My Jewish Meditation
Aron Gamman, Columbus, Ohio firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Core Practices of Minyan of Rabbi Rami Shapiro
. Avodah Bi-Bittul (Disciple of Self-Annihilation)
- Meditation – Time alone, as end of thought, time to pause. Standing or sitting. As softening the ego, seeing yourself in the context of the divine, not necessarily erasing self. Ending separation for a period of time. Meditation very Jewish as preparation for prayer. Often referred to as:
- hāgâ (Hebrew: הגה) also means to murmur or sigh
- sîhâ (Hebrew: שיחה), which means to muse, or rehearse in one’s mind.)
Bereshit (Genesis) 24:63-”And Isaac went out to MEDITATE (sîhâ) in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes and saw, and, behold the camels were coming.”
-hitbonenuth – self-understanding – often used to refer to meditative activities such as focusing on objects
-hitbodedut (lit. “self-seclusion”, Hebrew התבודדות- Sensory deprivation can cause meditative state
- Begin by focusing on lower body-breathing in belly, sometimes associated with lower 4 sephirot: right and left hip, groin and feet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malkuth, respectively.
- Apply body awareness to start and deep belly breathing — not shallow from upper chest or throat.. Sit crossed legged or in a chair, even lay back whatever is most conducive to task.
. Gerushin (Dispelling)
Repetition – As anchor of meditation practice, repetition of sacred phrase as well as in everyday life. Method of mental focus, filtering out distractions. Examples:
• Rabono shel olam – Master of the Universe
• Shema Yisrael; Adnoai Eloheynu; Adonai echad – Listen Israel, the God Eternal, The Eternal is One.
• Shalom – Peace
• Baruch Ata Adonai – Blessed are you, Eternal One
• Harachaman – Merciful One
Start with 5-10 minute sit, try to each a goal 20-30 minutes a day, prior to regular prayer or other practices that require focus.
. Kavvanah (Intent)
Attention, Mindful action – Many definitions in literature. Learning how to get out of your own way. Focusing on task at hand. Maimonides describes it as affinity for avodah bi-bittul. Time for you to punctuate the day or return to your self.
. Kaplan, Aryeh, Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide. Schocken Books, New York, 1985.
. Roth, Rabbi Jeff, Jewish Meditation Practice for Everyday Life.Jewish Lights, Woodstock, VT, 2009.
. Shapiro, Rabbi Rami M., Minyan: Ten Principles for Living a Life of Integrity, Bell Tower, New York, 1997.
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