Peace prayer 4.3

“The imaginative power is the supreme gift of G-d.
Just because it has so great potency, we must use it with good judgment, and for the best ends.
It is the highly creative and constructive force in the spirit of man through which he builds, first the idea, and then its realization.
In its use does man come nearest to the activity of G-d, for with Him all creation is but will, the putting forth of a purpose, made real as He wills it.” [1]

In writing about “the imaginative power,” Rabbi Clifton Harby Levy is referring to “visualization.”

What is the technique of “visualization” or “visualized prayer?”

Put simply, it is “seeing” the state we wish to create, or in which we wish to be, as already in place.

For example, if we’re ill, we see ourselves as healthy. We don’t “ask” for health. We don’t “hope” for health. In our visualization or prayer, we ignore the appearance of illness and keep on doing so, until health re-asserts itself as our status.

That’s what Rabbi Levy and others refer to as “imagination.” We ignore the information communicated to us by the senses, and see ourselves as already in the ideal condition we desire.

And yet — this is not a matter of “will power.” Human will is not able to alter internal or external conditions.

What, then, is the operative element? What creates the change?

The human mind, as mentioned, receives the information of the senses, under ordinary circumstances. In addition, we have an intellect, which can postulate possible conditions other than those immediately available to the senses.

But we also have a higher aspect of the human mind that is limitless in its potential to respond to the thoughts and pictures we put before it. Some call this the “Higher Self.” Some, “The Divine Mind in man.”

“The whole earth is full of G-d’s Glory,” as Yishiyahu (Isaiah) said.

If we believe that G-d, or G-d’s Glory, pervades all Creation and beyond, then it fills us, too.

This level of who and what we are is our immediate access to that universal Existence that is beyond any limitation at all.

It is ever-responding to everything we think, say and do.

In prayer especially, G-d responds, through us, to what we declare in our minds before G-d. And we are always “declaring,” whether we recognize it or not.

What we “see” in our minds, repeated enough, and with enough sincerity, will ultimately appear, or “manifest.”

How can we apply this principle to Israel’s struggles?

We can visualize peace. Prayer invokes G-d’s help in a way that’s best for all.

“The voice is the voice of Yakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav.” [2]

The midrash [3]  compares “hands,” understood as a metaphor for human acts of aggression, with “voice,” understood as a metaphor for “spoken or whispered prayer.”

“Prayer is Israel’s only weapon, a weapon inherited from its fathers, a weapon proved in a thousand battles.
Let others use their hands. Israel’s only weapon is prayer.” [4]

Thus, prayer — the “voice of Jacob” — is ours to rely on.

“Prayer” can be more than words alone.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslav declared the power of visualization:

“When thought is intensely concentrated, it can exert great influence…To accomplish this, the concentrated thought must spell out every step of the desired result in detail…You can make use of this in your studies…For example, you can concentrate on the fact that you want to complete the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law)…Picture in your mind exactly how you will go about this course of study…If your desire is strong and your concentration intense enough, your plans will be fulfilled. [5]

Nor is the power of our thought limited by proximity:

“You can kick something with your foot, but throw it higher with your hand. You can reach still further with your voice, calling to a person very far away. Hearing reaches yet further, for you can hear sounds like gunshots from a very great distance. Your sight reaches even further, seeing things in the sky…And highest of all is the mind, which can penetrate the loftiest heights.” [6]

Let us, then, “see peace.”

Let us take time to see only peace existing between Israel and everyone around her, and among the various conflicted groups within each of those neighbors.

Disregard for a moment the news reports, the feelings, the fears, and so on.

See only peace. See the ideal.

Let go of your questions, your doubts, your “facts.”

It is the Divine, not you, creating peace.

Allow the Divine part of you to create the ideal peace that you visualize.

Repeat it regularly, together in groups when you can.

Bring peace into the world.

Bring peace to Israel and her neighbors.

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[1] Levy, Rabbi Clifton Harby; The Jewish Life; p. 59

[2] Ber./Gen. 27:22

[3] Bereishith Rabbah 65:20

[4] Yalkut Shimoni (13th century midrashic anthology) to Ber. 27:22

[5] R. Nathan of Nemirov; Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom; paragraph # 62

[6] ibid. #46