MEDITATION AND PRAYER:
MEDITATING WITH THE SIDDUR
What is the relationship between meditation and prayer in Judaism?
The prayers of our Siddur (prayerbook) were composed to evoke transformative spiritual experiences. In other words, they are highly effective meditative exercises for growth and healing, which we can all use.
In these online courses with Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein, we focus on key prayers from the daily Morning Service (Shacharit). We learn their texts, and commentaries on them from our teachers through the centuries, who have understood each prayer as an invitation into specific meditative exercises for cultivating greater self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, focus, love, joy, forgiveness, resilience, creativity, connection or wholeness.
We then practice some of these meditative exercises, creating a powerful connection between each prayer and our own consciousness that we can forever draw upon. Each prayer becomes a resource that we can harness to support our personal journey of becoming our best possible selves.
These courses are an experiential journey through our morning prayer service, which the Kabbalists relate to the Four Worlds of our human existence (see below).
1) Physical, embodied sensation and orientation (Assiyah) - the Morning Blessings and other opening prayers.
2) Our emotional lives (Yetzirah) - the Verses of Praise (Pesukei DeZimra).
3) Thoughts and intellect (Beriah) - the Shema and the blessings around it.
4) Spirituality and the life of our soul, our deepest self (Atzilut) - the Amidah, the silent standing prayer.
There are two courses available, which offer two different ways of experiencing this journey.
Both courses go through the weekday Morning Service, offering meditations based on almost every prayer.
Transformative Prayer is primarily a text-based course of 8 sessions, focusing on learning the prayers and teachings about them, with some time for meditative practice at the end of each session.
Deepening Prayer Practice Group is primarily a practice-based course of 10 sessions, with each session consisting of approximately three guided meditative exercises.
For folks who want to explore both the texts and the practices, the two courses are available as a heavily discounted package of 18 sessions: Meditating Through the Morning Service.