Meditation

Those who have died, entered the paradise between births, are in a condition resembling meditation without an external object. But in the fullness of time, the seeds of desire in them will spring up, and they will be born again into this world.

First practice the presence of God in daily life by making your meditation very deep. It is better to meditate a little bit with depth than to mediate long with the mind running here and there. If you do not make an effort to control the mind it will go on doing as it pleases, no matter how long you sit to meditate.

God has not be earned. He has only to be sought. Meditation is the only way. Beliefs, reading books — these cannot give you realization. ... Meditation brings proof of the existence of God. ... The more you meditate the more you will feel the endless joy of God.

Ignorant devotees who have visions of lesser deities in meditation do not know that all those forms are merely temporary, meager manifestations of the essentially unmanifested Spirit. They concentrate on the finite forms of the Infinite God and thus, in their minds, limit Him... He who worships God merely as a finite form will not attain the transcendental divine union with His infinite nature.

The wise do not expect to reap everlasting happiness from friends, beloved family, or dear possessions! The forms of loved ones are snatched away by death. Material objects turn out to be meaningless when one becomes used to them; or when, in old age, the senses grow unappreciative, powerless. Concentrate on the immortal Spirit through meditation and find there a harvest of eternal, ever new peace!

Among the values of meditation is that it carries consciousness down to a deeper level, thus letting man live from his center, not his surface alone. The result is that the physical sense-reactions do not dominate his outlook wholly, as they do an animal's. Mind begins to rule them. This leads more and more to self-control, self-knowledge, and self-pacification.

It is only when we begin to relax with ourselves that meditation becomes a transformative process. Only when we relate with ourselves without moralizing, without harshness, without deception, can we let go of harmful patterns.

Well, it starts with being willing to feel what we are going through. It starts with being willing to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of ourselves that we feel are not worthy of existing on the planet. If we are willing through meditation to be mindful not only of what feels comfortable, but also of what pain feels like, if we even aspire to stay awake and open to what we're feeling, to recognize and acknowledge it as best we can in each moment, then something begins to change.

What's encouraging about meditation is that even if we shut down, we can no longer shut down in ignorance. We see very clearly that we're closing off. That in itself begins to illuminate the darkness of ignorance.

Some people think that meditation takes time away from physical
accomplishment. Taken to extremes, of course, that's true. Most people,
however, find that meditation creates more time than it takes.

We tend to think of meditation in only one way. But life itself is a meditation.

Love is seeing God in the person next to us, and meditation is seeing God within us.

You give up not meditating. It's called meditation action. There's no way out of it. Meditation means to be constantly extricating yourself from the clinging of mind.

My breast I am smiting,
My own sins indicting.
How then canst Thou draw me
To strife and thus awe me,
And bring Me to judgment?

My branch hangeth ailing,
My eyelid is failing,
My aims to derision
Are turned by the vision
Of Thee bringing judgment.

The creditor calleth,
The dread decree falleth,
The awful day breaking
God’s creatures sets quaking
In fear of His judgment.

Through Thy attributes preaching,
Almighty, and teaching,
O weigh aberration
In the scale of salvation,
Nor bring us to judgment.

In Thy merciful fashion
Award us compassion,
That man who but dust is
May handle with justice
The haters of judgment.

Like a vapour evanished,
Man is melted and banished,
His birth is coëval
With a harvest of evil,
’Tis Thou must bring judgment.

We await—O behold us—
Thy love to enfold us.
Did Thy warning not hasten
Our impulse to chasten?
For the Lord loveth judgment.

In the Talmud (some 1800 years ago) it is said that the holy men of old would sit for an hour before prayer. We don’t have an exact idea of what they were doing, but it was probably a kind of contemplative practice. In the Prophets, Elijah says God doesn’t appear in a thundering storm cloud but in a still, small voice. The primary unpronounced name of God in Hebrew is made up of vowel letters that are sounds of the breath itself. The name denotes Being itself. The very rejection of idol worship is akin to liberation from attachment. Hasidism was a popularization of Jewish mysticism or kabbalah. It originated in eastern Europe in the 18th century and drew on a long and complex history of Jewish meditative literature and practice. Hasidism emphasized practicing with intentionality. It taught a notion of dissolution of ego, expanding consciousness, through ecstatic practices but also through contemplative practices.

We are not Hasidim, but we are inspired by their teachings. I work with a colleague, Rabbi Jonathan Slater, who teaches a weekly course unpacking Hasidism as a mindfulness practice. Was what we think of as mindfulness meditation exactly what they were doing? Probably not. We integrate other contemporary influences into our worldview such as pluralism, egalitarianism, feminism. But we are in their lineage. The Zohar, the classic mystical text, says that there is no place devoid of God’s presence. The Hasidim say: the whole world is filled with glory. If one is able to come to awareness, one is able to realize one is in God’s presence.

God created one human being, who was male and female. That means ultimately all of us are interconnected. That there is one God means we are all connected. Individual well-being depends on the greater well-being of everyone. There is no separation. This is a call for inclusion. Jews see it as including the weaker, the marginal, the orphans, the stranger. We were slaves in Egypt. Our task is not to replicate Egyptian power. We are free so we can operate differently, and not replicate slavery. Judaism is a complex, ongoing civilization, in which there is more than one view. Judaism is a religion of interpretation. We believe interpretation is part of the unfolding of creation and Divine creativity. Our interpretive tradition draws a connection between spirituality and social justice.

The kinds of spiritual practices we can undertake are limitless. However, ultimately the form is less important than these factors: the commitment to practice, the ability to keep returning to the intention, the attitude one brings to the uncontrollable and the ability to transfer the benefits of the practice into how we live our lives, how we relate to ourselves and others, how free we become to embody the values and ideals we embrace in our minds, how we deal with temptations of all sorts. In other words we practice to live with the wisdom and compassion, which we already possess. We practice to actualize the pure soul, which God has planted with us.

As God sets the soul in this dark night… He allows it not to find attraction or sweetness in anything whatsoever. God transfers to the spirit the good things and the strength of the senses… if it is not immediately conscious of spiritual sweetness and delight, but only of aridity and lack of sweetness, the reason for this is the strangeness of the exchange. #6. If those souls to whom this comes to pass knew how to be quiet at this time… then they would delicately experience this inward refreshment in that ease and freedom from care… it is like the air which, if one would close one’s hand upon it, escapes. In this state of contemplation… it is God Who is now working in the soul. He binds its interior faculties, and allows it not to cling to the understanding, nor to have delight in the will, nor to reason with the memory. God communicates… by pure spirit. From this time forward imagination and fancy can find no support in any meditation.

If the memory is annihilated, the devil is powerless, and it liberates us from a lot of sorrow, affliction and sadness.

All the good we do, we do for love of God, and the evil we avoid, we avoid for love of God.