Posted by Devorah Steinberg
Have you heard of Jewish meditation? Yes, it does exist! Jewish meditation is a practice that provides a beautiful mix of insight, spirituality, mindfulness, and connection with Jewish words, teachings, prayers, and rituals. For me, it's a combination of so many things that I love! I have been meditating for 35 years and when I discovered Jewish meditation about 20 years ago, I felt like I had found the gold at the end of the rainbow.
I have heard it said that prayer is speaking to G-d, and meditation is listening for a response. This feels true to me. I love and appreciate the opportunity to be quiet, present, and open to enjoy the peaceful communing with G-d and myself, while focusing on my breath and Hebrew phrases, teachings or "mantras" (many people are familiar with the traditional Sanskrit mantras used in Hindu or Buddhist meditation.)
Jewish meditation has been an inroad into knowing myself and to directly experiencing a more mystical side of Judaism, which has been very meaningful not only for me but also for those I have been teaching for the past fifteen years. When the body is overwrought or bound-up, or when the thoughts are too loud, fast, and debilitating, meditation is an amazing tool to calm the mind and find a peaceful place inside. This is especially helpful if one struggles with finding a place that feels that way inside him- or herself, when struggling with physical pain, illness, or emotional or mental challenges.
Want to experience Jewish meditation for yourself? Join Chaverim Shel Shalom, a social group for adults with psychiatric illnesses, on June 4 at the Center Communities of Brookline for an evening of community, sharing, and Jewish meditation, a practice that we can learn and experience together. The event is free but registration is required. RSVP to Laura Shulman Brochstein by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 781-693-5004.