In a public address in Tamuz 5739 (the summer of 1979), the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, discussed the need to develop a form of Jewish meditation suitable for our generation.
The Rebbe pointed out that there are three general levels of meditation:
At its simplest, meditation is a technique for relaxation, which has become so essential in our contemporary, harried lifestyle. In this context, meditation is simply a form of medicine, administered to cure a psychological ailment, such as stress, anxiety, or tension. To be successful, meditative techniques of this type need not involve explicit Jewish content, although, for the Jew, they must of course be free of association with any other belief system. (Meditation techniques that involve explicit or derivative forms of idolatrous practices are forbidden for non-Jews, as well.)
The next level of meditation involves focusing the mind and heart on God’s presence in our lives and His Providence over everything, as expressed in the verse from Psalms (16:8)
I place God in front of me always
Finally, the deepest level of meditation involves the concentrated contemplation of the mysteries of the Torah. Since the time of the Ba’al Shem Tov, contemplating these mysteries and their pertinence to us in our daily lives has become the call of the hour. Indeed, the Mashiach himself promised the Ba’al Shem Tov that his coming will be a consequence of “spreading your wellsprings–that which I have taught you and that which you have comprehended–to the furthest extreme.”
Inspired by the Rebbe’s call, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh began developing a system of Jewish meditation based on the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidut. Over the years, he has taught this system in various venues, and now a number of his students are teaching it around the world.