Keeping Hashem in Mind

There is an interesting area of psychological research known as dual process thinking. Did you know, for example, that if you visualize an apple a chair or a sunset that the vividness of your mental imagery can be enhanced by keeping the image of your mother in mind at the same time – that’s right – you’re mother! In fact, this finding was replicated for many ethnic groups – the image of mother is a powerful and universal motivational image. Nothing against mothers, but I began to wonder what would happen if people kept G-d in mind while they visualized. The results were amazing. For people who were intrinsically spiritual (as opposed to extrinsically spiritual) keeping G-d in mind was even a more powerful aid to mental visualization than the image of mother was.  I found that this was true even for people who were not practicing a religion, as long as they had intrinsic spirituality. So here’s how it works. First we practice keeping Hashem in mind; then, we do it again while you see yourself achieving your goals. When you do this, just let yourself naturally imagine how you will actualize your goals. Some of you will visualize yourself carrying out your life’s mission in vivid detail – as if you were watching a movie. Some of you will visualize this but with less clarity and others may not visualize it at all. Don’t be concerned about this – just thinking about your life goals while keeping Hashem in mind is a powerful method. A few suggestions before you begin - When you think about Hashem, you might imagine Him in any of the following ways: His Unity – that He is the basic Oneness that unifies the whole creation; that He is beyond space and time; that He is infinite; that he is great, powerful, loving and forgiving - Really, however you think about Hashem “ will be fine. Try this out for 60 seconds. Close your eyes, if you wish, and just think about Hashem in any way that comes to mind now. Experiment with different ways of thinking about Hashem and see which one you like the best. Some people feel Hashem lovingly holding, rocking and cradling them through through their breathing - whether it’s an inhalation or an exhalation, they remain aware that it's Hashem who is breathing them.

Take another 60 seconds to try this out. Now your ready to use dual-process thinking to combine your awareness of Hashem with your life-goals.  Gently continue to breath with an awareness that Hashem is with you or think of Him in your own way. As you keep Hashem in mind think about your values and goals. What is most important to you? What would you like to achieve in life, if you could? What do you want your life to stand for? In the final analysis, what do you want your life to be about? Just let your mind think about what is important to you in any way it wishes to. Continue to stay aware of Hashem, and He will lead the process for you – it’s as easy as that.

Take your time…breath slowly…give yourself another few minutes (more if you wish) to meditate on your values and goals.  I have personally found that this practice has helped me to stay more spiritually aware and connected to my goals. You can be creative with this practice. Feel free to change it in ways that better suit your needs.