Thursday, 14 November 2013

Meditate More with Less

I have been fairly quiet of late. Not just on this blog but also in every day conversations.
I just don’t have much to say at the moment. This may in part be due to the meditation that I’ve been doing recently.

Do More with Less
Ever worked for a boss who expects more for less? I know that feeling well. When work and home life got rather busy over the past several months, I had a tough decision to make - either reduce my meditative practice even further or dramatically increase it.

Three Years in a Cave
This is how long it takes to become a golem builder, 3 years living in a cave. Aside from looking after bodily functions it takes 3 years of solid meditation practice to get to the point where a practitioner may be skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced enough to create a real golem.
Consider that for just a moment, doing over 9 hours of day of meditation each day constantly trying to push your limits; doing just that bit more than you’re capable off the day before. That would total roughly 10,000 hours which some modern writers are claiming you need to master a particular discipline.

Do it all the Time
So faced with the dilemma of having less time to meditate, I was given some invaluable advice. Don’t meditate less; try instead to meditate all the time. In particular to learn and practice the meditation as described in the book by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg “Living in Divine Space: Kabbalah and Meditation”.

It described how to create a ‘cube of space’ around yourself by meditating on 6 commandments that correspond to each of the directions. I had come across the idea of a ‘cube of space’ before in Sefer Yetzira (Book of Creation) 1:13 which talks about sealing the Name of the Divine in 6 directions.

But the question that bugged me about trying to do that meditation – aside from trying to remember the order of letters – was what do I fill my thoughts with regards to each direction? The “Living in Divine Space” answers that question with 6 commandments that are linked to each direction and provide meditative focus.
And the beauty of this meditation is that with enough practice, I can do it all the time. Whilst I am not yet at the point where this is a constant focus and awareness all the time, with enough practice it will be. And I can practice every moment that I am wake.

Trouble is… the effort that it takes to try to keep this focus on meditation all day means that I have less time to think about other things. Hence I am chatting less and generally less vocal. Perhaps this is what the sages meant when they said praised the value of silence (see Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers).