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Judaism and NLP

Part of a series of short articles focusing on NLP's relevance to each of the major world religions.


Judaism welcomes a diversity of spiritual viewpoints, beliefs and philosophies, sharing a rich sense of interconnectedness and tolerance.

This tolerance and diversity provides a foundation for brilliance, yet makes somewhat difficult the task of speaking to the subject of spirituality in a way that would appeal broadly to all or most Jewish individuals, or even to Judaism in general in such a way that all or most would agree.

However, diversity, tolerance and open mindedness, themselves, have a great deal in common with NLP as an avenue of approach to fostering personal growth, healing, and spiritual development.

The quotes and comments below are not intended to summarize or fully represent the spiritual views of all Jewish people, or even to necessarily be religious in source or nature. It is more simply hoped that some individuals may find points of interest or like-mindedness.

"Trust Yourself"

"Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement." – Golda Meir

Golda Meir expresses a theme which is central to NLP. "The tiny inner sparks of possibility" are the same sparks of life which allow the simultaneous holding of great human achievement and a spirit of humility in private accomplishment that lead to a life of happiness and self-fulfillment.

Cynicism, being the denial of possibility and one of the most limiting mental frames a person can adopt, is utterly overpowered by such wisdom.

Possibility is the first pre-requisite to progress. Where there is no possibility, no progress is attempted.

NLP throws wide open the doors of possibility – the vast potential each of us holds within – to break out of self-limiting mind frames and emerge into a fresh new world of openness, enthusiasm and effective action.

Creating the kind of self Golda Meir spoke of is central to the spirit of NLP.

The Secret Heart

"Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart."– Psalm 51:6

Getting in touch with our inward being, communicating well within ourselves, reaching internal congruity – these enable delight and wisdom to emerge.

Beyond any troubles we may hold or experience, troubles which NLP addresses not as dark forces but as transformative processes, there lives within our inward being a pure delight waiting to be discovered in our secret heart of hearts.

Anyone who makes the journey will return rich in the treasures of the spirit. NLP is a tremendous tool for the hero of the heart's journey.

Einstein's Levels

"A problem can’t be solved at the same level of understanding that created it." – Albert Einstein

This fundamental truth is fully recognized and utilized by NLP. Whatever frame of reference a problem exists within, whether it's emotional, patternistic, conceptual or mental-physical, it can be out-framed with NLP – yielding new perspectives from which the solution is either made obvious, or the problem simply disappears.

Because NLP focuses on the process and structure of excellence, rather than on the content of problems, it moves outside the field of problem-drama, operating "out of the box" while it moves directly toward preserving positive intention and achieving desired outcomes.

Experience It!

"Oh, taste and see that G-d is good!" – Psalm 34:8

Spirituality is not airy abstraction. It is, rather, to be tasted – that is to say, felt and experienced. Experienced spirituality connects us as living beings to a felt sense of the presence and intelligence of something greater than ourselves, giving our identity context and meaning.

In NLP terms, our sense of spirituality influences, pervades and informs every "neurological level" below it, affecting every part of our lives.

By providing powerful processes that promote connection, alignment and integration of the many levels of our mind-body-emotion systems, NLP prepares the way for a positive experience of spirituality – however one finds meaning in that word.

While NLP is not, in itself, a spiritual practice, it is foundationally about experience. Like spirituality, a person cannot fully comprehend NLP merely by reading about it.

"We" In Our Ultimate Home

"They shall make for Me a sanctuary that I might dwell in them." – Exod. 25: 8

"The ultimate home for G-d we are commanded to build is inside us. When G-d really does live within us, we see the world from a wiser perspective one that is less self centered and more G-d centered.

"The siddur, our prayerbook, speaks almost exclusively in plural language. All of those -nu suffixes indicate 'our' 'us'. Why do we pray in plural? Prayer seems to be such a personal activity. It's 'I' 'mine' 'give me' Isn't it? What's the idea with all this 'we' 'our'?

"Just like visiting the sick, praying in the plural is something that helps make us less selfish. It takes us out of ourselves, makes us focus on the needs of others, of the community. Prayer in the plural broadens us, it decentralizes the ego, the self which in most of us is in serious need of decentralizing. Prayer in the plural lets G-d's Presence dwell in us.

"Basic Jewish wisdom has it that the greatest struggle any of us will ever face is the struggle within ourselves. The struggle to overcome our ego, our selfishness, the YetzerHaRa within us. Judaism knows these are powerful."

– Rabbi Richard D. Agler, Congregation B'nai Israel

The above passage from Exodus, together with Rabbi Agler's commentary, shares three central models with NLP, that of the importance of the specific language we use, the plurality of our internal parts, and the awareness of our identity existing within a larger spiritual context.

It is often the case that our internal conversations, when we are conflicted, self-critical, or egocentric, use the pronouns "I" or "me" or even "you". For example, "That was a stupid thing for you to do," is the type of sentence many of us hear internally. Or, "I can't achieve the goal I want."

There is more to be said about these forms of inner communication than can be addressed in this short article. But it's a curious thing... when conflicts have been resolved, and the interjected voices of critical others have been sent back to their owners, often a new pronoun appears naturally in our inner conversations: "we."

NLP has moved far beyond Freud's tripartite model of the human self as being comprised of an id, an ego, and a superego. We are, in fact, internally more numerous than that. We have creative parts, planner parts, critical parts, many archetypal parts, state dependant parts, and parts we've created for specific purposes during our lives.

We are each, in our own experience, a multitude. When two internal parts are at war with each other, we have a problem. And the first question is, "Who is who?" If I say, "I hate myself," it begs the questions: how many I's are there, and which one is speaking of which other one? And how can they reach agreement and work together, instead of against each other? And how can they re-integrate if that's appropriate?

So if we are going to struggle to "overcome our ego," we must first ask, who is this ego and who is the part that intends to overcome it? Ultimately, such struggles come down to semantic and internal-parts identity confusion. NLP helps to clear the confusion experientially and linguistically, thus allowing internal congruity of self to arise.

Someone once said, "Inner peace is what happens when we stop fighting with ourselves."

NLP provides powerful and explicit methods for healthy internal languaging and for resolving "parts" conflicts. When "we" stop fighting internally and build a beautiful internal space, then our "we" becomes more aware of G-d's presence dwelling within us.

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