Two Techniques to Living Life in a New Light
Recently I began practicing a focused technique to help me shift my thinking. I found it to be effective and shared it with my clients. They’ve responded so enthusiastically, I thought I’d share it with you.
The technique is based both on a verse in Proverbs and a letter written by the Rebbe on how to deal with health challenges – particularly mental health.
In The Method and in working with my clients, one of our most often quoted verses is from King Solomon:
“If there is concern in a person’s heart, let him extinguish it; and turn it into joy with a good word.”
דְּאָגָה בְלֶב אִישׁ יַשְׁחֶנָּה וְדָבָר טוֹב יְשַׂמְּחֶנָּה
The Hebrew word I have translated as “extinguish” is yasichena (יַשְׁחֶנָּה) in the original. It has two meanings:
A truly refreshing, counterintuitive – and EFFECTIVE – way to deal with your problems:
“As for your personal problems, the best advice is that you should try to think as little as possible of your inner problems until you completely dismiss them from your mind. This means not even thinking about their harmful aspects or how to overcome them, but completely disengaging your thoughts from those problems and engaging them in matters of Torah and good deeds. Another good method is to try to be among people as much as possible.”
– From a letter of the Lubavitcher Rebbe written in 5720/1960
If there is concern in a person’s heart, let him extinguish it, and turn it into joy with a good word.
1: The True Self
And yet, in those moments where we can admit a wrong, say sorry, overlook an offense, withstand the pain of having our ego deflated – we access our True Self and discover G-d.
2: You Have to Hit Bottom to Bottom Out
Rabbis Eliezer said, “Just as the bush is the lowliest of all the trees in the world, so too Israel was reduced to the depth of degradation before the Holy One appeared to them and redeemed them.”
We are reduced to our personal bottom before we are redeemed. We wish it could be different. We wish that somehow we’d “choose life” without having to hit bottom. But it doesn’t work that way. The profound truth is that…you won’t change until what you stand to lose by your current behavior is worth more to you than what you stand to gain by keeping it up. And for most of us, we have to be losing a fortune (emotionally, physically, in our relationships) before we become willing to change.
You’ve hit bottom when what you’re losing by your current behavior is worth more to you than what you’re gaining from it.
That is a very personal place. It’s different for each individual. The constant is that we are reduced to our own personal depth of degradation before we can begin to recover.
The good news is that healing and redemption happen right after we bottom out. In the moment of letting go of our power, we discover the delicious freedom of surrender.
3. Fantasy is Free but Growth Has a Price-Tag
Rabbi Jose said, “As the wood of the bush is the toughest of woods, and no bird which enters it emerges unscathed, so the bondage of Egypt was the most severe of human bondage in history.”
Your piece is amazing on so many levels. Trust. I feel I could read it every day for the rest of my life and still find it useful. Thanks!”
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