As an addendum to yesterday’s post, I want to share the synchronicity I felt after something I had studied in the book Shem Mishmuel on the Torah portion “Behar” that resonated deeply with the logotherapeutic concepts we subsequently discussed in our meeting with students.
The Shem Mishmuel draws a parallel between the yovel, or 50th halachic jubilee year and Shabbat. On the fiftieth year the Torah tells us slaves are sent free, fields return to their original owners and the Shofar (ram’s horn) is blown.
The redemptive character of the fiftieth year parallels the experience inculcated on the Shabbat every week.
Just as slaves are liberated on the fiftieth year we too are liberated from the work world. For one day a week we are not tied to the need to be productive and this allows us to discover an inner royalty.
Second, just as fields return to their original owners on the fiftieth year we too return to our source by reconnecting with our spiritual essence and with the One who created us, when we say Kiddush and sanctify the Sabbath day in words.
Thirdly just as ram’s horn is blown on the fiftieth year we too every week on Shabbat particularly through sanctifying the day by drinking wine, experience an awakening from the spiritual slumber that the weekday puts upon us and tends to make us lose touch with our true expression of self.
The synchronicity in this learning happened when, in discussion with our logotherapy students we touched upon exactly these three aspects. To put it logotherapeutically, we can say that the first stage of growth takes place the moment the person chooses to liberate him or herself from the self-perception of being a victim of circumstance and a victim of inner forces rendering the person helpless. The capacity to choose shifts the focus away from complaining and in the direction of autonomous choice.
The second stage is authenticity, the ingredient that Bugental called the “central concern of psychotherapy.” By connecting in pure spiritual ways to God and to people you find your own territory, your own space in the world.
In the third stage all that is left is to emerge from that space, to discover that your life is meaningful through the process of responding with concrete tasks to the opportunities life sends your way, that is, to do what is required of you in order to wake up from your slumber and grow.
Looking back at the compilation and synthesis of all of our meetings with students I noticed something else.
The four unique aspects of logotherapy can be matched to the three therapeutic aspects of liberation, authenticity and emergence.
Freedom starts with the logotherapeutic encounter, in the way of evoking the person’s greatness (referring to the first point in yesterday’s post about seeing the client eye-to-eye) and is taken up by the client by way of choosing not to render him or herself a victim (referring to the fourth point in yesterday’s post about not being a victim and being entrusted with greatness)
Authenticity is part of the trust in being and this relates very much to the third point from yesterday’s post about trusting in everything God has given you in spite of not understanding why life must include pain and suffering.
Finally, the opening that these first two aspects create (liberation from believing yourself a victim and authenticity and trust) paves the way for the person to emerge (relating to the second point in yesterday’s post, that the answers are not inside you but meaning and growth only comes through the choices we make and the tasks we do in response to the opportunities out there for fulfillment of values.