CREDOS: Mindfulness — II

Mindfulness is a quality you can cultivate in any situation-whether you’re walking down the street or washing the dishes. Although grounded in Buddhism, this practice is accessible to people of any faith. In mindfulness meditation you stop the restlessness of your mind by focusing your undivided attention on whatever you’re experiencing in the here and now. The simplest version involves simply focusing

on your breath. By enhancing your awareness in this way, you calm your mind, experience life more fully, and bring new clarity of thought to any situation that comes your way. Jewish spiritual leaders are finding fresh applications for teaching meditations based in Jewish mysticism, called kabbalah. Kabbalah teaches that meditation is a direct way to experience God, or the divine. Kabbalistic meditation techniques include visualizing the Divine Name. A good meditation to start out with is the Shema meditation described in Aryeh Kaplan’s classic 1985 text “Jewish Meditation.” Shema, which is Hebrew for “Hear,” is the word that begins Judaism’s holiest prayer, the fundamental affirmation of Jewish faith in one God. Inhale silently, and exhale “shh.” Then inhale again silently, and exhale “mmm.” Repeat this process,

allowing it to draw you deeper and deeper into the “mmm” sound. This practice helps the meditator achieve a meditative state. Another meditation to experiment with involves focusing upon a Shviti, a line from Psalm 16 inscribed on a plaque.