Awakened who what project?

What the shit is this?

10 Responses to Awakened who what project?

  1. Rich January 26, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    New Age Judaism.

    Alan Lew wrote One God Clapping.

  2. Randi January 27, 2009 at 1:04 am #

    In the past, I have bolted from the room and sprinted from the building to avoid meditation groups. (I still fully believe that one can lead a rich and multifaceted Jewish life without ever engaging in this kind of practice, and my wish would have been to live such a Jewish life. )

    But now, somehow, I have ended-up in a position of leadership regarding ritual matters, and now I’m sincerely attempting to be open-minded and accommodating to the significant group of folks for whom meditative practice is the most meaningful Jewish experience they’ve had. Not everyone is a liturgy geek afterall, and indeed, most people will not invest the intellectual effort required to really love and appreciate our liturgy. These folks are turned-off by the liturgy, and would likely abandon Jewish prayer entirely were it not for efforts like this.

    Very small quantities of certain meditation practices may actually enhance my davening, I’ve decided. But I hate their implication that there is no contemplation in more conventional approaches…

  3. davidamwilensky January 27, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    And I frankly object to the idea that meditation can be authentically Jewish. If a Jew wants to meditate, that’s fine. I watch TV, but I don’t pretend that TV watching is a Jewish thing to do. Similarly, I don’t care if Jews meditate, but let’s be clear about the non-Jewish origin and nature of the practice.

  4. Randi January 27, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    I’m certainly not the best one to be offering apologetics about Jewish meditation, but there are a few solidly Jewish sources that would argue that there is meditation that is Jewishly authentic.
    The orthodox rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote a book about it in the 1970’s, and a quick google search brings up several references that aren’t all about the woo-woo spirituality.

    Besides, the more I learn, the less comfortable I am with claiming the arguement of “authentically Jewish.” Are Yartzeit candles authentically Jewish, since we borrowed that custom from medieval Catholocism, or a Pesach seder because that’s based on Greek symposia? Not to mention all the different permutations of how we Jews have always absorbed the musical motiffs and styles of the larger cultures we have lived amongst.

    Partly it’s in definition–I think one could say that with the proper intention, the whole liturgy is a meditation, to focus our thoughts, and become aware of what’s going on in our heads.

  5. Ebin January 27, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    What about Nachman?

  6. davidamwilensky January 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    As usual, when it comes to new-agey stuff, I say totally indefensible outrageous things without thinking about how to back them up.

    And, good God, just because Nachman did something doesn’t make it super-holy or whatever. I’ll remind everyone that Nachman regularly spouted off nonsense syllables that people now hang on, trying to decipher the secret meanings of.

  7. Randi January 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    As usual, when it comes to new-agey stuff, I say totally indefensible outrageous things without thinking about how to back them up.

    No worries. Frankly, I’m a little relieved to know that I’m not the only one who experiences gut-level revulsion to that kind of thing. But there are so many people who transplant themselves here in the Land of Enchantment because it’s such a muy spiritual place, that if I acted on that revulsion, I would hardly have any Jewish friends.

    Randi’s mussar: making peace with meditators and choirs. (I have a similar non-rational reaction to choral music too.)

  8. Rich January 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm #

    When it comes to Jewish Meditation, I tend to think of the four verses (birkat hakohanim, hineh lo yanum v’lo yishan, lishut’cha qiviti, and mimeni micha’el) that one is to recite three times each in the bed time Sh’ma. These things are mantras, and perform very nicely the task of quieting the mind before sleep.

  9. Ebin January 28, 2009 at 3:16 pm #

    “Gut-level revulsion”? To Jews who like to meditate with other Jews?

    Wow. Out of all the things in the world to be repulsed by, meditation?

    Rabbi Nachman’s recommendation of meditation doesn’t make it holy or unholy. Just pointing out that a revered rabbi did advocate meditation. So I think there is a valid argument that there is such a thing as Jewish meditation.

    For the record, I’m not into Jewish meditation or Na Nach, but if it helps those people connect spiritually — gey gezunt. They’re not hurting anyone.

    Rich — thanks for the thoughtful comment re the bedtime shema.

  10. davidamwilensky January 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm #

    Ebin, I respectfully disagree. They harm themselves when they waste religious time and energy on Na Nach, which, though fun, isn’t quite a content-filled religious experience.