The Kabbalah Approach to Mental Health

Kabbalah and Psychology: Anxiety Relief – The Kabbalah Approach to Mental Health – Part 20 – Dismissing Negative Thoughts: Suppression within Separation

The first stage of ignoring anxiety, which quite often is not even performed consciously, is the way a person spontaneously dismisses many if not most thoughts that surface from the subconscious. This is a natural, healthy form of suppression, which simply prevents every little negative urge or complex that comes to mind from complicating and derailing the normal functions of living. Often enough, these murmurings are not very deeply rooted in the subconscious and therefore do not warrant any fundamental treatment that would require paying much attention to them.

If this is the case, then ignoring the problem is indeed the best way to deal with it. Unwarranted attention to the problem will only aggravate it, causing it to assume artificial proportions. For example, our sages teach us that that best way to fight anger is to remain silent and the best way to counter jealousy is to ignore it.

When a person does this consciously, his inattention to his problems, anxieties, neuroses and even psychoses is a tacit admission that he is powerless to confront and defy them on his own. Concomitant with his realization of his existential lowliness and degradation is his realization of his inability to attack the evil within himself directly. His first recourse, then, is simply to ignore it.

When a person notices that his dark thoughts do not leave him alone and ignoring them does not help, he turns heavenward and implores G-d's help. By crying out to G-d, a person at once acknowledges the existence of evil within him and admits that he cannot fight it on his own. He realizes that his previous prayers were not intense or specific enough to rid him of the particular evil he is presently suffering from. In his previous prayers he asked G-d for the power to overcome anxieties; he now realizes this prayer was not answered fully and prays instead for G-d Himself to rescue him from them.

Still, there is not at this point any direct confrontation with the evil, nor is there any attempt on the person's part to summon his strengths to combat it.

The awareness and subconscious effect of circumcision on a person's psyche is that he knows that he is essentially good, and existentially separate from the problems and anxieties that beset his mind. He can, at any time, avail himself of G-d's help, since G-d is always standing at his side, as it were, ready to save him from the onslaught of dark, evil thoughts constantly attacking him. In this sense he can always consider himself above the misery of this world.

This admission of inadequacy by dismissing negative thoughts or crying out to G-d when unable to do so is the sub-phase of submission within separation.

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