Introduction to Jewish Meditation – Part 3

To Know God in Humility

Ultimately, a Jew meditates for God so desires. The Torah states, “You shall know this day and take to heart that God is God in the heavens above and on the earth below; there is no other.” In the Tanya, the classic text ofChassidut, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi concurs with the opinion of those rabbinic authorities who count this verse as one of the 613 commandments of the Torah. This is the commandment  “to know God” by meditating on Him and His continual creation of the universe.

In meditation, our hearts are aroused to turn away from the worldly vanities, deceit, and emptiness that normally fill our consciousness–all these being illusory states of existence–and turn toward the one, true reality; God.

As is the case with regard to all human endeavors, the effectiveness of meditation is clearly a gift of God. However, we are granted free choice, which we must utilize maximally–in our case, searching for God from the depths of our hearts–in order to merit the gift of God.

In order for the seeds of meditation to take root in our souls, grow, and bear fruit, we must become a fertile “earth.” This depends upon our spiritual acquisition of humility and lowliness (that of a subject performing the desire of his king) and selflessness (the state in which a son devotedly serves his father).

Meditation as a Process of Translation

Many beginners mistakenly understand meditation as an attempt to negate and thereby transcend one’s normative thought process. Chassidut teaches that meditation is meant to translate the Divine insight perceived instinctively by the Divine soul into the context of the natural, “dark” intelligence of the animal soul. One achieves this through the use of precise parables and psychological/physical examples related to the Divine concepts of the meditation. For example, the rotting of a seed–its returning to a relative state of “nothing”–before it sprouts, could be used as an analogy for creation ex nihilo. One must refine the intellect by in-depth meditation to become a loyal conduit to convey Divine consciousness to one’s day-to-day conscious state of being. Clearly, the intellect itself is a gift of God and its source is ultimately Divine, not mundane.

With all of these thoughts in mind, we will now turn to our meditation–Living in Divine Space.  

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