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Re-Programming our Subconscious: 2

Re-Programming our Subconscious: 2

The Power of Creative Visualization

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Re-Programming our Subconscious: 2

How do we "transform" our subconscious? How do we circumvent our logical, linear left-brain, and go deeper in order to affect a more sustainable evolution of our consciousness?

As stated in Part 1, repetitive behavior is one way, as habit becomes second-nature. Music, rhythm, chant or repetitive sound and vibration provide another avenue to the seat of the subconscious. And another, highly effective way is through imagery.

In the West we tend to focus on the ‘word’ and on an intellectual, analytic approach to self-transformation — yet much of who we are is informed not by the word, but by the ‘image’. The Kabbalists teach that redemption begins with redeeming our imagination, our power to dream and create holy imagery.

Rabbi Tzadok of Lublin calls the early period of Jewish History, from Abraham until the destruction of the Second Temple, the ‘action’ period. This period was characterized by the bringing of physical offerings as a way of transforming ourselves and absolving misdeeds.

After the Temple period until today, our main modality has been prayer and study — i.e. text, ‘speech’ and words.

The coming Redemption...is connected with the ‘garment’ of ‘thought’...

The coming Redemption, however, is connected with the ‘garment’ of ‘thought’ — image and imagination.

Exile is the alienation of the power of dimayon/‘imagination’. The Seforno writes that fantasy — alienated, ego-centered or false imagination — is the nachash, the ‘snake’. Adam and Chava/Eve were seduced into acting contrary to what they understood to be right or true, because they fell into the quicksand of fantasy and false imagination. They were lured by the snake’s promise to be "like G‑d" and began generating grandiose and arrogant visions of themselves.

The Kabbalists teach that the word for ‘snake’, nachash, has the same gematria or ‘numeric equivalent’ as the word for the ‘Messiah’/Mashiach. This is a hint that the ultimate redemption of imagination requires the transformation of the nachash into the Mashiach — turning false fantasy into holy dimayon or ‘imagination’.

The Kuzari teaches that the definition of a chasid is a person that has complete control over their mind. This includes, among other things, the power to visualize events or occurrences clearly--for example , the Giving of the Torah or the Holy Temple (Kuzari, Ma’amar 3, Ot 5). A tzadik, says Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein, is someone who has the ability to visualize holy things in his mind as vividly as if they are real (Sichas Musar, 26).

You may have a negative, subconscious image of who you are or what your abilities may be, that convinces you that you are incapable of living in a functional and fulfilling manner. This image may hold sway over your psyche even though, on a conscious level, you may indeed ‘know’ that you are capable of actualizing your Higher Self. Such a negative self-image can be addressed using various techniques of visualization and rectified imagination.

Self-transformation is more effective when you can vividly visualize your goal.

If you learn to use your chush ha-tziyur — your sense of imagination’ — consciously and creatively, you can access and affect your self and psyche more deeply and directly than conventional study. Self-transformation is more effective when you can vividly visualize your goal.

Creative Visualization as Taught by the Sages

Rabbi Eliyahu ben Moshe Di Vidas, the great Sixteenth Century moralist and kabbalist, writes in his work Reishis Chochmah that during the daily prayers we should imagine ourselves in The Garden of Eden surrounded by the luminous souls of Tzaddikim or ‘righteous people’. (Shaar ha-Kedushah, Chapter 4). For example, one might imagine oneself praying in the presence of Abraham, Moshe, Miriam, Chana, Rabbi Akiva or the Baal Shem Tov, enveloped and intoxicated by the beauty of Paradise.

Reb Elimelech of Lizensk suggested a very deep practice where one visualizes oneself praying in the ‘Holy Temple’ (No’am Elimelech, Lech Lecha, p. 19). This visualization seems to have been practiced for hundreds of years prior to Reb Elimelech, and there are sources for this practice in both Chassidic and non-Chassidic texts. (Yesod Shoresh ha-Avodah, Shar ha-Korban, p. 82).

The point of this visualization is for one to experience oneself standing in the Temple, or even in the innermost chamber of the Holy of Holies — the most sacred of spaces. This visualization is even deeper than imagining yourself being surrounded by Tzadikim, for here you are the Tzadik — the holiest person in the world.

Indeed, within our deepest ‘inner point’, within our ‘soul- root’, we are all Tzadikim. We are actually in a constant state of unity with the Ohr Ein Sof, the ‘Infinite Light’.

Rabbi Chaim Vital writes that a person should "turn his attention away from all physicality and conjure up an image of himself ascending into the upper (or inner) worlds", and that "he should have an intention to receive the light from the source of his soul, from whence his soul comes" (Shaarei Kedusha, 3:5).

Rabbi Abraham Abulafia speaks about the ‘perfect self’ and the ‘imperfect self’. In reality, we are both. There is a part of us that is always working towards perfection, and there is a part of us that is already, timelessly perfect. Therefore we need to learn, as Rabbi Kalonimus Kalmish of Peasetzna teaches, to imagine ourselves as a true Tzadik and begin to live from that place of perfection (Tzav v’Ziruz, 24, p.340) Or, as the Rebbe Shmuel of Lubavitch teaches, do so for a least 15 minutes a day.

...‘reset’ those unconsciously ingrained patterns...by visualizing goodness...

In simple terms, just as you used to imagine sin and shortcoming, now you can attempt to ‘reset’ those unconsciously ingrained patterns of your imagination by visualizing goodness and fully actualized potential.

[From //IYYUN.com]

Rabbi DovBer Pinson, Rosh Kollel of IYYUN, is a world-renowned scholar, kabbalist, and spiritual teacher. Through his books and lectures he has touched the lives of tens of thousands, and serves as a mentor to many across the globe. He has authored over 30 books, many of which have been translated into multiple languages.
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Tuviah Nyc February 9, 2015

Very much surprised I just finished readingna life-changing book called "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind," and thought this was a way of living and thinking that was fairly contemporary. Now I discover -- to my grear delight-- that thinking posirively, visualiizimg healimg or just about anything else as already taking place has ancient Judaic roots. Now I feel thar doing this kind of practice is kosher... Reply

Lisa Aubert Long Beach, CA August 29, 2012

re-programming Thank you for this article. I really needed this at this time in my life. I' ve been battling with severe negative self imagery, even in my dreams while asleep. I've dealt with this since childhood and had try to overcome it for years. Through this article, I"m having my inmagination redeemed, and taking back the power to dream and create holy imagery as G-d originally attended. Reply

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