Return, my wayward children
Today begins the six week period known as "Shovavim", which is an acronym made up of the first letters of the Parshios of these 6 weeks, Shmos, Va'era etc... Shovavim is a very auspicious time for Teshuvah, based on the Pasuk "Shuvu Banim Shovavim - return, my wayward children". Many Sefarim bring down that these weeks are an especially opportune time for doing Teshuva on aveiros in the area of Yesod (Shmiras Habris).
The parshios of the six weeks of Shovavim deal with the enslavement of the Jewish people in Mitzrayim and their subsequent redemption and salvation. Many Sefarim talk about how a man's struggle with his Yetzer hara is symbolized by the enslavement in Mitzrayim and Hashem's ultimate help in redeeming him. The Pesukim in this week's parsha describe the hard work and bitterness of the oppression in Mitzrayim, and in next week's parsha we see how the yidden didn't listen to Moshe "mi'kotzer Ruach ume'avodah kasha - due to oppressiveness of spirit and hard work".
Those who are enslaved by the Yetzer Hara know well what these words mean. The Yetzer Hara causes one's entire life to become "Kotzer Ruach" and his obsession doesn't let him experience the "Nachas Ruach" that life has to offer.
One frum addiction therapist that I know, uses meditative techniques with his patients to help them break free of this addiction. His theme is "Nachas Ruach" and one of the techniques he teaches his patients is that when they feel weak, vulnerable or overwhelmed with the struggle, they should take four slow deep breaths, breathing in "Nachas Ruach" with each breath, and breathing out "Kotzer Ruach" with each breath. His approach tries to teach the patient how to flow with life and not fight against it. After all, Hashem doesn't want us to have to fight our whole lives, instead he wants us to learn how to flow with the beauty and happiness that life has to offer, instead of trying to seek pleasure and happiness in temporary and illusionary ways which only lead to Kotzer Ruach and Avodah Kasha.
Here's an example of one meditation technique that you may be able to do on your own. Try it three times a week, for a few weeks. It should take about 20 minutes each time.
Sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes. Completely relax. To help you relax and enter a meditative state, breath in slowly, hold for a few seconds, and then breath out. Repeat this 10 times. Afterwards, imagine you are diving into a deep pond. See yourself in your mind swimming downwards, deeper and deeper. (This will help you access your subconscious mind). Then, picture yourself in a field, holding a balloon. The balloon contains all of your sexual tension and pain in it. Picture this well. Then, release the balloon in your mind, with all the tension and pain inside it. Watch the balloon slowly climb away, higher and higher, count the feet it rises in your mind, until the balloon is finally out of site. When you are done with the balloon, imagine again that you are at the bottom of the deep pond. Start swimming back up, slowly coming closer and closer to the surface. Then, break out of the water. Open your eyes, get up from your chair and walk away feeling free!
Click here for more self-therapy ideas and options.
The contact information of the therapist mentioned above is:
Dr/Rabbi Naftali Fish - Jerusalem, Native English Speaker
Torah Based Psychotherapy, combined with meditation and hypnosis techniques
"Healing the Inner Wounded Child"
Cell: 052 2639325