Jewish Meditation Practices for Everyday Life: Awakening Your Heart, Connecting with God

Overview

Awaken your heart and mind to see your own capacity for wisdom, compassion, and kindness.

“When we awaken to our own light, it becomes possible to develop real wisdom about our life. As wisdom allows us to see clearly, our hearts break open with compassion for the struggles of our own lives and the lives of all beings. Awakened with wisdom and compassion, we are impelled to live our lives with kindness, and we are led to do whatever we can to repair the brokenness of our world.”...

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Overview

Awaken your heart and mind to see your own capacity for wisdom, compassion, and kindness.

“When we awaken to our own light, it becomes possible to develop real wisdom about our life. As wisdom allows us to see clearly, our hearts break open with compassion for the struggles of our own lives and the lives of all beings. Awakened with wisdom and compassion, we are impelled to live our lives with kindness, and we are led to do whatever we can to repair the brokenness of our world.”
—from the Introduction

At last, a fresh take on meditation that draws on life experience and living life with greater clarity rather than the traditional method of rigorous study.

Based on twenty-five years of bringing meaningful spiritual practice to the Jewish community, well-known meditation teacher and practitioner Rabbi Jeff Roth presents Jewish contemplative techniques that foster the development of a heart of wisdom and compassion. This contemporary approach to meditation—accessible to both beginners and experts alike—focuses on using the distilled wisdom of Buddhism and Judaism as a way to learn from life experience. By combining these two traditions, he presents a model that allows westerners—both Jews and non-Jews—to embrace timeless Eastern teachings without sacrificing their birth traditions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580233972
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 676,844
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Jeff Roth, a well-known meditation practitioner, teacher and facilitator of Jewish retreats, is founder and director of the Awakened Heart Project for Contemplative Judaism. He co-founder of Elat Chayyim, where he served as executive director and spiritual director for thirteen years.

Rabbi Jeff Roth is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Jewish Meditation
  • Jewish Meditation Shabbaton or Weekend
  • Introduction to Jewish Mysticism
  • Mystical Approaches to Prayer
  • Contemporary Jewish Mystical Theology
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Wake Up 1

Are You a Mystic? 3

1 Waking Up in the Midst of Your Life 7

You Have All That You Need 7

Choosing Your Thoughts 8

The Beginning of My Own Journey to My Heart 9

The Heron Who Thought He Was a Chicken 13

Watch Out What You Wish For 14

2 Beginning a Practice 19

Two Different Forms of Meditation: Concentration and Awareness 20

Setting Your Intention to Experience the Divine 25

Breathing and the Divine Presence 29

Chanting the Divine Name 30

Anchoring the Mind in the Here and Now 32

The Importance of the Breath 33

Helpful Exercises and Techniques 36

3 The Nature of Mind 41

Limited Awareness versus Expanded Awareness 42

Sensations, Feeling Tone, Mental Formations, and Perception 43

The Reality of Pleasant and Unpleasant Sensations 44

Who Can I Blame for My Problems? 46

Can You Trust Your Perceptions? 47

The Self-Serving Nature of Most Thoughts 48

Don't Believe Everything You Think about Yourself 51

Altered States and Mystical Experiences 57

Warnings for Potential Mystics 61

The Reward of Insights 63

Be Careful When You Speak Your Mind 65

The Annual Forty-Day Program of Purification 68

4 Making the Darkness Conscious 73

The Evil Inclination 75

The Serious and Beautiful Problem of Your Childish Consciousness 80

Getting a Handle on Your Yetzer: The Process of Naming 82

Just Grin and Bear It 86

Learn to Be with Hard Feelings 89

Working with the Yetzer by Cultivating Restraint 93

The Debilitating Nature of Doubt 95

5 Embracing the Divine 101

Everything Is God and Nothing but God 101

The Organic Model of the Divine 102

Socialized Meditation Practice 108

TheFourfold Nature of Divine Oneness 111

A Guided Meditation of Peak Experience 130

6 Prayer and Meditation 135

Cultivating Wholesome Mind States 136

Intention in Prayer versus Attachment to Results 138

Starting Your Contemplative Prayer Practice 139

Prayer Is a Ladder That Connects You and God 141

The Prayers 143

7 A Blessing Practice 163

Escaping from Egypt 163

Cultivating a Heart Full of Peace 164

Experience the Power of Giving Blessings 167

Be a Source of Blessing for All Beings 168

Using the Blessing Practice 169

A Guided Meditation for Experiencing Peace (Shalom) 171

A Guided Meditation for Experiencing Joy (Simcha) 172

A Guided Meditation for Experiencing Lovingkindness (Chesed) 173

A Guided Meditation for Experiencing Compassion (Rahamim) 173

Blessing All Beings 174

Sending Blessings to Difficult People 178

A Note on Keeping the Heart Open 180

Trying Not to Waste Any Blessings 180

Blessings on the Subway and at the Airport 181

A Special Note 182

8 L'chayyim-Into Life 185

The Benefits of Regular Meditation Retreats 185

Using the Sabbath as a Day of Deep Practice 187

Creating a Well-Rounded Spiritual Life 188

Torah-Recognizing the Truth as the Path to Acquiring Wisdom 188

Practice Awareness All the Time 189

Practicing Eating Meditation 190

As You Walketh by the Way 192

It Is Very Hard to Do This Work Alone 194

Working with Pain 195

Avodah-Cultivating an Open Heart 198

Cultivating Generosity 199

The Result of Practice: Deeds of Lovingkindness-Gemilut Hasadim 201

No End, Just a Journey 202

Appendix A Psalm 145 205

Appendix B Resources for Further Learning 207

Notes 209

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