When we're born, all of us have a few months, or even a couple of years, where we don't know how to speak. Psychotherapists call this the 'pre-verbal' stage, and this lack of verbal expression makes it very hard to study infants to know what's really going on with them. We can usually only guess, because they can't tell us themselves what's happening in their inner world. We know that these infants have a brain, and that they are processing information. But beyond that, they are living in an imaginary world of thoughts, and are incapable of really reaching or impacting the world around them.
To some extent, if a person is not talking to G-d, and is not expressing themselves and getting in touch with their feelings, and is just operating on automatic pilot, then they are still in that non-verbal, infantile, passive mode, where they are just being acted upon. A young baby can't even lift his head, or speak when he's hungry or cold, so instead, he screams and he cries to tell his parents he wants something, or that he's in pain. If you're a two year old, that's an age-appropriate and effective way to get your mom's attention and love. But it doesn't work at 30 or 40 years' old; and it also doesn't work in a civilized world that has conditions.
If a person is still stuck using infantile antics for recognition, love and attention, that's a very negative pattern that they need to break out of. It's time for us to make new decisions, based on what we need today, and what we need in our lives now. The old, infantile way of getting what we need isn't working anymore; it's time to discard it and upgrade to something better. Hashem gave everyone an intellect, a seichel, and we can access our seichel by speaking to Hashem. When we start to speak to Hashem more, all of a sudden, we feel how inherently pleasurable and satisfying it is to talk to Him. The Gemara defines a human being as a person who prays - who speaks!
Lighting up the darkness with speech
As we speak to Hashem, we start to bring out of the darkness all of the things that were put into us by the evil inclination. Wow, who knew I've been telling myself for years that I should hate, or that I should hurt, or that I should be taking revenge… Now that I know what's been guiding the decisions in my unconscious mind, I can ask myself some tough questions: what outcomes do I actually want in my life? Is hating and hurting people going to help me to achieve these outcomes, or just get in the way and make my life very unpleasant and stressful? Once we start talking to G-d, things that were hidden from us for years become so obvious. It becomes crystal clear, that we need to find alternative ways of being, or thinking or doing.
2012 is ending with the whole world tensed for 'war' in one way or another. Here in the Middle East, it's being fought with rockets and air planes; in other places, it's being waged with guns and knives; in still other places, the battle is to stay afloat financially, or to stay sane when the pressures are mounting daily. Whatever war we happen to be fighting, or caught up in, there is only one way to win it: we need to work on ourselves, and to fix what we need to fix, with Hashem's help. Even when we find ourselves in the toughest times, and the hardest circumstances, G-d is still very close to us. He's right here, ready to listen to us at any moment, night and day. He wants to retract all the severity and strictness that He's pumping out into the world. Let's remember that G-d's main characteristic is love and kindness, but when we don't listen, then He has to up the ante. The wake up calls get bigger and louder, until we all recognize that if nothing changes, then nothing changes.
Even if we feel clogged up, or restricted, or constricted in our lungs, we need to remember that G-d is breathing us constantly, and that He wants us to use that holy air to talk to Him. Let's not waste any more time; let's figure out what needs to happen, and what Hashem wants from us. Let's speak to Him!
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Dr. Zev Ballen, Psy.D. has been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. He is the founder and developer of Emuna Therapy, a faith-based method of counseling based exclusively on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush. Dr. Zev has the endorsements of Gadolei Yisrael such as the Nikolsburger Rebba, Rabbi Yitzchok Fagelstock, Rabbi Shalom Arush, and Rabbi Lazer Brody. You can see Dr. Zev's live video broadcast every Wednesday at 5pm Israel time here on breslev.co.il. You can write in with questions to Dr. Zev at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call him at: 845-362-8600 (US) or 054-840-9499 (Israel). Dr. Zev resides in Jerusalem, with his family, where he learns in Rav Arush’s Kollel and maintains a part-time private practice. You're also welcome to visit Dr. Zev's personal blog, Emuna Therapy.