? Are you sore about something? What is your aching back trying to tell you? Is there someone on your back? What about your ulcer? Is there someone or something you can't stomach? What is it you would like to get off your chest?
Your body speaks to you all the time, telling you what your own needs are: Listen here.
Brachah for healing the body: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.
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This month we explore beliefs. Negative beliefs trigger negative feelings. If your belief system is in conflict with reality, you are bound to react with painful emotions. Beliefs are ideas that we have learned in growing up, but it is possible to exchange old, useless ideas with ones that are more in touch with reality. These are a few examples of beliefs that prevent us from living life fully.
|I don't know how to deal with difficulty||It'll never work||I always get a raw deal|
|What I can't control won't work out right||I knew this would happen||What I can't control won't work out|
|I'm not good enough||I'm not worthy||I am helpless|
|I don't know how to trust||It's all my parent's fault||I don't accept myself|
|The world is a corrupt place||I'm all alone in my life||Everyone's out to get me|
How many of these beliefs do you hold? Make up a similar list of your own beliefs.
Learning more about yourself is an important step in the process of healing. Through deep personal introspection, you can begin to recognize behavior patterns in your life that may be inappropriate which may prevent you from living your life fully. You can discover areas in your life that needs change? It may be helpful to keep a journal of your responses to these questions and those that will appear in future months.
This month we explore your belief system. Before you begin, take a long deep breath and let it out slowly. Allow your breathing to become full, deep, and relaxed.
1. What do I believe about work?
2. What do I believe about friendships with people of the same sex? Of the opposite sex?
3. What do I believe about people in general?
4. What do I believe about intimate relationships?
5. What beliefs do I hold about controlling other people?
6. What are my attitudes towards success and failure?
7. What opinions to I hold about sex and sexuality?
8. How do I feel about money?
9. What beliefs do I hold about myself?
10. Do you think there is something about your beliefs that needs to be changed?
Review these questions again and note which answers create some negative feeling in your body. The ones that create the sensation are probably the ones that need to be changed. You can make the changes by sitting with the feeling a few minutes, breathing deeply and repeat the difficult questions as often as you feel necessary. In time the negative feelings will subside and the belief will no longer have hold on you.
Brachah for healing the emotions: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe who gives strength to the weary.
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Light is a very effective means to heal physical ailments. Before you begin, there are two preparatory aspects you need to keep in mind. The first is to activate your source of healing power and the second is to is to determine whether the ailment feels hot or cold to you. This doesn't have to be a clear mental decision, a vague impression will do fine. Create a relaxed atmosphere for yourself before beginning any visualization whether for relief from mental or physical ailments.
Find your source of healing energy. God is the Jewish source of healing energy, but it's difficult, if not impossible, to visualize an inexpressible, transcendent God. We could however devise a symbolic image to serve our purposes. Images such as a brilliant light, a laser beam, a golden shimmering ball, a fully lit menorah or even a wise old counselor, could work well. It is important as a first step to design an image of healing energy that feels right to you.
Focus your attention way above the top of your head, out into the heavens, and get in touch with your source of healing energy flowing down toward you.
Allow yourself to experience this healing energy flowing all around you and through you, filling your body with its radiance. With each breath you inhale this light. As it fills and surrounds you, it gently permeates your entire being and joins the river of life energy already flowing through your body.
1. Focus your attention on the area of your body that needs healing. Breathe deeply and let go.
2. Allow yourself to feel and image the white light energy gently circulating throughout this area of your body. Light energy is the energy of Creation, reminding your body of its power to create healing and new life.
3. Watch your blood circulation cleansing your tissues as it removes toxins and unwanted cells.
4. See and feel your bright red blood bringing new oxygen and nourishment to your tissues and bones.
5. Feel and visualize your nerves beginning to balance, relax and send messages of healing throughout your body. Breathe.
6. Allow your body to harmonize all its healing energies while strengthening your immune system, muscles, nerves, organs and bones.
