Tag: meditation

Does G-d Intervene in Our Lives?

 

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about G-d’s role in our lives. Specifically, we discussed whether G-d intervenes, when, and why He does. I started thinking about the subject more deeply, and realized that I have made several assumptions about G-d’s intervention (since I believe He does), and I wondered how other people perceive his role in their lives.

For my part, I see G-d’s intervention in a number of ways. I think I receive guidance from G-d, whether it’s an idea for a post, a sudden insight on how to address a problem, helpful advice to give to a friend, and many other experiences. No, I don’t hear a voice, but these thoughts emerge, often unbidden, and I explore them. I don’t always trust what I’m receiving, which probably says something about how well I trust myself, so I often mull over what I’ve learned. But generally, those are the kinds of things that emerge. I also feel blessed that I “perceive” G-d’s presence; I don’t know how to explain it, except to say there are times when I am physically alone, but don’t feel alone.

I think that there are times when I’ve had a sense of foreboding, particularly about a person, and I ask myself (since it’s usually someone new in my life) whether this is a person I should trust. If ongoing communications are awkward or troubled, I eventually often leave the relationship.

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I wanted to share this meditation on Christmas sent to me in a church e-mail. If you’re just here for a quick browse, I’ve put in bold the Christmas part. The Gift of Gifts (Taken from The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.) Preview Open

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What’s Truly Important

 

I’m a bit depressed this morning. Normally I make an effort not to let the ugliness and destructiveness of the news get me down. But the world weighs heavily on my shoulders today: feckless actions by Macron, the usual contradictions by Trump, efforts to pass anti-Semitic/anti-Israel bills in Congress (which I will write about later). I can’t find the space to let in the joy and knowledge of blessings. And then I remember that in one hour, I will do something good.

On Monday mornings I visit with my friend, Earl. He is 88 years old. I’ve written about him before—his concerns about racism (he’s black and liberal), Donald Trump, the state of the world.

Giving Up the Dream

 

I finally made the tough decision. I had a dream, and now I’ve let it go. The act leaves me feeling slightly sad and also free. After more than 10 years, I’ve disbanded my meditation group.

This journey was an extension of my dream to be a Zen Buddhist sensei, a seed that began 10 years into my 20-year practice. When it became clear that my Zen teacher thought it was essential to cripple my ego, it was time to leave. But in the meantime, she had encouraged me to start a meditation group when I came to Florida 10 years ago.

In spite of my teacher’s harshness, I still loved Buddhism.

When the Divine Intervenes

 

Let me say a bit about my relationship with G-d. I’m not a mystic, nor do I have out-of-body experiences. In terms of Orthodox Judaism, I am not a disciplined practitioner. I don’t have “conversations” with G-d, and I don’t formally pray to Him very often. But over the years, I’ve learned—I’ve experienced—that He is present in my life.

In this post, I won’t talk about G-d’s intervention or lack of involvement in the greater world. I don’t have answers for when He does intervene directly, nor do I know why. In fact, I think it is the height of absurdity for us to try to figure out the mind of G-d, except to know what He expects from us. I assume that His actions, motives, and goals are beyond my ken, and I think I have more sensible things to try to learn and understand in this lifetime.

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With all the stress that Ricochettis are experiencing, I feel compelled to suggest practicing meditation as part of your daily routine. Before you roll your eyes, I’d like to explain many of the misconceptions about meditation, followed by the facts. Misconceptions Preview Open

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