Wednesday, May 07, 2014

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Eye of the Infinite- Making Contact with the Higher Mind

by Reb Aharon Rubin from Eye to the Infinite

Is it while the body and conscious mind sleep that the Higher Mind makes con­tact or because they sleep? Can the Higher Mind make con­tact because it is un­impeded by egotism, the body or the Yetser HoRo that normally impede the Neshomoh? Might meditation then be another way to be­gin a much deeper process, a state of mind re­sulting in interaction or communica­tion with G-d? R. Kalonymus Kalman Shapira (1889–1943), Chassidic leader and innovative scholar of the last cen­tury, thought it might be. In a private interview with two of his disciples, the great Rabbi taught:[1]

“The yeishus (materialism and egotism) of a person prevents hashro’oh (the resting and revealing of the Di­vine Spirit, or the individual soul, to the person). When a person is fully cogni­zant [and his ego in full operation], it is dif­fi­cult for the higher “Light” to rest upon him. However, when a per­son sleeps and his thoughts are still, then it is possi­ble that a light from above can rest upon him [i.e. he can have a spiritual revelation].”

“This is the secret of [the sages’ adage] ‘Dreams are one sixti­eth of prophecy.’[2] When a person sleeps, he cannot ‘want’ some­thing: he’s asleep! [Thus, the Divine can rest on him.] Our aim is to arrive at this ‘sleep’ state [even] while a person is awake and able to ‘want’. This is done by quietening the thoughts and de­sires that endlessly flood the mind.”

Here the Rabbi gave methods as to how to quieten one’s thoughts.

“A person should pay attention to his thoughts for a few mo­ments. In other words, he should say to himself, ‘What am I thinking?’ He will then begin to notice that his mind is slowly emptying and his thoughts are stopping their usual tor­rent.[3] He should then start to say [i.e. repeat] one verse, for ex­ample, ‘The L-rd G-d is true,’ to bind his atten­tion, now free of other thoughts, to this one holy thought.”

“Afterwards, he can start asking [G-d to provide] what he needs, or whatever characteristic he feels needs improving, [or] strength­en his trust [in G-d], or fear and love [of G-d]. For example, he can start say­ing, ‘I believe that G-d is the only Reality in the world’. ‘There is nothing besides Him in the entire universe and every­thing that is in the world is only G-d’s Light,’ or ‘I want to be very close to the Holy Creator, I want to feel close to the Great Creator.’ He should not speak forcefully, be­cause we are looking to quieten the thoughts: by speaking forcefully, he might ‘awaken’ his ego. On the con­trary, he should speak very softly. With this method, he will be able to correct all his character short­com­ings.”

“This should not be done in a negative fashion but in a posi­tive fashion; [he should speak about] the opposite of the bad char­acter­istic. For example, someone stricken with laziness should not speak about getting away from laziness but should rather about acquiring alac­rity; just like speaking to a small child: telling it not to cry, will only make it cry all the more.”

By imitating sleep through qui­etening your mind and letting go of yourself, you make contact with the inner mind. The inner mind is straightforward and unsophisticated. You should thus speak with it as you would to a child, posi­tively, simply and clearly, with un­complicated sentences. In such a state, you may merit a higher spiritual in­flux, simply because of the absence of ego. Prayer is an example of this. By saying the words of prayer softly and suc­cinctly, you affect great spiritual and moral changes within yourself. (This is further ex­plored in Section Four.)


[1] Letters by R. Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, pub­lished posthumously at the end of Derech HaMelech.

[2] Brochoth 7b. See also Midrash Rabboh, Bereishis 17:5.

[3] This is an ancient Kabbalistic technique called habottoh, meaning, “looking”; a process of silently watching one’s thoughts as they arise, which causes a gradual emptying of these thoughts.

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