Meditation – Jewish traditions


Stillness and silence:  Psalm 65:2: l’cha dumia tehillh, “to You silence is praise” (‘Reclaiming Judaism’)* 

Mediation exercise:

  1. Decide to spend 15-20 minutes every day to stay still in silence.
    2. Choose a time of the day which suits you (a quiet time, not too late at night when you may fall asleep).
    3. Choose the same place to meditate. You may want to close your eyes.
    4. At the beginning of each meditation ask God to be with you. You may want to focus on your breathing.
    5. Stay faithful to this exercise in times when you are sad, you experience emptiness, despair, confusion or happiness, love and fulfillment.

What shall I do during my 20 minutes?

Start by concentrating on your breathing and on the life that moves your body from the beginning of your life.
1. Name emotions that move your body, for example, ‘I feel despair’ or ‘I feel excitement’.
2. Name thoughts that come to your mind. Letting them come to you easily and leave your mind easily.
3. Your mind may sometimes be critical towards yourself. Be compassionate toward yourself.

If you become self critical let yourself to come back to loving and compassionate feelings. Self-criticism or  internal punishing voices are a result of our own emotions, being split from our conscious mind. Be compassionate to those voices and direct attention to the compassionate love of God.

With a deeper understanding of the human brain, our psychological knowledge has considerably improved regarding our spiritual wellbeing.

Mediation can increase your self-awareness and minimise your projections of your own states of mind on the reality we call God. With time, practising mediation, we become more aware of how our own experience of human relationships influences our own relation to God. For example, someone who had a domineering parent may perceive God to be domineering and cruel; someone who had abandoning or disinterested parent may perceive God as non-existent or abandoning, and so on.

The more we practise meditation the more we start to be aware that these states of mind are coming from us and we are developing an interest in who He really is. You may start to notice the beauty of creation. You may argue about your own mortality and your own limitations.

You may choose to focus on a religious text. You may want to choose a part that speaks about the love and compassion of God and omit texts that you don’t understand as we simply may not understand the historical contexts or literary symbolism of the text. We need to remember that people before us struggled with the same questions and were in similar states of mind and, as we are, they were influenced by their socio-historical context.

*Some suggestions Reclaiming Judaism