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Jewish Meditation 
Here, Part 2: Practice and Gallery

(Here, return to the first page: study)

by Prof. Rav Yehoshua Rahamim Dufour (Dipur in Hebrew)
All photos and drawings by the author
Copyright
Here, all the site in french: http://www.modia.org

Here, all the site in english

Place this study in a proper place for it contains holy Hebrew letters




"I dedicate this study on meditation, with gratitude, to the masters who taught me this meditative approach of the Torah through their humility (anava) and integrity. May they also serve as a beneficent conduit for all those who study and integrate these texts, and their loved ones."




 

 

 

 

 

Let us begin with one of my meditation poems on our connection to the source:

 

"My love for you
is as beautiful as the flight of birds,
as the song of blackbirds and the dancing of waves,
as the green landscapes,
the water-colored clouds,
the purity of dew-drops,
the laughter of babies,
the majesty of mountains,
the immensity of oceans,
the amazingly infinite galaxies,
the caresses of cascades and rivers,
the power of leaping tigers,
the variety of the seasons,
and of men and women of every race,
the music and dances,
and intoxicating perfumes.”
Said the Creator to Israel,
said the Creator to every being
made in very His image.

“I love,
You are of this source,
Cease all wars,
all hatred,
all that is ugly.
There is only one being,
in every being.
It is so good, so clear.
It is a fatal mirage,
the money which you seek.
This is the Jewish challenge of every being".

 


CAUTION: THESE PHOTOS AND DRAWINGS ON JEWISH MEDITATION SHOULD BE VIEWED SLOWLY, IN SMALL DOSES, OVER SEVERAL DAYS.

ABSORBING THEM WITHOUT KAVANA, IN ONE GO, WOULD HAVE A VERY NEGATIVE EFFECT ON THE VIEWER, AT EVERY LEVEL OF HIS BEING

THE MOTION OF THE TRAJECTORY DESCRIBED IN THE PRECEDING PAGE IS ESSENTIAL FOR EACH IMAGE, WHICH SHOULD BE ABSORBED SLOWLY, WITH SELF-AWARENESS AND AWARENESS OF THE TARGET, WHICH IS THE UNIQUE SOURCE OF EVERYTHING, AND “BE-AHAVA RABBA – WITH GREAT LOVE”!


Following the study on Jewish meditation
(refer here to the study)
we now come to the page of exercises in practical training on Jewish meditation. Through this long gallery of photos, we are going to train ourselves to develop the ways we look at His Creation and to face the gift that is present and receive the present (in the double meaning of “actual” and “gift’). We will then have succeeded in the stages which comprise the trajectory of Jewish meditation.



 

Remember that all of this takes place within a moment (ata, now), as we adopt the approach of the prophets, when they said hineni, here am I. If we look at times when “ata” figures in our Tanakh (the word appears 433 times!), we shall see that this is not a physical exercise in a gym but a deep, holistic approach, of the body, at all levels of being:

 

Bereshit (Genesis) 26,29: ata ata barukh Hashem (thou art now the blessed of Hashem)
Shemot (Exodus) 18, 11: ata yadati ki gadol Hashm (Now I know that Hashem is great)
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32, 39: reu ata ki Ani Ani Hu (See now that I am He)
Shofetim (Judges) 17, 13: ata yadati ki yativ Hashem li (Now, I know that Hashem will do me good)
Yeshaya (Isaiah) 33.10: ata akum yomar Hashem, ata aromam. Ata enasse (Now will I rise, saith Hashem, now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself).
Tehilim (Psalms) 2.10: ve ata melakhim haskilu (Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings)
Tehilim (Psalms) 27.6: ve ata yarum roshi al-oyevai (and now shall my head be lifted up above mine enemies)
Tehilim (Psalms) 119.67 : ve imratekha chamarti (now I have kept thy teachings)
Tehilim (Psalms) 115, 18 : va anahnu nevarekh Ya meat ve ad olam halleluya (But we will bless Hashem from now, henceforth, and forever more, halleluya)
Tehilim (Psalms) 125, 2: va Hashem saviv leamo meata vead-olam (And Hashem surrounds his people from now, henceforth, even forever).
And here is the word Ata in a short Psalm, just three verses long – Psalm 131, which perfectly describes the approach of Jewish meditation:
“A Song of Degrees of David.
- Hashem, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters or in things too high for me.
- Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.
- Let Israel hope in Hashem from ata (now) and for ever.”


