Y.E.S. / Kavana

What is the Y.E.S. Principle?

(Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Energy Healing by Michael Andron and Ben Andron)

I summarize a simple formula for success in spiritual practice and energy healing with the acronym Y.E.S.: Yield, Energize, Sweeten. Simply stated: yield, or let go of the ego and accept a greater body of wisdom; energize by separating yourself meditatively from your material reality and logging onto the WEB, and sweeten reality by sharing some of the energy and light you’ve brought back.

The Y.E.S. principle is my version of a teaching by Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Ba’al Shem Tov or Master of The Good Name. He was an eighteenth- century practical mystic and the father of the Hassidic movement, a more mystical branch of Jewish Orthodoxy. While the Kabbalistic world wants to bring heaven down to Earth, the Hassidic world wants to bring humanity up to God, a more populist approach.

The principle is very simple, and I’ve seen it in many versions in a myriad of traditions. Most schools of meditation, inner development, and spiritual growth would agree with the first two of these elements without hesitation. The third seems to be less universal.

We begin the process by yielding. The ego is useful as the mask or face we present to the world. We require an ego to function in the day-to-day world, but it can be a barrier to the selflessness that’s necessary for energy healing.

At the same time that we’re working on letting go of the ego, we prepare
to accept the responsibility or burden of living our lives by a higher set of values. We yield to a source of knowledge greater than ourselves. For some people, this can be a religious calling. For others, it’s a philosophical one, like the oath to “do no harm” doctors take. Think of this as the stage in which we prepare the chariot of our energy matrix to log on to the WEB. But it must be done from a posture of yielding.

Because we’ve achieved the 8hz brain waves in the first stage, we can utilize our meditative skills to phase-lock with the heartbeat of the earth and log on to the WEB. Our goal in the second stage is to energize our energy matrix and take off to the highest levels of the WEB we can reach. There, we can receive whatever wisdom we’re ready for, and download it into our energy matrix, which involves a lot of hard work and time.

When we’re prepared we come to the third stage, which is the most important one, in my opinion. Every meditative school in the world will tell you about the first two stages. Many of them are content to reach that level of selflessness in their metaphorical caves in the mountains. But I believe that the real work begins when you come back down to Earth. We have to bring that wisdom down from out there and share it so that the higher energy can be used to sweeten and repair the world. Energy healing is a beautiful and meaningful way to do it.

Giving Doesn’t Mean Losing

The famous “love professor” and philosopher Leo Buscaglia once said, “If I taught you everything that I know, I’d still know everything that I know!” Well, that’s true in healing, too. If I share/channel all the energy I can during a healing, I still have all the energy I had, plus the additional, wonderful feeling of having helped to sweeten someone’s life a little.

It’s not enough to strive for your own personal body-mind-spirit growth. That can easily make you self-centered and selfish. The goal of the Y.E.S. principle is to remind us to try to reach for something higher, but with the added commitment to bring that higher light back down into your energy matrix and share it, to leave the world a little better off than when you got here. To quote an ancient Jewish proverb, “You don’t have to finish that work, but you’re not free to abandon it.” That is energy healing at its best.

So remember: just say Y.E.S.!

Kavana or Intention: The Art of Aiming the Mind

(Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Energy Healing by Michael Andron and Ben Andron)

Intention is an essential and fundamental tool for the energy healer. Just
as it requires intent to lift your arm by activating neurons and muscles, so the movement of energy in healing requires intent. Energy healing doesn’t happen without the expressed intention of the healer, first to attune to their own energy matrix, then to attune to the WEB, and finally to phase-lock with the energy matrix of the patient to facilitate the flow of healing energy.

As I mentioned in Chapter 7 of The Essential Guide to Energy Healing, there is a Hebrew word for intention: kavana. It comes from the Hebrew root ‘kē’vun’ which means aim or direction. It is considered indispensible to prayer and meditation. The renowned mystic master, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, states: “Kavana is everything. The revival of kavana is the revival of the world … every act that perfects the world is embraced in it.”

