One of the common themes of parenting classes is to help parents help their children to understand that there is a difference between their behavior and their essential selves. What that means is that the child can come to understand that it is what they did that needs improvement, but that their relationship and position of love are secure, even if they make a mistake or do something intentionally naughty. This is called unconditional love.
Mostly in the world at large, we see conditional love. Do this and you get that. Don’t do this, and this is what will happen to you. Sometimes, without realizing it, we convey the same message to our children.
What happens internally when a child does not feel unconditionally loved is that the child’s survival instincts take over. And when the child is disciplined, the child is receiving the discipline in fight or flight mode and is not able to learn any constructive lesson. Rather, the child goes deeper with child-like interpretations that become associated with survival. These child-like interpretations make it into the subconscious part of the mind and remain with us. Does this give us a sense of understanding of why sometimes we react with such futility when we, as adults, feel flight or fight responses?
Let’s say we do. What can be done? The imprint is on our very basic nervous system. Even if intellectually we understand this, if we try to just “change our minds”, generally speaking, our fight or flight response remains and is not turned off, meaning that we remain in a state of insecurity, scanning and imagining what we should do. This can keep us up at night and very often, it is totally unproductive as the reaction being triggered may have nothing to do with the event that triggered it. How do we heal?
Recognizing the design of a person and Hashem’s intentions in creating us in such a way is the first step.
Let’s look back to the first ever mistake, when Adom ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Chazal tell us that what the snake tempted Eve with was the dream of being like G-d, of being a Creator just like Hashem. As great as Adom was, he recognized that Hashem was the Master, and he was a creation. This inherent gap left a longing to be like Hashem, to be as kind, as creative, as powerful.
To understand how inborn the longing is, just watch two toddlers fight over a toy. It makes no difference that there are two of the very same toys. They both want the same one. What is the toddler feeling? Jealousy, longing, desire for what looks like it is better. And that is what any created being feels when realizing it is not Hashem and can never be anything but a creation.
That essential lack is the very reason that Hashem creates us as He did. By giving us this type of challenge along with real free will and the creative power of speech, we actually have the power of prayer with which we can cause an effect upon our nature and be like Hashem creating our eternal identity!! Built into the universe is the power of prayer. When the world was formed, it was barren until Adom prayed for rain. With that prayer, rain came forth and the vegetation flourished. Hashem did not leave us here with an unconscious and a subconscious without a real forceful tool to be a creator like Hashem with – Hashem builds into the creation the power of prayer and gives us real free will to use it (or not).
Our role is to make the effort to pray. Yearning to feel Hashem’s love and mercy in our challenging moments when we do not feel Him IS causative. In that moment, we are being “like Hashem,” creating our eternal identity. And for that effort, we create an inoculation to the feeling of lack that we are not Hashem that will help us for all eternity to feel the pleasure of being with Hashem without feeling that we can’t be Hashem. Why? Because while we are alive, we ARE being like Hashem, choosing His Love and Mercy over the natural feelings imprinted in our subsconscious. In other words, our challenges are our opportunity to be like Hashem and re-create ourselves for all eternity, simply through the built in cause and effect force of the power of prayer.
The more we describe all that child-like interpretation that is stored in our subconscious, the more we yearn to instead feel Hashem’s love and mercy instead, the more we are connected to the reality of His Oneness, Whose inner penimius is lovingkindness. By describing the confines in which we find ourselves, we are recognizing that a positive spiritual energy is confined in a covering in our nervous system and that, because we know that the inner penimius of everything is Hashem’s lovingkindness, our causative prayer to feel Hashem’s love and mercy in that positive spiritual energy dynamically asks Hashem to see that it is our will to inter-include love and mercy into it. Inter-including love and mercy into the positive spiritual energy also extracts something from the negative spiritual energy that is trapping it, inter-including the inner penimius of that negativity into the love and mercy and depleting the negativity of its potency so that the dross falls away. The falling away is the effect of the cause – the cause is our yearning to feel Hashem’s love and mercy. In spiritual science, this is how the tohu receives tikkun, how the fallen sparks are repaired and elevated to inclusion with Hashem.
We want to love Hashem and understand the design of the world yearning feel Hashem’s love and mercy so that what will feel natural to us as love and mercy will be revealed in the world through our speech and deeds. The yearningful prayer is the cause. The inter-inclusion into lovingkindness as the inner penimius of everything is the effect that is built into the Creation. It is important to remember that the effect is not being done by us. We identify ourselves by recognizing Hashem, understanding the design of the world, and submitting to His Oneness. These are the steps that are in our control and that keep us close to Hashem. This is closeness to Hashem. The effect is part of His Creation. With the effect also often comes blessing. We did not bring on the blessing. Hashem is the only Bestower of Good.
Thus, how do we go about healing our subconscious? Through the prayerful yearning to feel Hashem’s love and mercy, which we accomplish by hisbodidus and loving Hashem and understanding deeply the design and the knowledge of Hashem Who is the Creator.
In Rabbi Nivin’s Constant G-d Connection chabura, he is teaching this topic in great detail. For more information, contact email@example.com