A GUIDED VISUALIZATION © Rabbi Susan Freeman, 2003
Close your eyes and take several slow deep breaths. Feel your body as being very heavy. Take a few minutes to go through each body part, feet to head, and feel the heaviness, the weight of every limb, every bone . . .
You were a slave once in the land of Egypt. Remember when you were a slave among slaves. Go back. You were pressed hard: “Ruthlessly they made life bitter for [you] with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field. Va-yemar-reru et- chai-yay-hem ba-avodah kashah b’chomer u’vil-vay-neem u’ve-chol avodah ba-sah-deh et kol avo-dah-tam asher avdu va-hem be-farech” (Exodus 1:14)
Rub your fingers together. Feel the muddy dirt between your fingertips. Imagine the mud on your skin, the streaks of dirt on your arms and your legs, the crusty sweat on your brow. Note the muddiness on the surface of your body, but realize that this is not what is of most concern to you.
What is most troubling is a feeling of sluggishness circulating through you. The feeling of being a slave, being pressed. “And the taskmasters pressed [you] . . . V’ha-nog-seem atzeem . . . “ (Exodus 5:13)
It’s as if the mud fills your mind and body, as well.
The words of Pharaoh swirl through your head . . . “Be off now to your work! No straw shall be issued to you, but you must produce your quota of bricks!” (Exodus 5:18)
“You must not reduce your daily quantity of bricks. Lo tee-gre-u mi-liv-nay-chem d’’var yom b’’yomo.” (Exodus 5:19)
You feel heavy, weighted down by the imprisoning experience of being a slave.
Though you feel heavy and weighted down, you have an intense desire to be alleviated of your burdens; to be released from what is pressing down on you; to wash away the bitterness . . . wash away the mud.
You want to wash away the mud . . . From your skin, from your brow. Wash away the mud that fills your mind and body . . . Wash away the sluggishness circulating through you . . .
Words, emotions are stirring inside you. What are they? Listen to your inner voice. You can ask for help, you can call out. There is a Power, a Loving Force to help lift you, to help transform your burdens. The Mysterious embrace of God will receive and envelop your pain. What do your words say; what does your silence express? Listen. What do you hear?
Your intense desire to go free propels you along as a certain momentum builds in the environment around you. The momentum propelling you is the swelling wave of sentiment that surrounds you – to go; to leave the mud, the bricks, the bitterness and slavery behind.
Release the bricks in your arms and allow your bent-over body to straighten. Brush off the dirt from your skin, dry your brow. Breathe easier as you join in the journey away from slavery, towards freedom.
You are journeying away from slavery towards the sea, towards freedom.
As you glimpse the sea, you feel compelled to go towards the water. You feel an urge for the water to wash over your skin. Hurry to the water, splash some of the cool, cleansing water over you. Pour handfuls of water through your hair; splash water on your face, your shoulders; scoop water over your back . . .
The water is refreshing. Your skin is tingling, soothed. And you step away from the water.
Still, you want to clear the sense of muddiness from your mind; the internal, clogging feeling of heaviness.
It is night now. Lie down on the shore of the sea, away from the water. Still hold on to the feeling, the image of clear, refreshing water. Imagine this clear purity flowing through your body, cleansing your mind. A flow that is pure, clear, refreshing. Feel the clarity circulating through your veins, your arteries. Clarity of mind, clarity of body . . .
It is while you are lying down on the shore of the sea that the passageway to freedom is being prepared for you. As you prepare yourself, so too, the passage to freedom is opening.
“Then Moses held out his held out his arm over the sea and the Eternal drove back the sea with a strong east wind all that night, and turned the sea into dry ground.” (Exodus 14:21)
It is morning now. The water that you had poured and splashed over you the day before is no longer there. “The waters were split. Va-yee-bak-u ha-ma-yeem.” (Exodus 14:21) And the sense of water flowing, washing through you is gone as well. Whatremains is breath, clear breath – air which circulates freely around you, inside of you. Breathe in deeply; and exhale fully.
Breathe in deeply; and exhale fully. Enjoy your breathing; enjoy its fullness, its lightness.
“And the Israelites went in to the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22)
The walls surrounding you are water, yet they are totally secured by Divine Will. The massive ocean waves, the watery depths have obeyed the will of the Almighty. You fear no harm. You feel protected, as if a sturdy hand is guiding you.
Walk through the passageway to freedom. Walk along the dry ground. Walk through the walls of water on your right and on your left. Walk through the passageway to freedom.
The fullness of the experience of freedom envelops you. You are more aware than ever before. You feel certainty of God’s presence, God’s role in your journey.
When, shortly after you have walked through the passageway to freedom, God speaks, you know these words to be true:“I, the Eternal One, am your healer. Ani Adonai ro-feh-cha.” (Exodus 15:26)
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