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Is there a Jewish way to meditate?

by Rabbi Dovber Pinson

  

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Jews do meditate. Yet there is no one way of Jewish meditation.

There are various methods of Jewish meditation. They range from simple meditations, such as replacing mundane thoughts with loftier reflection, to the more sophisticated meditations whence one reaches a higher state of awareness and consciousness.

The scope of Jewish meditation encompasses intellectual meditation and emotional meditation, body-movement meditation to transcendental meditation, and many more.

The word "meditation" calls to mind the traditional, obvious associations that society has accumulated, such as the lotus position, the mantras and the like. In addition to the traditional methods of meditation, which finds resonance in Jewish meditation, the idea of meditation is so prevalent within so many of the common Jewish practices which we call the mitzvahs.

Meditation is derived from the Latin word Medi - Center. To meditate is to discover and align our center of being with the actions that express who we are in life. It is to get in touch with the true self that animates our life and not the false self that manifests as the ego and which derives its identity from the externals, i.e.; things, titles, and so on. Through meditation life can be lived more authentically by discovering our potential and by relating to the external from the internal. Ostensibly, if one's ground of being is outer directed then it is logical to infer that the only interaction with the outer world is the external carapace that one has put in place, minimizing the role of the Self.

...the idea of meditation is so prevalent within so many of the common Jewish practices which we call the mitzvahs
The Hebrew word most commonly used to connote meditation is Hitbodedut - translated as isolation, being alone. Drawing inwards. Given the way we operate, we are filled with the noise of the world to the point that we derive our sense of being alive from it. To be alone and to have stillness is frightening for most people. Meditation weans one from the dependency on the external and redirects the focus inward. Jewish meditation is designed to focus on the center of all reality, the Creator, and to forge a connection between the self and G-d. n Hebrew, the word most commonly used to connote meditation is "Hitbodedut"--translated as isolation, being alone, or drawing inwards. Given the way we operate, we are filled with the noise of the world to the point that we derive our sense of life from it. To be alone and to have stillness is frightening for most people.

Meditation weans one from the dependency on the external and redirects the focus inward. Jewish meditation is designed to focus on the center of all reality, the Creator, and to forge a connection between the self and G-d.

TAGS: meditation

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pray

Posted by: Matisyahu, Ogema, WI on Feb 03, 2006

You talked about diffrent ways of praying, like the movement one. what is the purpose for men to rock while they pray. I understand humility to the name of elohim, but why so many times. what is the real purpose

todah rabah

Editor's Comment

See "What is the significance of swaying back and forth during prayer?" (http://www.askmoses.com/qa_detail.html?h=579&o=1667248)

RELATED CATEGORIES

Torah » Kabbalah » Meditation

G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.