7. See and feel this area of your body healing
8. See and feel yourself in a complete state of healing.
9. See your body and your whole being as healed, joyous and radiant with light.
10. See yourself doing all the things you love to do and have always wanted to do.
11. Feel yourself radiant with healing energy and light, love and joy.
12. Experience your
as healthy and whole.
through the mind: Blessed are You, Lord our God,
the Universe who gives the heart
understanding to distinguish between day and night.
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1. Faith is the essential requirement to actualize the healing work that you have done so far. At times it is
more meaningful to have faith that your connection to spirit can effect your healing, more than the healing
work itself. It's not often easy, particularly at times at times of unsettling news, to believe in the awesome
healing possibilities of God, but it can start in small ways. We can start with trust, a quality a little more
down-to-earth. Consider some of the ways we put trust in our everyday affairs--depositing money in the
bank or buying food that's fresh from the market. Once you compile such a list, consider what it would take
to put trust in God's healing abilities. Belief in God's fervent desire to bestow good on mankind is probably
the most effective healing tool of all.
2. Another means to
invoke the healing powers of the spiritual dimension is to recite
healing psalms. The
celebrated Hasidic master, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810) isolated ten particular psalms as
healing psalms. These songs, better known as Tikkun HaKlali, the complete remedy, are considered to
have special power for healing the body, mind and spirit.
The following is the forty second psalm, the fourth psalm of the complete remedy. The suggested method to
extract the most value from psalms is to read one daily for a month, and during each successive reading
attempt to find new and personal meaning in the words and the verses.
1. To the chief musician, , an instruction to the sons of Korach.
2. As the hart cries out in thirst for the springs of water, so does my soul cry out in thirst for you, O God.
3. My soul thirsts for God, for the living Almighty, when will I come and appear before God?
4. My tear has been my bread day and night, while they say to me all the day, "Where is your God"?
5. These do I remember and pour out my soul within me, how I passed on with the throng and led them slowly up to the House of God, with loud rejoicing and thanksgiving, a multitude gathering for a holiday.
6. Why are you downcast, my soul? and why do you yearn for me? Hope in God for I will yet thank Him for deliverance [that will come from] His countenance.
7. My God, my soul is cast down with me; therefore do I remember You from the land of the Jordan, and Hermon's peaks, from the young mountain [Sinai].
8. Deep calls to deep to the commotion of Your canals; all Your billows and Your waves have gone over me.
9. By day, Adonai will command His kindness, and in the night His resting place will be with me; [my] prayer to the Almighty of my life.
10. I will say to the Almighty, my Rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go about mourning under the oppression of my enemy"?
11. Like a sword in my bones are the taunts of my adversaries, by saying to me all the day, "Where is your God?"
12. Why are you downcast, my soul? and why do you yearn for me? Hope in God for I will yet thank Him for he is my deliverance in the light of my countenance, and my God.
3. Take on the Mitzvah
of tz'dakah in your life. Tz'dakah is generally taken to mean giving
The word actually is translated as righteousness, not charity. It suggests that we give something or be of
service to others, not necessarily money. For your healing welfare, try to find a project where you can give
to others. It might include visiting the sick regularly, visiting the elderly and the shut-ins, teaching a skill to
someone less accomplished than yourself, listening intensely to anyone who has a burdensome story to
tell. There are unlimited possibilities for giving tz'dakah; if you can't find any, than just give money.
of spirit: My God, the soul you have placed in me is
You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed
it into me, You safeguard it within me, and eventually You will take it from me, and restore it to me in Time to Come. As long
as the soul is within me, I gratefully thank you, HASHEM, my God and the God of my forefathers, Master of all works, Lord of
all souls. Blessed are You, Lord our God, who restores souls to the dead.
Remember healing is an
on-going process of taking care of yourself. Have patience, courage and
and you will prevail. You can start the Course in Jewish Healing at any time. If you have not read,
Groundwork for Jewish Healing, or any of the previous issues of this series, we suggest emailing us for a copy before
you begin the work. The back issues contain material which provide background material to this months Journey Through Four Worlds