17 Shvat 5782 / Wednesday, January 19, 2022 | Torah Reading: Va'era
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The Hero's Journey    

The Hero's Journey

Just like in learning to master anything – sports, music, learning Torah, personal prayer, relationships, business - you don’t use a single technique to master lasting success...


In order for you to heal your wounds and the wounds of the world you’re going to need practices that facilitate an ongoing transformation of your identity and not a one-shot “technique.” This isn’t emphasized in secular psychotherapy where the emphasis is on learning “techniques.” In most therapies you learn to focus on some situation and say “Gee what technique should I use for this? If the technique results in change you say “great.” If the technique doesn’t work you say “Darn, the technique didn’t work!”


In order for you to make your life into a deep meaningful transformational journey where you find your calling and live your calling you’re going to need daily practices that keep you centered on your goals centered on your resources, centered on Hashem and centered on yourself.


Just like in learning to master anything – sports, music, learning Torah, personal prayer, relationships, business - you don’t use a single technique to master lasting success. You use a set of practices every day to create a journey of mastery.


What are your personal practices? What do you do every day not for your job or even for your family but just for yourself to become a better person? I find that this is an important conversation that I need to have with people. What are the repetitive activities you can do daily that will keep you growing and improving as a person long after our coaching sessions have ended so that the wonderful changes you have experienced don’t simply wither away.


It’s a basic human need to be centered on something, and if we’re not careful to center on something healthy and good it’s all too easy to fall into centering on something that will actually take your center away (pseudo-centering). Addictions are a common form of pseudo-centering. So if you want to live the “hero’s journey” and become the hero that G-d wants you to become you must have a commitment to healthy practices. If you don’t commit to practices, then your G-d given need to pay attention to yourself will be forced upon you by developing psychological problems.


As I mentioned above, addictions are a common way that people attempt to spend time with themselves. A man said of his cigarette smoking, “This is the one thing that I do for myself.” This was his centering practice. It brought him back to himself, but he unfortunately had to give up his center to get there.


A young man came in feeling desperate about his addiction to internet pornography. It was draining all of his energy and making him depressed but if he didn’t do it he felt like he was missing a certain life energy. He felt bad after he did it because he knew it was against the Torah but if he didn’t do it he felt constrained like he was cutting himself off from part of himself which was also a problem for him. His centering practice was viewing pornography but it took him away from his own humanity and his own values. 


By working on emuna both of these people were able to obtain relief from their addictive behaviors but their relief won’t last very long if they don’t continue to practice what they learned on an on-going basis. They need to commit themselves to continuing to practice the emuna-based exercises that they have learned and to make them part of their daily routine. If they’ll practice, not only will they stay free from addictive behavior, but they will look forward to an hour a day of sheer joy and positive connection to G-d and to themselves.


Here’s an excellent practice for you to start using to keep yourself centered in emuna and in yourself:


Exercise for Self-Care and Healing Using Ongoing Awareness (Emuna Mindfulness)


1. Develop a comfortable receptive position


2. Set your positive intention


3. Repeat the following cycle of  3 statements filling in new content each time ( it is important to non-judgmentally note, accept and allow each thing that you see, hear and feel to flow naturally through you)


4. Now I am aware that I see   _________________.


5.Now I am aware that I hear _________________.


6. Now I am aware that I feel  _________________.


Next cycle of 3 statements (use new content)


1. Now I am aware that I can see ________________, please Hashem allow it to take me deeper into myself and deeper into You (breath and relax).


2. Now I am aware that I can hear _______________, please Hashem, allow it to take me deeper into myself and deeper into You (breath and relax).


3. Now I am aware that I can feel ________________, please Hashem, allow it to take me deeper into myself and deeper into You (breath and relax).


* Repeat the last three steps with new content

* Sense yourself doing this in the future

* Express gratitude to Hashem and yourself

* Vow to continue your practice



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