2113 Healing the Dead Meditation (print)

Communication with the dead has been accomplished through dreams for thousands of years. Kabbalists frequently use active imagination to enter unknown realms. This process is based on the kabbalistic principal that our imaginations are connected with higher realities. Today we call this method "waking dreams," the process of actively engaging an altered state of consciousness that simulates the experience of dreams. In fact, this is an ancient method the sages used for contacting souls that have passed over the threshold of death. We can utilize the same process to connect with our own loved ones who have died. We can visit with anyone who has died, it need not be a parent or even a relative. It should, however, be someone we knew well when they were alive. This practice is especially recommended on Yom Kippur, during the yizkor (remembrance) service, when we bring to mind the memories of our parents.
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2114 Working with the Pain of Dying (print)

Most physicians these days will prescribe sufficient medication to deal with any pain involved in the dying process. Everyone has different pain tolerances and ultimately only the patient can determine her or his own comfort level. Once appropriate medication has been arranged, there are a number of complementary ways to work with pain. One of them is meditation. Guided meditation is often invaluable for people who have not had meditation experience. The secret of being a competent guide is to learn how to participate in the meditation while directing. Never simply read the words. This will not work. You must enter into the spirit of the meditation. Your own state of mind will influence your timing, voice modulation, sensitivity to the needs of the others and management of the content of the imagery. The following are examples of guided meditations that can be of particular help to some in the dying process.
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2116 Opening Knots in Our Souls (print)

How do we untie the knots of our souls? Imagine the soul as a vessel made of clear glass surrounded by light, but the glass is encased in a fabric, woven in tight knots, that prevents light from entering (or exiting). We will see later that this metaphor is inadequate, for everything is composed of light—the so-called glass itself and the fabric that surrounds it—but as a starting point, this is a useful tool for our beginning meditation practices. The imaginary fabric is often referred to in mystical teachings as “veils” that separate us from the full understanding of things. These veils are mainly composed of the “material” of our earliest conditioning, beliefs, ideas, prejudices, judgments, criticisms, desires, aspirations, hopes and fears. For must of us, the fabric is a thick mat of personality traits and ego assumptions that seem at first to be almost impenetrable.
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2117 The Meaning of Ecstatic Kabbalah

When spiritual teachers talk about “enlightenment,” they are usually referring to a quality of insight that casts the light of revealed truth onto our experiences. Some teachers suggest that enlightenment endows one with supernatural powers. Most teachings, however, are not a concerned with paranormal displays, but are focused upon an extraordinary refinement of our everyday traits and characteristics. Flying, walking through walls, and manifesting gold out of lead are interesting metaphors for the enlightened being, but what is truly astonishing is the ability to have a soft heart toward all who have caused us harm, to care deeply for all who suffer, or to turn away from revenge, hostility, or violence under all conditions.
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2118 Meditation Practice of Gazing

An almost universal goal of spiritual practice is to evoke a primordial realization: that all things are inseparably interconnected; therefore, we are never alone. The full implications of apprehending this understanding on a gut level draws us out of our sense of separation and aloneness to an extraordinary spiritual experience, known as Presence. In physics, the idea of Presence is expressed in the theory of energy. In simple terms, the entire universe is composed of the presence of energy in various forms. Each cell in our bodies is a function of energy, each breath we take, every step, every movement, every relationship, every event is an expression of energy. It is impossible to consider that we might separate ourselves from the source of energy. Indeed, even after death, our energies transmute into other energetic forms. This idea is so elementary, a universe without energy is inconceivable and absurd.
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2119 About Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia

One of the key personalities in the development of Jewish mysticism, sometimes referred to as the father of ecstatic Kabbalah, was Abraham Abulafia, born in Saragossa, Spain in the thirteenth century. The year of his birth was 1240 C.E., a symbolic year in kabbalistic cosmology, as we will see. The combined twelfth and thirteen centuries was arguably the most prolific period in the publication of kabbalistic teachings. Prior to this time, the Kabbalah was highly secretive and there were stringent rules about who could learn these mysteries. For well over a thousand years, Kabbalah had been almost entirely an oral tradition except for a handful of early manuscripts, including the Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Creation), a short, extremely esoteric writing that was composed completely in a code that even today is difficult to decipher.
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2120 Abulafia Practice with Y-H-V-H

