Don’t block your blessings, spirit faith, and mind over matter
Psychology Today – Posted Jan 22, 2021
I like to think out loud. Or write out loud. But in any case, express things in the open as a way of organizing my thoughts.
I was invited to present at a very unique gathering called the “Don’t Block Your Blessings” festival. It is more of a spiritual gathering of those in the healing profession and healing arts, but even in that description I find myself trying to synthesize two different parts of who I am.
The idea is faith and blessing and what part we play in both and in our futures. The concept is simple. The concept is complex. And I am caught in the middle.
As an Orthodox Jew and a psychotherapist, I have seen and heard a lot. Certainly not everything, but a close second. I have seen people at their lowest and their highest. I have heard questions and answers, and perspectives from all sides of the aisle as it were.
As a Jew I know that faith is something that can and does operate as a healing property. This is both as a mental process and as a vessel for actual blessing. As a therapist I know this as well but I often struggle with getting clients to a point of connecting this with practical action.
This process is always easier said than done.
From one side there is the faith. Faith is so complicated to define. Do you have faith that everything will be OK or just that everything is according to the plan? Do you have faith in miracles or strike out to make your own way and build a vessel for blessing? Do you have faith in yourself; is that the opposite of faith in a higher power?
From the other there is me. Or you. Or Us. What part do we play in this process? How do we draw down blessing? What part do we play in our success or lack of it? Should we be trying to control the outcome, or does faith mean letting go completely?
Not being a rabbi, and not having my higher power on speed dial, many of these questions are simply too much to answer. Heck, many of them I struggle with myself. The dialogue that goes on in my head in sessions, late at night, or in the midst of a playoff game (I was praying for the Baltimore Ravens to win, but to no avail—or did I avail and it was simply not in the plans?) would make for a wonderful festival short.
Simply put: I struggle to have the answers for faith or for its practical and therapeutic applications. For myself or anyone else.
And yet, I have been raised with faith. And my faith says that I don’t always need answers to believe. And that miracles happen and we see it daily (I really do, with our clients especially). I see faith and the power to overcome. I see deep rooted belief in blessings and amazing results. I know it can work not because I know HOW it works but because I see THAT it does.
For me, there is a knowledge that comes from upbringing (son of a rabbi), experience, training (licensed therapist) and, maybe, a little faith.
That’s great for me.
But how can you convey this to someone without my own experience?
This week I was presented with a teaching of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a man of saintly qualities as well as a man of science (having advanced degrees in physics from the Sorbonne). His perspective tied both sides of the dynamic neatly together:
“Think good and it will be good”. Literally the act of believing in the blessing IS the vessel for the blessing. Getting your mind, body, and spirit into the mode of preparing for and accepting the blessing, and living with the complete faith in its success, is the means by which you can actually gain that blessing. The converse is also true, making it all that much more important to focus on the latter.
1. Faith is real and powerful.
2. We have a part to play in our faith.
3. Our actions define our blessing. We pull the levers.
4. We must be attuned to this process and we will see the results.
5. Faith and blessing are two sides of the same coin and can have a healing effect both through the faith (decrease in anxiety, increase in hope, and other therapeutic benefits) and through the subsequent blessing.
Mendi Baron, LCSW, of Ignite Teen Treatment, Elemental Treatment, Eden Center for Eating Disorders, Hope Street Heals, MendisPlace.com, CYHM.org, is a passionate advocate for teens and young adults in the fields of mental health and addiction. Baron creates programs to bring a unique approach to the treatment of adolescents and young adults who are struggling with a variety of emotional and behavioral disorders and substance abuse issues. Clinically trained, Baron earned a BA with honors in psychology and social work at the University of Maryland and an MSW at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. His extensive experience as a therapist includes individual and group counseling for children, adolescents, and families in various settings.
Gaining insight and experience, he has worked at several treatment centers including the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development, the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau, Chabad Crisis Centers, and the Center for Discovery and Adolescent Change. Before launching Elemental Treatment, Mendi conceived and built, from the ground up, multiple successful, high end adolescent residential and outpatient programs in Los Angeles. Mendi has appeared on the Dr. Phil show, is regularly featured in mental health and addiction publications, and speaks around the country in person and on Tv/Radio on these topics.
With his newest ventures, Mendi instills a rare blend of energy, creativity, and experience to the treatment of teens, young adults, and their families struggling with addiction and mental health issues. The son of a Rabbi, eldest of 11 children, he is a part-time rock musician, boxer, cantor, and father of four.