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Tag Archives | spirituality

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Turning Yom Kippur into Action

Dear friends — If you’re like me, you probably spent some of your Yom Kippur last week thinking about how to better live up to your ideals — how to be kinder, more just, more in touch with the sacred. Well, here’s an advertisement for how to put that resolution into practice. Having spent twenty-five years exploring spirituality, therapy, meditation, medication, self-help, human potential, sacred sexuality, entheogens, and a dozen or so paths to the holy, I think that meditation retreat has been the single most effective tool in the never-finished project of becoming more alive, more awake, and more invested in pursuing justice. I’m sure this isn’t true for everyone, but it has definitely been true for me and for many of the “spiritual friends” and teachers who have inspired me along the way. In my experience, no awesome spiritual state, no study, and no political action can transform the mind and heart the way that meditation does — and no amount of daily meditation can do the work of a multi-day meditation retreat. That’s true whether you’re suffering and looking for healing, or comfortable and interested in doing more with your one, precious life. Contemplative neuroscience has now […]

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Cosmic Consciousness, Man, and the Worm: Ecology and Spirituality in Jewish Tradition

By: Rabbi David Sears Ecology is a highly practical branch of science. Nothing could be more “down to earth” than preservation of the planet. Yet there is a facet of ecological awareness that is often overlooked. This is its spiritual dimension. When we act as self-absorbed individuals, with little regard for anyone or anything that exists outside ourselves, we immediately fall into moral and spiritual error. As the Yiddish saying goes, “A blind horse heads straight for the pit!” Thus, countless laws in the Torah adjure us to open our eyes, and act responsibly and compassionately toward the world around us. Among other ecological mandates, it promulgates the laws of bal tashchis (neither to destroy wantonly, nor waste resources unnecessarily); the prohibitions of cutting down fruit trees, or trees surrounding an enemy city in wartime; the laws of covering excrement, and removing debris from public places, etc. In doing so, the Torah indicates that although we may feel at odds with nature, having to struggle to survive, in truth the world comprises a potentially harmonious whole in which each element is precious. Rav Avraham Yitzhak Kook (1865-1935), Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of pre-state Israel and a leading 20th century thinker, expresses […]

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