Every system of energy healing has its own methodology for training intention. It can begin with something as simple as counting the duration of each inhalation and exhalation. Or it could involve training in ocular divergence, reciting a mantra, gazing at a yantra, doing mindfulness meditation, playing an instrument, or doing a T’ai Chi form. Any and all of these are valid. Intent is the least tangible and perhaps the most essential tool for energy healing.

Regardless of how you train for it, I believe that proper intent or Kavana requires three basic qualities: disciplined spiritual imagination.

  • Intent/Kavana requires that the mind is disciplined enough to be silent when you need it to be, allowing you to hear that still, small voice within.
  • Intent/Kavana must be spiritually directed for its use in energy healing, though it will also impact many other endeavors including playing an instrument, engaging in a sport, designing a new app, or presenting a case before a jury.
  • Intent/Kavana requires imagination. With regard to intent and energy healing, imagination doesn’t refer to making something up, but rather the ability to hold an image still and focused in the mind, without expectation or agenda.

It is fair to say that any system of energy healing that does not include the subject of intent in the training protocol will be the poorer for it.

Tora Dojo Karate

Although Dr. Andron, after 36 years, has “retired” from teaching regular weekly classes in Tora Dojo, he is still available to answer your questions and direct you to the nearest class. He also still teaches classes in Kavana and Jewish Meditation. If you have any questions, please email us at mandron@mac.com
Why Karate with TDA Karate courses can be taken almost anywhere these days, and our violent times offer more than enough reason to enroll in one of them. The Tora Dojo Martial Arts Association (TDA), offers more than just a means to learn self-defense. Along with the superior instruction the student receives, a special mentality develops. If the student is serious, this mentality and outlook will last a lifetime. In our highly pressured world the correct mental attitude is just as essential for survival as knowing how to defend oneself.

The TDA also offers a totally unique reason for taking Karate. We teach Jewish karate, not just karate taught by Jews.

Tora Dojo Karate is unique: it stresses physical and mental discipline, classical Chinese style martial arts, merged with a vigorous Jewish spirit and Jewish “mystical” philosophy.

The student develops a Jewish essence that fosters religious identity and awareness. The student is proud to be a Jew. The connection between Judaic principles and martial arts philosophy is symbolized by the style wide logo. The logo depicts the words “Tora Dojo” with hands in the formal bow position within a Torah scroll. The word “Tora” means”tiger” in Japanese and, of course, refers to our bible. The word “Dojo” simply means “school of martial arts”. The hands in the formal bow represent our concept of hard and soft techniques blending to form a superior fighting system.

For beginners, TDA teaches the Kempo style which incorporates a mixture of Japanese and Chinese martial arts. Students learn blocking, punching, striking and kicking techniques and forms. We teach our students that it takes more courage sometimes to walk away from a fight than it does to fight!!!

Instructors and Their Qualifications

The Tora Dojo Martial Arts Association (TDA) originated more than forty years ago as a small self-defense group at Yeshiva University in New York City. Since then Grand Master Professor H. I. Sober, the style’s founder, has molded the group into the largest martial arts association of its kind. Classes are taught throughout the New York metropolitan area, Israel, and Los Angeles. Articles about Tora Dojo have been featured in highly circulated publications around the world, including the New York Times and the Jerusalem Post.

Progress and Advancement

A most commonly asked question by people who start training in any martial art is “How fast do I get to Black Belt?” TDA is not a commercial enterprise in which practitioners are promoted just so they would keep attending and paying dues. We try to instill the idea that the color of the belt around your waist is not as important as the skills you possess, and the good intentions in your heart. We try to explain to our students that what counts is the quality of the techniques we teach, and not how fast and how many new belts are awarded. Nonetheless, we do have a traditional grading system, from White Belt to Black Belt. It is totally dependent on the student’s skill and diligence as to how fast progress is made. On the average, it could take anywhere between six and ten years of practice to attain Black Belt. It may seem like a long time compared to some storefront karate schools that guarantee a Black Belt within three years, but Black Belts produced by TDA have a great feeling of accomplishment and self-assurance that comes from knowing all the hard work and training that went into their achievements. The ranks from white belt to Black Belts are: White, yellow, green, purple (2 levels), brown (3 levels) and Black

To Parents Of Prospective Young Students:

Dear Parents,

Have you ever told your children that they cannot go out and play until their homework is done? Probably! Have you ever told them that they cannot practice piano until their homework is done? Probably not! As parents, we have the responsibility to determine the relative value of our children’s activities and to set priorities.

Your child is now entering a new and exciting adventure in personal growth: the study of Tora Dojo Karate, as developed and taught at Yeshiva University for over 30 years. The study of this art — not sport — is not merely play, although we know your child will have fun in the process. The Art of Karate represents educational challenges on many levels.

Some of the educational skills we have observed develop in Karate classes include:

  • Listening skills: s/he doesn’t listen in class!
  • Eye contact skills: s/he’s looking at everything but what the teacher says to look at!
  • Eye-hand coordination skills, which influence writing and math performance.
  • Concentration skills, which carry over to all branches of learning.
  • Self-discipline, self-confidence and self-esteem, which improve over-all academic achievement.

We have often observed ‘C’ students blossom into ‘A’ students as a direct result of serious dedication to the Art of Karate. In addition to general educational skills, the uniquely Jewish side of Tora Dojo Karate has an influence. The Talmud directs parents to teach their children to swim, since that particular skill may save a life someday. Unfortunately, the same holds true for self-defense in this violent and sometimes crazy world of ours. A few years ago I addressed an assembly of a local Yeshiva High School. I asked the audience of over 200 how many of them have ever been told to “daven with Kavana” (i.e., to pray with directed consciousness). Every hand in the room (including those of the Rabbis) went up. Then I asked how many of them had ever been taught HOW to develop this Kavana. Not one hand went up! Your child is being taught how to focus, how to develop Kavana skills, to connect with his/her Jewish-ness in a unique way: to unify body, mind and spirit by striving to master a physical discipline, with a mental thrust, that is spiritual: the Art of Tora Dojo Karate.

In addition to Kavana training, themes and ‘midot’ (character qualities) are explored:
* Kibud, respect of parents, teachers, fellow students, family and friends
* Hishtavut, mental and emotional centering
* Hesed/Gevurah balance, the balanced use of strength and compassion
* Pikuach Nefesh, the tremendous worth of human life

It is for all these reasons that we ask your cooperation in helping your child succeed. If possible: Please! Do not use Karate as punishment or leverage to get your child to do his homework or other activities that you –rightfully– value. It is very difficult to get your child to take this self-discipline seriously when piano practice or taking out the garbage is placed above it. From our side, we emphasize the importance of school homework, preparation for exams (in advance, so they don’t miss Karate nights) and academic excellence in general. If you are having a problem, please don’t just keep the child home. Sometimes a word from the Karate teacher can have a powerful impact in the child’s academic world. Work together with your child’s teacher. Please! Try to have your child at every class — on time. If you value their attendance, they will too and adopt a greater sense of responsibility. Obviously, also, they will learn better if they are there! Please! Encourage your child to practice 15-20 minutes a day. Think of Karate as piano lessons which require your encouragement, not just after-school ‘baby-sitting’. Please! Remind them to respect the discipline and self-discipline taught in the class: have fun; do what the teacher says; DO ask questions; Don’t answer back. Occasionally, a student is not ready to begin the study of martial arts. This might happen due to developmental or coordination problems, socialization skills, and so forth. The teacher will discuss this with you as soon as it becomes obvious. Please understand that we would only ask that you remove the child from the class if it were in the child’s best interests. If you believe your child is mis-using what s/he has learned, please contact the teacher immediately so that you can work together to solve the problem.

We also encourage you to spend some time going over our Tora-Torah comments on the weekly portion from the Torah with Tora Dojo insights. Just click on Tora-Torah and go to the Parsha of the week you wish to access.

Wishing your child great hatzlacha and enjoyment.

Additional Essays

The Way of the Jewish Peaceful Warrior

On Random Acts of Sweetening

On Destiny and Wise Little Souls