The Kabbalah Approach to Mental Health

Kabbalah and Psychology: Anxiety Relief – The Kabbalah Approach to Mental Health – Part 13 – Inter-inclusion

In the cosmology of Kabbalah, the present order of reality is the rectified version of several immature stages of creation that preceded it. (The word preceded must be taken allegorically, since time as we know it began only with the creation of the present order.) The previous orders of creation were characterized by disunity amongst the creative forces governing them; each creative force pursued its own course of action without regard to the effect this would have on its sister forces, nor with regard to the effect its sister forces might exert on it. The result was chaos, which led to the collapse of these universes.

In contrast, in the present order, at least in its idealized form, the creative forces G-d used and uses to create and sustain the world act in harmony, each taking into consideration the personality of all the others. This is made possible by the fact that they exhibit inter-inclusion, that is, each creative force possesses within its own internal makeup something of all the others. The presence of this element of the other within it allows it to interact with the other constructively. In this way, creation indeed reflects the underlying unity it possesses by virtue of it being the creation of one G-d.

This maturation of creation may be roughly compared to how a child matures into an adult. A child possesses the same personality traits an adult does, but they exist in an unsettled pandemonium. His desires and drives are powerful but unmitigated. When he wants something, he finds it difficult, if not impossible, to take into consideration the impact satisfying this want may have his on other, presently subdued, desires. The process of maturing into an adult is largely that of learning how to temper the unilateral nature of his urges in light of his full spectrum of motives. In order for this process to take place, the child s egocentricity must be quashed, as he gradually realizes that he must moderate the pursuit of his own ephemeral interests in favor of larger, more altruistic and long-term goals. The trauma of this awakening and the accompanying self-redefinition the child must undergo is a major feature of adolescence.

The hallmark of the present, rectified order of creation, then, is inter-inclusion. Every successful process, model, system or organization should evince this quality. And conversely, any process that does not possess this quality is considered unrectified, belonging to the previous order of creation, and inimical to this order and its progress toward perfection. This, in effect, is the definition of evil according to Kabbalah.

Therefore, the potential of the Ba'al Shem Tov's threefold model of spiritual growth as a path toward rectification becomes fully evident when each stage is seen as an inter-inclusion of all three. Since we have structured the therapeutic process in accordance with this model, the same holds true for it: each of the three techniques of suppression, ignoring and articulation will be present as sub-stages within all three.

We will therefore now detail the full therapeutic process in terms of this principle of inter-inclusion.

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