Friday, April 20, 2012

The Stress of Faith

I recently heard a prominent Orthodox Jewish communal leader speak casually about how Orthodox Judaism fosters O.C.D, and that's just the way it is.  He told the tale of going to his doctor for stress related illness and having his doctor ask why his religion doesn't provide calmness.  The doctor asked, "Don't you pray daily? Isn't that a meditative, faith filled, rejuvenating, experience?" The answer was, "No." This leader said that more often than not davening mincha - for example - is most prominently about making sure you've got it done before sundown, rather than being remotely soothing.

I'm sitting, right now, alone in my office with the lights turned low.  I just sat meditating, breathing, trusting, believing for about twenty minutes.  That's not a long time.  And yet.  It renewed my world.  And for some reason I don't do this every day.  And for some reason, despite the brilliant and holy Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's conviction that tefilah has always been meant to be meditative in nature, more often than not it's a challenge for all of us to get it to play out that way.

An In the Moment Prayer of Gratitude

Thank you G-d -

for the ability to breathe
for my father being alive and in my life
for my brother, sister in law, niece, and two nephews
for the privilege to teach/learn/connect
for every thing

for the ability to write/read
for friends alive and in my life
for the music of Rachel and Matti
for the privilege of trusting in You
for every thing


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