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Prayer Skills: Aish Kodesh: Picturing

If you are having trouble directing your mind in prayer, and it is difficult for you to overcome the many confusing thoughts and direct your self to God, then picture yourself pushing forward through a great crowd of people to get to where God is. And actually do this, that is, tense your body and make the bodily motions of someone trying to push forward this way; actually contort your face and think, “I am going to get through them all and get to God. I am going to force my way to God.”


But do not involve your mind in the tension and strain and effort of your body. Just let your body strength in itself where it will, but let your mind strengthen itself and the thought of, “to God.” Doing this, you should experience that you have drawn close in your mind and concentration to holiness.

But if you have exerted yourself against your profane thoughts and did not succeed in overcoming them, and if you have tried with fierce determination to have your mind diving deep into holiness, but failed, try this:

Picture to yourself that at this moment, the part of your soul that is Above, (for the most exalted part of the soul is not in the body but attached Above, in heaven,) is running from menacing animals to the Gates of Paradise. She is running and they are pursuing her. This one is biting her and that one is breaking a bone; this one is casting her down and the other is blocking her way. From this terrible fear and agony your soul is crying out bitterly, “Please, God, save me and draw me to You!”

Then picture how heaven and earth tremble, and how the Gates of Paradise tremble and shake at this cry, as do the wild creatures pursuing, and how they are terror stricken and stopped in their places, while she, the soul, escapes into the Garden of Eden.

And like that part of your soul that is above, so that part that is in you should fear these predatory thoughts. Let your soul cried out with a great and hitting cry with in the confines of your heart, and they will be stopped in their tracks, and you will enter into a holy prayer space. (Chovat HaTalmidim)

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