Jewish Spirituality and Psychotherapy – part 4

The Nachas Ruach approach starts with Jewish meditation. While the meditation often is an end in itself, it can also be the first step toward moving into a more hypnotic place as a way to enhance growth and healing.

The Nachat Ruach meditation includes three stages:

1. Just sitting still and closing one’s eyes
2. Deep breathing
3. Mental focus on the concept of nachas ruach

‘Just sitting still and closing one’s eyes’ is really simple, yet important. It is not only a means to learn how to relax in a natural pleasant way, but also a goal in itself that can help people change, and can even be the first step toward a deeper transformation.

In modern society, we’re constantly “on the go”, being bombarded with external stimuli, including an explosion of media options. We now live in the age of the Internet. A consequence of this situation is that modern man tends to focus primarily outside of himself while losing touch with what is going on inside himself in a basic way.

“Just sitting still” is seen to offer a positive “counter experience” to the powerful impact of negative multimedia influences and the discomfort of just being with oneself.

The Hebrew phrase for “composure” or “calm state of mind” is yishuv Hadaas. The word yishuv comes from the same root as lashevet, “to sit,” and can be understood to mean sitting still as a way of achieving more self-awareness, intellectual clarity, and peace of mind.

In Netivos Shalom, the Slonimer Rebbe, zt’l, writes in his commentary that ‘all the money in the world is not as important as being able to have an hour of yishuv Hadaas.

Closing one’s eyes during meditation allows a person to turn his attention inward rather than being exclusively oriented outward. In Judaism, this can be seen in the traditional closing of the eyes when reciting Shema Yisrael, the “Hear O Israel” prayer.

Rebbe Nachman also stresses: “When you want to understand the ultimate Purpose, which is all good, and unified, you need to close your eyes and guide your inner mind to focus on the Higher Purpose.”

It has been observed for most people that just sitting still and closing their eyes is in itself a new experience that helps them in a natural and pleasant way to begin to gain greater comfort with themselves.

A sample script related to just sitting still and closing one’s eyes follows that will give the reader a chance to taste the experience of meditation. Before beginning the exercise, someone doing it should put their feet flat on the ground and unfold their arms. It is best to sit in a comfortable setting and if possible the lights in the room are dimmed so that a person finds it easier to go more into “inner space” and a more receptive meditative state.

Sample Script

“Just sitting still and closing one’s eyes while sitting in the comfortable soft chair will allow you to drop down into a deeply relaxed and open state within a moment or two…just sitting still…so simple…so pleasant…so possible…so helpful…so healing…also when you come back to a regular waking state…and even more so” your feet are on the floor…today is Monday’.starting to pay attention to the sounds outside the office in the larger world that you are a part of…and more ready and able to cope and grow and flow within the world in a better way…now hearing the sounds of children playing…of birds singing…just sitting still…now…in the place where you are… hearing my voice speaking to you from a place of nachas ruach, words that can and have and will have a positive influence more and more coming from the blessing that our forefather Yaakov Avinu gave to the tribe of Naftali that they would be able to speak words that can help people heal. (Genesis 49:21)

And it really is true that every time you do this meditation/hypnosis it will be easier and natural to drop down into a deeper and deeper state, more and more quickly and you will completely absorb the messages I am communicating to you for your benefit. These will be internalized in your unconscious mind…in the deepest way…like when you imagine a sponge absorbing water completely… and implemented inevitably… And these messages will remain internalized afterwards…when you come back to a regular waking state…b’ezras Hashem.

“Now focus on the sounds inside this office…hear the tictoc of the clock…and begin to pay more and more attention to your heartbeat…and breath… You are already having more and more awareness and appreciation that every heartbeat is really an expression of Hashem’s will that you (say his Hebrew name) be alive this moment….and more awareness that every breath is an expression of Hashem’s love for you as an individual…who has a unique Divine spark…that is your essence.”

Just sitting still, you really are beginning to feel more and more comfortable with yourself…more at ease…having more and more basic security…more and more unconditional self-acceptance…of your mind….body and soul…more and more of a sense of basic well being…nachas ruach….and you will continue to have this sense of well-being more and more also when you leave this office and go back to your regular routine, in the morning…in the afternoon…in the evening…when you’re at home…when you’re at work…and when you are in situations that have been challenging to you until now. (think about something that is relevant to you).

Know that every moment that your eyes have been closed, you have been continuing to accept and internalize and absorb in the deepest way that as a Jew/person created in the Divine Image with a unique Divine Spark, you really do have all the tools to function well in this world with all its tasks’ and cope with life’s challenges (nisyonot) in a healthy way “one day at a time” Be’ezras Hashem.

Now begin to count from 0-10 before coming back to a regular waking state at 10.

0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

Now talk to Hashem for a couple of minutes’ about everything and after counting 9-10 open up your eyes and be ready to have a good day with more clarity and nachas ruach.

Dr Naftali Fish
nachatruach at gmail.com

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The above essay is an excerpt from Nachas Ruach, by Dr. Naftali Fish

Dr. Naftali Fish is a licensed clinical psychologist and hypnotherapist in Israel. After completing a Doctorate at Yeshiva University in 1984 he made Aliyah from Philadelphia with his family, living in Jerusalem. Since this time Dr. Fish has become a leading authority in the treatment of addictions, healing the “inner wounded child” and the enhancement of self-esteem which often underlies clinical issues. In the mid-nineties he founded and administered the first full-time Rehab program designed for Jewish addicts with the support of Rav Dr Abraham Twerski. Based on extensive experience Dr. Fish has developed and implemented the Nachas Ruach Treatment Model, a new and unique Paradigm to facilitate psycho-social and spiritual growth and healing. It utilizes and effectively integrates Torah perspectives and values, “openly bringing Hashem into the room,” within the context of professional Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy. Dr. Fish has a full time private practice and has been teaching various courses in Psychology at Touro College – Israel since1993.

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