Once Part of Jewish Daily Life, Meditation Gets a Reboot at the JC3’s Shabbat Services
By Carole J Stone
The JC3 is proud to announce that we are again offering a variety of Kabbalat Shabbat services to meet a variety of Jewish styles for welcoming the Sabbath. Arnold Lerner, aka Gurusimran Khalsa, will resume his monthly meditative service.
Up until about 150 years ago, meditation was such an intrinsic part of Jewish life that there was no separate word such as meditation to describe it. Every Sabbath, normal work and activities came to a standstill, and the day was devoted to prayer, contemplation, rest, and spending time with family and community. Every day, there were rituals and prayers that included time for contemplation, quiet, and reflection on our divine nature.
Now that our lives are so busy, many of us have become disconnected from the religious practices we were brought up with, and we search for ways to find meaning in our lives. By practicing meditation, we can quiet our minds and develop a deep connection to our inner self. My own experience, and the experience of dozens of people with whom I have worked, is that one always uncovers hidden gems when exploring traditional practices with a quiet mind.
Many people complain about their overactive, busy thought processes, sometimes called “monkey mind.” In fact, it is relatively easy to achieve a more composed mind state. In just a short period of consistent meditative practice, we can begin to steady the mind and realize deeper levels of self-realization. This is the beginning of true liberation.
The roots of Jewish meditation have often been hidden in the oral tradition passed directly from teacher to student, or in Kabbalistic writings that are difficult to decipher. However, many Jewish meditative techniques have been common knowledge and were widely practiced in various ways over the centuries. Whether you are religious or a nonbeliever, practicing Jewish meditation will help you to achieve a connection to the vastness that is within you, as large as the night sky.
Meditation also reduces memory loss and helps you to concentrate more effectively. It promotes emotional and mental health as it facilitates the awareness that feeling sad or angry are temporary, thus we learn not to identify with our thoughts and emotions. Meditation also helps us to manage stress more effectively as we become more connected to the natural cycles of life.
Lerner has been teaching meditation, Kundalini yoga, and Ayurveda for 40 years in the US, Canada, the UK, and México. He is the cofounder of the Yogi Tea Co.
The service, which begins November 8 at 6pm at the JC3, will include five six-minute Hebrew chants with music from Rabbi David Cooper and his musical group. Afterward, we will enjoy a vegetarian potluck communal meal. Please bring something to share. All are enthusiastically welcomed.
“Kabbalat Shabbat services”
Fri, Nov 8, 6pm
Jewish Cultural and Community Center of San Miguel de Allende
Las Moras 47