“Meditation, Judaism, and Self-Mastery”
Let’s reclaim our spiritual heritage!
We will expand our study of Ruach Hakodesh meditation with a review of Rabbi Kaplan’s essay, “Immortality and the Soul.” Part Two: Naked Before God.
We will also discuss how to understand distractions, to improve your meditative practice, Part II.
Jewish meditation techniques we have covered so far:
Amidah: achieving consciousness of God through prayer.
Hitbodedut: becoming mindful through internal and external isolation.
Ruach Hakodesh (Enlightenment:) transcending the physical, through work on yourself.
Unification: experiencing Oneness with God by reciting the Shema.
Blessing power: meditations to bring you closer to God through mundane acts.
The Traditions: Enlightenment
Rabbi Kaplan – “Meditation and the Bible”
Rabbi Kaplan – “Meditation and the Bible,” p 18
In the Bible, we find that three words are usually used to refer to the soul, these being Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshama. According to the Kabbalists, these represent the three most important levels of the soul.
These are the steps leading to Ruach Hakodesh outlined in the Talmud: Study; Carefulness; Diligence; Cleanliness; Abstention; Purity; Piety; Humility; Fear of Sin; Holiness (p 20)
Ethan Dor Shav: “Soul on Fire: A Theory of Biblical Man”
Ethan Dor-Shav was an Associate Fellow at the Shalem Center. His last essay in Azure was “Ecclesiastes, Fleeting and Timeless” (Azure 18, Autumn 2004). The author dedicates the essay to the memory of his grandfather, Rabbi Elisha Kohn.
Ethan Dor-Shav studied philosophy of science at Tel-Aviv University and was an associate fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. He writes about biblical philosophy.
…. the Bible … teaches how to distinguish within each one of us the material, the dynamic, the relational, and the ideal, and these distinctions add up to a worldview with far-reaching philosophical consequence. In doing so it allows the ideal “I” to shed not only the physical body and mortal life, but also the constituent of social relativity: In the kingdom of light we transcend all characteristics of gender, status, tongue or nationality. In turn, the other three components of our being attain their own continuity: the body in progeny, the nefesh in universal life energy, and the ruah in the collective. Modern cosmology, therefore, does not debase the Israelite four-tier paradigm any more than dissecting a heart obliterates the idea of love.
Only when we appreciate that the essence of man’s neshama lies precisely in the idea of an eternal “name” can the death of our beloved—or rather his or her posthumous existence—contribute to the completion of God’s name.
How does “our Neshama / name ” connect with “God’s Neshama / Name?”
“The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology I”
Immortality and the Soul: I. Meet the Real You, pp 197 – 200
Are you your body?
Are you your brain?
Are you your memories?
Where do “you” go when you die?
“The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology I”
Immortality and the Soul: I. Naked Before God, pp 201 – 204
What is immortality like?
The purpose of the brain and nervous system
The mental activity of the disembodied soul
Looking at oneself
Standing naked before God
Best practices for meditation
Bhante Gunaratana, “Mindlfulness in Plain English,”
Dealing with Distractions II, pp 115 – 130
Understanding distractions, pp 117 – 119
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