A Kabbalistic Approach to Spiritual Growth: Part 20 – Meditation, Prayer, and Education

Spiritual growth is accomplished through hard work. It is important to understand theoretical principles, but understanding can only take us so far. Application of those principles to action is impossible without reaching out toward God through the communication of prayer. Each phase of education addresses this process. During the initiation/inspiration phase, the student develops an ability to contemplate God, while during the integration phase, the student deepens his or her relationship to God through prayer. Yet the two are also intertwined. Contemplation/meditation  inflames the heart with love of God, bringing depth and sincerity to prayer, while prayer creates a communion with God that gives meaning and direction to meditation.

The service of meditation is the spiritual and intellectual quest to know, comprehend, and feel a particular truth of Torah to the fullest extent possible. By pursuing a question to its depths, whether it be an esoteric matter or a more simple issue of law, we draw our inherited and instinctive knowledge of God into a more revealed and conscious state.

Initially, our spiritual immaturity requires that the idea upon which we meditate be small, fixed and sharply defined. Gradually, as we mature, our mind can accommodate greater complexity, less constrained boundaries, and more spontaneity. As we learn to see with the eyes of Torah, our perspective aligns with God’s perspective for "God and His Torah are one." All formalized prayer also becomes a kind of meditation for the liturgy serves as a focus-point for thought and attention. The value of meditation is that it disciplines the mind to penetrate through the various layers of truth that lie behind the simple meaning of the prayers.

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