Judaism is not well known for its contemplative practices. The primary focus for students of Judaism is and always has been the study of Talmud and Torah. Most people who have not undertaken this type of dedicated study/practice are unaware of its power as a contemplative experience. When one immerses in hours of intense talmudic engagement, the experience is often described as a mind state that exemplifies that of a meditation practitioner: expansive feelings of well being, a new level of calmness, a sharpening of one’s sensory experience and a fresh clarity of mind.
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2121 Beginning Abulafia Practice

The first two letters of the tetragrammaton are yod and hey. Together they can be sounded Yah, one of the names of God. In Exodus, it says “Yah is my strength and song,” (Ex. 15:2), and the name Yah is mentioned many times in Psalms, such as, “we will bless Yah from this time forth and for evermore.” (Ps 115:18) In English this is translated, “we will bless the Lord,” so, as described earlier, we lose in translation the nuance of this particular name. Yah is the God-characteristic that is the breath of life. We can directly experience its subtlety in our exhalations and our sighs. Stop for a moment, do a full exhalation, and simultaneously listen to the sound as you experience the inner relaxation. Sigh, without making a sound in the vocal cords and imagine an all-compassionate presence of Yah. Yah holds and embraces us, Yah is our inner source of strength, and in each breath, we bless Yah for as long as we live, which is our “forever.”
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2122 Advanced Abulafia Practice

About a month after we have been doing the first and second phases of practice, we add the sound of the last two letters of the tetragrammaton: vov and hey. The vov can be pronounced as a hard sound: Veh, or as a soft sound: Weh. In this practice, it is suggested to use the soft sound, for it can be articulated in the back of the mouth as opposed to the hard sound which requires a push forward to the lips, making it less subtle. Try it yourself. Say “vacant.” Try to say it without moving your lips; you will find this almost impossible to do. However, say the word “way.” This can be said with a minimal movement of teeth and lips.
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2123 Chanting the Shema Yisroel

All of Judaism, and in many ways, all of Western tradition can be summed up in one sentence: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is One. The emphasis of this statement is: Oneness. Kabbalah teaches that this sentence summarizes the entire Torah and all of Western mysticism. This is the essential culmination of non-duality. It is not referring to the number one, for that would suggest that there are other numbers, or that there are no numbers (the idea of zero). This oneness is inclusive—transcending numbers—embracing all ideas, it holds within it nothingness as well as infinity. It is without limit. Kabbalah refers to this oneness as Ein Sof, which means “without end.” I usually refer to this as Boundlessness.
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2124 Big Mind Practice

It is taught in Jewish mysticism that each and every blade of grass has an angel hovering above it that continuously whispers to it, “Grow! Grow!” This is an extraordinary idea. The teaching also says that, every field has its angel, every mountain has its angel, every nation, every planet, every solar system, every galaxy, and even every universe. We learn from this that while individuals are unique, each individual gives up this uniqueness when identified with a group, which has its own identity. As each group is identified with a still larger group, we ultimately come to the conclusion that everything in creation fits under one umbrella. Oneness is the soul of Judaism.
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2125 Chanting Names of the Divine

The ancient Jewish sages were quite precise and clear in saying that there is only one authentic identification for God, composed of four Hebrew letters: y-h-v-h. No attempt should be made to enunciate these letters as a name of God. Why are these sages so concerned about a word that would embrace the Divine? It is because they knew that words are by nature self-limiting. Even the word “infinity” suggests something that is bound by letters and it leads to absurdities in the language, such as the idea, “beyond infinity.” If we put a name to God, we are suggesting that our language and our thoughts can somehow grasp an idea of God. We can see today that the word God means many things to many people.
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2130 Meditation on Becoming Oneness

One of the central practices in Jewish mysticism is the idea of letting go of the sense of the self so that we are able to become at one with the source of creation--at one with the Divine. This, as noted before, is called devekut. It is probably one of the most discussed meditative practices in the Hassidic movement and in all of Kabbalah. The visualization that follows is one of many ways to enter into the mind state of devekut. (This is best done with a guide who reads at a slow pace and sits quietly at appropriate intervals..) 1. Sit quietly where you will not be disturbed for 30-45 minutes, body relaxed, eyes closed, experiencing the breath. Do this for five minutes. 2. Imagine you are standing in a field, a meadow. In one direction you can see a dwelling in the distance. Approach the dwelling without going inside. There is nobody living here at this time and it has at least three rooms inside. You may circle it if you wish, but in any case, describe to yourself what it looks like from the outside. (stop reading for two minutes) 3. Now,...
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2131 Meditation on Loving Kindness

