My motivation for teaching

I want to share with you my motivation for creating the “How to Fill the Empty Cup” course and by extension for creating the “Positive Actions Bring Positive Results” webinar as an introduction to the course.

If I look inside myself to see what moves me, I would describe it in three words: a spiritual growth community. I want to have and provide for others an environment in which its members can flourish and emerge most fully themselves. Because I believe that each individual must find the content of that growth for his or herself and because I believe that each person enriches the group as a whole, an equally important part for me is the creative process I want to facilitate.

Whenever I’ve been a teacher or student or participated in any sort of group, I’ve always longed for a type of discussion that appears to be very rare. I’ve often sat in a group wishing everyone could get past merely listening to each other (if they even did that), as difficult and blessed an achievement as that is, because I wanted more than that.

I’m not interested in “polite” discussion, even though politeness is a good thing. My quest is for people to listen because each individual’s perspective is incomplete without the perspective of each of the other individuals in the room. Therefore, my hope is for everyone to consider it  terribly important to hear each other, to experience an inner yearning to understand the other.

Invisible lines of connection exist between group members, as well as between life experience and the words on the page. The creative process that ensues when these are the working assumptions is like no other.

At the same time I’m always seeking my path to how to be happy in a deeper sort of way, a happiness that doesn’t depend on anything that’s happening in life but rather on the values I carry around with me as the ‘constant’ no matter where I go. Thus, my tools are logotherapy, which is a meaning-focused and value-focused approach. A friend and colleague recently told me I am “good at opening people’s eyes to what life can be.” This is, indeed my goal.

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Meaning -> Intention -> God

by Aryeh Siegel

It seems to me that just about everyone will at some time say there’s something meaningful in what is happening around him or her. The meaningfulness consists in there being some message that is being conveyed. In other words, there’s some intention behind what is taking place.

So the existence of meaning is, for all practical purposes, a universal claim. Some may try to insist that all meaning is subjective and/or relative, but this is much more counterintuitive than is usually realized. How can anyone be willing to invest in the belief that something has a certain meaning, if he or she believes that it is equally true for someone else to give it a different meaning (subjectivity)? And yet we do invest time and energy on the basis of perceived meaning.

Even the modest claim that what I perceive only has a certain meaning for me (relativity) – while allowing that is has a different meaning for another – still implies that there is an objective and absolute meaning which I see as relating this something to me. In other words, the meaning that it has for me is nonetheless a meaning.

As I initially stated, the recognition of meaning implies the existence of intention. And having recognized meaning and intention in a situation, we often see that there is some further meaning that frames and deepens our understanding of the intention behind it.

But then it’s only a small step to take that realization to its infinite ideal and attribute to the world deep intentionality. That is, there is always the possibility of revealing a layer of meaning that gives further intention to a previously discovered explanation. The limit of this revelation – that always lies beyond our grasp – is God.

In short, the existence of any meaning at all implies intention, which in turn implies the existence of God.

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by Aryeh Siegel

The title of my last blog (“I an Hashem, June 17) may have seemed “immodest”. How can anyone even think of uttering “I am God”, however sensitive and refined the intention may be?

The following story may indicate a direction for an answer:

A naked young woman entered an elevator with a gentleman, much to his shock. He didn’t look the other way, but said hello and asked why she was naked. On that basis alone, she accused him of sexual intimidation.

However, I think we can agree that the gentleman’s “immodest” remark was a natural response to an immodest environment.

When God said at Mount Sinai “I am God”, He came out of hiding and revealed Himself.
And by saying specifically that the “I” is God, He invited us to see Him by looking at ourselves. Many people just look the other way, but it’s not “immodest” to look for Godliness within; rather it’s the appropriate response to God’s immodest revelation.

Of course, so much of what we see within is “clothing”. The search to find the pure soul is a heroic endeavor. Shall we begin?

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Opening up to Nature

By Avraham Friedman

On my most recent vacation, traveling in the 1000 Islands region of
Ontario Canada, I was struck by the fact that I was standing in a boat
and simply staring out at the different islands as we passed them. I
wondered – what am i staring at ? Why am i staring? What is drawing me
to continue staring?

Though I asked the question, and became aware of what I was doing I
continued to look at the incredible view before me – trees covering
hundreds of islands, sunshine sparkling in the clean water of the

My mind was a blank as I tried to understand this phenomenon trying to
not force a meaning on to it artificially.

The thought that kept coming back to me was the word ‘opportunity’. So
much can be done to harness nature to our needs. It’s all right out
there for us to just start doing. There’s much to look forward to. On the one
hand the moment you touch nature, its beauty is ruined. – On the other
hand as we use it, we appreciate what it has to offer and we see its
beauty even more clearly.

I wonder now if we were to look at ourselves like that – as a land of
opportunity: What can we still do with the gifts that we have, with the
beautiful parts of us which are still – untapped sources of energy?

Alternatively do we decide to ‘save’ our energy for some distant time? Just as a
boat truly fulfills its purpose when we use it in water, so too our own
energies are there to be tapped and used for our own good and

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I am Hashem

by Aryeh Siegel

I am Hashem your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves (Exodus 20:1). The first two words of the Ten Commandments that God spoke on Mount Sinai are:

I [am] Hashem [the four-letter name of ineffable divinity].

