Tuesday, December 05, 2006

415. A box

I was reading over my posts about meditation and realizing how negative and snarky some of them are. Mostly I love sitting in silence, but occasionally not. The experience is still new for me, and not without learning curves and growing pains; sometimes my mind just won't shut up, which I know happens to everyone. I've become expert at watching it race past, but hope one day to float with it on a quiet sea, slow as clouds above.

I'm intrigued by the absence of sound during this process. (Although there's usually plenty of noise in my head, which I try my best to ignore.) The quiet continues to remind me of rests in a piece of music, or white spaces between letters in a Torah scroll, but more often conjures up the moments when I'm chanting Torah and feel like I'm in a box. Its walls are the people who surround me; without them I would have no form. The air inside sustaining my breath is the music. As I sing, I can't hear the world beyond the walls at all; it might not even exist. I think this is what meditation is supposed to be, usually called "in the moment" but really so much more--in the self, in the parts of our awareness that are shared with others. Maybe the box is a kind of tabernacle, and as such must occasionally be rededicated and reminded of its holiness.

At the Friday night meditation service a few weeks ago, the rabbi compared Abram's journey into the unknown to the beginning of any new spiritual practice. This time last year I was getting ready to go to Israel, and am now revisiting the Hanukkah Torah portion, the one I read at the Wall, to chant again in a few weeks. That experience did push me onto a new path, did reinvigorate me, although I still have no idea where I'm going. Will chanting those words once again about offerings at the mishkan be my own Hanukkah, my rededication? Will meditation?

(Here's a very good, short introduction to Jewish meditation, which can seem New-Agey compared to established traditions but is in fact a very old practice: http://www.rebgoldie.com/Meditation.htm)

1 comment:

Regina Clare Jane said...

I have loved these last few posts. I always seem to have a "snoring woman" in my life. It's an easy out for me- "it's that snoring woman's fault"- but honestly, it's too easy now. I don't want things to be that easy any more. I want to be challenged. So, thanks for posting about your snoring woman, aa.
I can't wait to check out the link for Jewish meditation!