So many of you commented on “busyness” that I wanted to flip the coin and look at its opposite. In my granddaughter’s gymkhana class there is a technique called freeze. They are teaching our very active three-year-old to stop at the end of an action and hold her pose. It’s a kind of child’s meditation to help build core muscles, balancing skills and officially end her very busy actions.
In traditional Jewish practice, we have a built-in observance to transform our movement from doing to being. Shabbat encourages us to take one day each week to simply respect the world as we find it, not making or destroying but instead to simply be with what is.
My favored form of being is called meditation. There are hundreds of forms of meditation taught today and another time I will tell you about my lengthy search through them to find the Jewish path that I utilize today.
Classical Jewish meditation goes back as far as the biblical vision of Ezekiel and the creation in Genesis. Authentic Jewish meditative practice developed over the centuries in the same way as our rituals developed, it’s just that meditation isn’t and wasn’t as accessible to the everyday Jew. The most common contemplative Jewish practices focus on a Hebrew phrase or one of the holy Names.
The common thread running through all meditative traditions is mastering contemplation to slow down the motion of our discursive thoughts, giving us tools to reflect inward and find our true essence of existence.
It’s a lifetime of non-effort. To quote the golfer, Walter Hagen, “You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry and don't forget to stop and smell the roses.”