Who am I? Hashem. The true Self is the true Reality.

Abraham was told to go “to himself” to the land I will show you. It was not essentially a journey to a piece of real estate in the Middle East, but a journey within; a journey to the Self that “I” will give you the experience of (“show you”). The Hebrew word for “land” is connected to the word for “will” – the intention here being the divine will to give without receiving. This is the will we seek to discover in the journey within.

The Self is of course not just this physical body that was born some years ago and will someday cease to be alive. It is not even this personality that grows and expresses itself throughout my life. Deep within my consciousness is the awareness that I am part of the single general soul. My life has meaning by virtue of it being part of this larger story. Beyond this story is the story of creation. So the journey within – very, very deep within – will lead to the divine – to the Creator. On the way there, and on the way back, I find the meaning in my life in this body and personality.

How can I fully know the meaning of my life without knowing the meaning of life? How can I fully know the meaning of life without knowing the purpose of creation? How can I know the purpose of creation without at least some appreciation of the nature of the Creator? This nature is to give selflessly. So as I increase humility and love, meaning becomes more apparent

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New Blog

There are still more people reading this than

Move on over, guys!

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New logotherapy blog

This is a reminder to check out my new logotherapy blog called

Instead of announcing that this blog is terminated and sending you to the new blog, I decided to continue this blog as a group blog (with weekly posts), to post articles and essays written by professional and lay logotherapists (and maybe yourself!).

So if you’ve enjoyed this blog in the past, please visit

Right now I’m in the midst of posting a daily summary from a Jewish book about consciousness called Pirkei Kinyan Da’at. Once I finish that I’ll then discuss the relationship between the concept of consciousness there and the concept of consciousness and conscience in logotherapy.

I know I’m learning a lot from this book and I’m sure you will too.

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Logotherapy elevator statement

by Batya Yaniger

One of the important marketing rules is imagining you’re on an elevator, the doors and soon closing and you’ve got half a minute to say something that captures the essence of what you do. Here is my logotherapy “elevator statement.”

The basis of logotherapy is that everything has a reason, and whether or not we know what the reason is, everything can be used for a good purpose.

We grow by getting in touch with what makes us human – our conscience, our love, our choice, our responsibility and our values.

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by Danny Kern

Rav David Ebner said in the name of the Sefat Emet the following idea.  On Pesach we need to chew the Marror until it is sweet.  To chew and chew until the bitterness goes away.   The Sefat Emet said the Maror represents our slavery in Egypt and the long galut.  The whole Pesach Seder is our attempt to find meaning in those events.

This simple idea hit me hard.  It’s an encapsulation of so much of Viktor Frankl’s teachings and philosophy.  The Maror of course can be expanded to represent all of life’s trials and tribulations.  Chewing represents taking the meaning out of these events; chewing and chewing until we find that meaning.  The meaning may not be apparent at first glance, but it’s there, and our job is to “chew” it out.

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Wedding Heaven to Earth

by Haya Baker Winiarz

Our world can be completely rejuvenated
through our partnership with God.
A flash preview of this occurred
at the foot of Mount Sinai.

The 6th day of this Hebrew calendar month of Sivan,
which takes place this year on Sunday May 27,
marks the festival of Shavuot. On this holy day,
several thousand years ago,a barrier between
mankind and heaven was forever removed.

For the first time since the exile from Eden,
the divine presence was revealed to a core group
of 60,000 people at the foot of Mount Sinai.
The shroud was forever lifted, not only
for the children of Israel,who had just emerged
miraculously from exile in Egypt, but for all mankind
who from that moment on, had access to the merging of
heaven and earth. From that moment forward,
we were forever wed to the divine!

On Shavuot, which literally means “weeks”,
we complete the counting of seven weeks
of progressive personal ethical preparations
for the annual renewing of the vows between
mankind and God!

On this day we received a permanent download
into our souls and a hard copy forever
of our sacred Torah, the blueprint for the
building of a sacred world,
from the living word of God.

Every year, as we return to this holy time,
the heaven literally comes down to earth
and can be sensed as we be open to the
remembering of ultimate truth,
that God is and was always with us,
and is indeed within us.

The indestructible, unconditional life-force,
deep within our hearts which makes our eyes shine
and inspires us to bring goodness into our world,
can never be destroyed and it is from that kernel
of truth revealed on Mount Sinai,
that a better world is forever being recreated.

The Midrash describes that humble Mount Sinai
in the heart of the desert, was suddenly blanketed
with flowers and Trees upon the revelation of God.
The Midrash also describes that all of the children
of Israel,camped at the foot of the mountain,
were recreated at that moment completely healthy,
without illness or injury.

It is in this spirit that I enjoy asking God to
recreate us as we were meant to be.

Many of you amazing people who recently participated in my
foundations course online, report experiencing a taste
of this in your own lives.

Our sages teach us that our world will be completely
rejuvenated through our partnership with God.
In our wondrous times we can subtly and profoundly
rediscover the inner meaning of our commitment
to this relationship, to this personal and collective
divine commission.

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