We are living in a unique period of history when all our routines are different – a situation which can be used for our growth and development or could result in fear and confusion.
A Jewish meditation practice can give you the tools you need to open up your heart/mind – bringing wisdom, and cultivating the qualities of compassion and kindness to this period we are living in, and to each moment as it is now, and with what will come. Learning to pay sustained loving attention to your own experience and the feelings arising in the present moment is the key.
This retreat is designed to show experientially how a regular Jewish meditation practice can help cultivate awareness in all aspects of our daily lives. Being at home will provide an opportunity to integrate the practice experience with life at home, creating a model for using contemplative practice to remind us of the possibility of bringing our awareness to every moment of our lives.
We will have a full day schedule, which we have found to be valuable in sustaining and deepening the practice. Participants will have the opportunity to enhance their skills in a range of meditative techniques. These include concentration techniques, contemplative prayer chants, mindfulness/heartfulness meditation, body practices, the path of blessing, and practices that cultivate joy.
These practices, which thousands of people have found transformative and life enhancing, help us to cultivate greater clarity and wisdom, open the heart of compassion and lead to greater happiness.
You can join this retreat in multiple ways!
- Come for the full experience, joining us for an immersion into silence and deep seamless practice.
- Join us for the evening practice and teachings sessions where we will explore the retreat’s theme through teachings and practices.
- Weave the different aspects of retreat into your life, dropping into silence and shared practice and then returning to your engagement with other aspects of your life as appropriate.
The retreat will be led by Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg. Rabbi Sheila has taught mindfulness meditation and yoga to rabbis, Jewish professionals and lay people in the context of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She serves as a spiritual director to a variety of Jewish clergy including students and faculty at HUC-JIR in New York. She is creator and co-leader of the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program.
Sheila also served as a congregational rabbi in the US for seventeen years. She has worked in the fields of Jewish community relations, Jewish education and Hillel. She has published widely on such topics as feminism, spiritual direction, parenting, social justice and mindfulness from a Jewish perspective and has contributed commentaries to Kol HaNeshama, the Reconstructionist prayer book.
She is married to Maynard Seider and they have three married children and six grandchildren.
For more information, please see: https://www.sheilapeltzweinberg.com/
The Benefits of Jewish Mindfulness Meditation
(from: The Institute for Jewish Spirituality)
We are dedicated to introducing this practice into the Jewish world for several reasons:
- to enliven and enhance Jewish prayer, celebration, ritual and community;
- to be part of working for the betterment of our fragile and vulnerable planet; and
- to recognize the true and deep sources of happiness in a world filled with seductive, competing and ultimately unsatisfying short-term fixes.
How can Mindfulness Meditation Help?
Mindfulness meditation is training the mind. Just as we go to the gym to make our bodies stronger and more flexible, so mind training helps make our minds more spacious, perceptive and most of all free.
We train our capacity to pay attention by turning our attention, like a flashlight, on our own minds. This helps us see more clearly the nature of our own minds. We become aware of the patterns and habits that run our lives but have not been previously visible.
We begin to realize that these patterns and habits may serve our goals, desires, and purposes – but often they do not. We start to realize that there actually is a “pause button” built into our system. This pause button can be activated when we become triggered by an event outside ourselves and are tempted to act in reactive, patterned and unskilful ways.
The “pause button” wakes us up, creates a space in our mind where we can ask the question: ”What is the skilful, wholesome, wise, goal oriented action I need to take in this moment?” “What are my choices here?” The development of this capacity for inner freedom is why we train in mindfulness. This can be profoundly useful in our lives, especially in our relationships, and in any task we undertake to realize our dreams or express our creativity.
By cultivating attention, we are also able to feel more satisfied with each moment of our experience.
We learn to rest in this moment as it unfolds.
We learn to bring our awareness to the flow of energy in the body which is the very miracle of our aliveness. We learn to be more receptive to the fullness of each moment, rather than resisting what has already occurred or projecting what is not yet here. We learn to notice the arising and passing of all experience, recognizing how short and precious this life is.
We learn to treasure each day for the miracle it is. This is itself a source of happiness. According to modern neuroscience, the mind is a dynamic flow of experiences rather than a fixed state. When we experience this for ourselves, we feel less isolated, less caught in judgment and adversity, and more open to the mystery and majesty of this very life.