“Meditation, Judaism, and Self-Mastery”
Let’s reclaim our spiritual heritage!
Today’s Class Agenda:
We will continue learning about Unification Meditation: experiencing Oneness with God by reciting the Shema.
We will also continue our study of Mindfulness, including the Fundamental Activities of Mindfulness.
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.
Mantra Meditation – Hagah – quiet the mind for spiritual growth.
Contemplation: concentrating on a visual object.
Visualization: holding an image in the mind’s eye.
Unification: experiencing Oneness with God by reciting the Shema.
Blessing power: meditations to bring you closer to God through mundane acts.
Mindfulness from a scientific point of view
Today, Commander Divine talks to Dr. Amishi Jha about her work as a neuroscientist, her studies on mindfulness training, and her recent book Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day.
Dr. Amishi Jha (@amishijha) is a professor of psychology at the University of Miami. She serves as the Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindfulness Research and Practice Initiative, which she co-founded in 2010. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California–Davis and postdoctoral training at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center at Duke University. Dr. Jha’s work has been featured at NATO, the World Economic Forum, and The Pentagon. She has received coverage in The New York Times, NPR, TIME, Forbes and more.
Neuroplasticity, the ability for our brains to change and grow new neurons, is possible at any age. When our minds are functioning at their peak, we have full control of three types of attention that Dr. Amishi describes.
Taking a bird’s eye view allows us to observe where our attention is. Focus is going to wander, but through practice we are able to bring the “flashlight” back to where we want it.
Multi-tasking is a myth. Our brains are able to switch quickly between tasks, but that depletes energy. Sometimes it is a necessary part of life, but mono-tasking is much more efficient, and should be the goal whenever possible.
Mindfulness training is transformative. Changes in brain activity are visible in functional MRis, but it’s important to remember that just as changes in the body take time, changes in the brain take time. In Dr. Amishi Jah’s studies, she saw results beginning after four weeks of training.
Unification Meditation: experiencing Oneness with God by reciting the Shema.
Rabbi Kaplan – “Jewish Meditation,” pp 122 – 131
The most ancient and important prayer
Words from Torah
More than a prayer
Not a mantra
Dispel forces of evil
Connect to God
Evil in a parable
Purpose of evil
Integral to davening
Meant to be a meditation
Significance of name Israel
Contending with spiritual
Who is higher – God or logic?
Understanding theological paradoxes
Love, p 127
Surrounding prayers and blessings
Easier than Amidah
Say as part of service, or alone
World of Love
Love of God
Spelling of the word
Best practices for meditation
Bhante Gunaratana, “Mindfulness in Plain English,”
Mindfulness and insight meditation, pp 139 – 142
Both the goal and the means
Wholesome state of mind, p 140
From Matt Furey: mind / matter
Fear is nothing but a mental image that is projected onto the screen of our mind.
Some fear is good for us as it prevents falling into a complacent state of over-confidence. Excessive fear, however, paralyzes us or makes us act irrationally, even ignoring our natural instincts.
When we encounter a fearful mental image, we have an opportunity to examine it. We can look at it objectively, then ask ourselves what the opposite of this image would be.
As soon as you become aware of what you are picturing when you feel a sense of fear, change the mental picture playing in the theatre of your mind to something that generates courage and confidence. In so doing, you feel a shift for the better and immediately begin to realize that your mental images govern your feelings.
You can interrupt the onslaught of fear and other negative emotions with deep breathing exercises – but ONLY if the deep breathing exercises are combined with mental imagery that shift your mind away from disruptive emotions.
To breathe deeply without a change in mental imagery might help you a tiny bit – but this microscopic change is negligible when compared to the MACROSCOPIC changes that instantaneously occur when you project “positive outcome” images on your mental movie screen.
Fear is only something when we make believe it is something.
Once we realize that we make ourselves afraid, that is when we can see that fear is nothing.
Here endeth today’s lesson.
Steve Siebold, “177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class”
The World Class is Determined to Win, p 76
A word about Visualization from Matt Furey
Hello Mr Matt Furey.
I am Siva from India. I have been reading Psycho-Cybernetics book for the past 6 months and I am experiencing a dramatic change in my life. I have one doubt. What should be the time interval between visualization practice and relaxation practice? I mean after visualizing, when we have to do relaxation practice?
Please let me know. Thank you
Hello Siva. I appreciate your question. I will give you an uncommon answer. Whenever you practice relaxation techniques of any kind, you are simultaneously visualizing. Suppose, for example, that I tell you to breathe deeply. I ask you to inhale and imagine it going all the way to your feet. Is this not a visualization? Yes, it is. You cannot follow my suggestion to breathe deeply without picturing yourself doing so. And if I suggest you inhale all the way to your feet, this is also a mental image.
When we do something physically, we may think that we “just do it,” but it is always preceded by a mental picture. If I ask you to make a fist, you must picture a fist before you make one. If I ask you to stand, or sit, or lie down, you picture it first.
This means that ALL the relaxation exercises in Psycho-Cybernetics are training you in the art of visualization. This means you don’t need to think so much about it. Whenever you are relaxing you are also using mental imagery.
Before you picture a goal, it is wise to take some time to imagine and feel yourself relaxing before doing so. The relaxation visualization sets you up for the goal visualization.
At any time of the day you can work on relaxing your body; same goes for visualization.
The “Refresher:” a simple yet effective move to regain emotional equilibrium.
Posture: structured and relaxed
Hands: forget ‘em
Feet: shoulder width
Shoes: okay, but better barefoot or socks
Eyes: closed if possible
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