The Lord passed in front of [Moses] and proclaimed: The Lord God is merciful and gracious, long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, and sustains mercy for the multitudes, constantly forgiving iniquity and transgressions...Exodus 34:7 Forgiveness-asking for it and giving it-is a basic Jewish practice. On the High Holy Days, Jews perform rituals and prayers that beg God for forgiveness for acts between ourselves and others as well as between ourselves and the Source of Life. This act of contrition has a deep healing effect and is used in many traditions. The following meditation has extraordinary power to heal psychic wounds, release negative energies, and bring a new sense of inner peace. In Buddhist tradition, this is called a metta (friendship) meditation. In Judaism, it could be called the chesed (loving kindness) meditation.
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2132 Meditation on the Psalms

The rabbis taught: "Those who are humiliated by others, but who do not humiliate others, who listen to criticism without responding, do things out of love and have joy despite their sufferings, about them it is said: 'Those who love the Divine are like the sun in its full strength."' Babylonian Talmud: Shabbat 88b One of the most effective forms of meditation is the process of repetition and memorization. Repetition is used in many traditions in the form of mantras (Hindu and Buddhist), wazifas (Sufi), litanies (Christian), and prayer. Memorization is included to strengthen our concentration as well as to help free the mind from extraneous thoughts. It is a basic practice in many traditions, and has been a fundamental technique used in Judaism for thousands of years.
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2133 Meditation on Dwelling in Presence

The Rabbis taught: "A person should always consider that one's rewardable acts and one's punishable acts are equally balanced, so that any single rewardable act will tip the scales to one's favor, while any punishable act will tip the scales the other way, [Thus making every single act crucial.]" Babylonian Talmud: Kiddushin 40b One of the bestknown forms of Jewish meditative prayer is called hitbodedut. It comes from the Hebrew root bodad (to be isolated), and it means to seclude oneself-in essence, to be alone with God. It is a very simple technique that is also quite effective. One merely speaks out whatever happens to be on one's mind.
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2134 Meditation on Slowing Down

Rabbi Huna said: "If a person is in the desert and does not know which day is Shabbat, he counts six days and observes the seventh." Chayah bar Rav says: "The person should observe the first day as Shabbat, and then count six days." In what are they disagreeing? Rabbi Huna believes that it should be similar to the creation of the world [in which there were six days and the seventh was Shabbat], while Chayah bar Rav believes that it should be similar to the creation of Adam [who was created in the hours just before Shabbat, and thus celebrated his first day of existence as Shabbat]. Babylonian Talmud: Shabbat 69b Judaism is built upon two fundamental wisdom teachings: a) there is no separation between Creator and Creation, and b) we need to "rest" from our normal, worldly activity if we wish to appreciate the truth of existence. Each of these teachings is in symbiotic relationship with the other. We learn the profound truth of the non-duality of creation when we are able to temporarily withdraw from our mundane lives, and when we experience the true meaning of ultimate oneness, our everyday lives take on an entirely new meaning.
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2135 Guided Meditation Introduction

As a student of meditation techniques in a wide variety of spiritual disciplines--including, in addition to Judaism, Theravada Buddhism, Zen, Vajrayana, Hinduism and Sufism--I have found that many meditative practices are common in all traditions, despite the fact that each tradition clearly has its own style and methodology. Thus, a fair amount of meditation is generic. For example, sitting in silence is a universal practice, as is chanting repetitive phrases, one pointed concentration, being mindful of the present moment, or taking time each day for reflection (a practice many call prayer). These are all found in most traditions--only the language changes in how each practice is described.
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2136 Meditation on Building Confidence

The Kabbalah offers an image of creation in the form of four worlds: atzilut, beriah, yetzirah, and assiyah. Atzilut is the world of spirituality, beriah is the world of the intellect, yetzirah is the world of emotions and speech and assiyah is the world of physicality. There are many metaphors dealing with these four worlds and basic kabbalistic techniques to reflect upon various events and people from the perspective of the four worlds. The following four world meditation is designed to build self confidence.
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