All the stages involved in this approach are described in this Psalm.


 

 

 

Let us begin this voyage by with these six stages:
(links: 1 encounter – 2 answer – 3 taking flight – 4 entrance - 5 taste – 6 stability)

 

 

Stage 1 in the passage towards meditation: the “encounter” because we listen
(which is the characteristic of the nation of Israel)
and we see the beauty of divine Creation in our path.
Just as Moshe Rabbenu saw the burning bush (Shemot, Exodus, chapter 3)
.

 

 

 

 

 

Let us pause in front of every image in order to truly experience the encounter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the delicacy of nature – it is a mark of holiness


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is important to know how to maintain a relationship of intimacy, while moving on to something that is different.
This is also the case
in marital relationships
and in any human relationship
with all sons of Adam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware, this is not some kind of virtual exercise.

Instead, our being is aware of the gift accorded by the One Being

and it breathes,

in praise

and awakens and wakes up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

with each glance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

with each sensation and emotion

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

with each inhalation and exhalation

 

 

 

 

 

 

In each encounter

With every form of matter

With every person

It is the same refrain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we are, and so is every being

everywhere in the world,

the object of a divine caress

which endows us with a being from His Being.

This is the holiness that is around us.



 

 

 


 

2Stage 2 in the passage towards meditation: the answer “go towards”

The middrash tells us that Moshe Rabbenu was chosen as the model for the Jewish nation

because he chose to leave his path and “go towards,”

in order to achieve this encounter and see this marvel.

So let us not be ungrateful at this moment,

and let us have no less gratitude than the flapping joy of white doves>

or the humblest flower which may be solitary but never alone

Just as we breathe and are not inanimate

While each inner cell is thus

At every instant, every time.

Who gives us all of this?


Science? Don’t be foolish!



Let us “go towards” directly like the flame

The world is not ruled either by the stock exchange, the economy or politicians

Let’s go towards this butterfly who is looking at us. Observe him well.

Or like this parrot. He is not passing by. He came for us, his gaze is calling us.

Fireworks exploded during the night, I danced with him and our trembling signaled our common reward.

Who has the power to create beauty such as this?

Every woman who creates a child within her.

But who gives woman this power, and man too?

Be honest!

The eyes, which respond to the ever-flowing divine gifts, grasp these unique moments, at every moment,
ever-flowing gifts such as this dove as it chooses this whimsical structure on its path.

Every moment is more beautiful than the most beautiful music.

It is the most beautiful music.

Do not flee from this love by talking about aesthetics…

Dear God, enable me also to open myself to this connection

with  You

And to see it, at every moment, in him and in her

And remember it each time I say: “Shema Yisrael, Hear O Israel.”


All photos by the author: copyright Dufour

To “go towards” means to be able to see beauty

even when we think we know the landscapes well,

they were not expected and they are different each time, these clouds.

Not to “go towards” means to reject every wondrous expression of love

We now know how to “go towards” and we too take off.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Stage 3 in the passage towards meditation: the “answer” must be as unique and total as the gift received

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the Internet, a virtual exercise or sheer photography

It is a living, inner meditation

As in the last verse of the Song of Songs:

“Make haste, my beloved… towards the mountains of spices”

We also make haste to the mountains with each breath of meditation.

Why have we not seen, till now, pictures of men, women and children?
Out of modesty. Before discussing meditation in inter-personal terms, it was important to understand the three stages of meditation, “I-the motion-the target,” and understand THE source, see the movement towards us, and receive. We do this more easily when we marvel at nature, for nature is pure. And all this beauty is also us, since we see it and grasp it from our inner self.

Yes, let us make haste, love, live

Together

We are totally
a reception of His life, His gift,
and therefore we are beauty, transparence
each one of us
publicity does not govern the world.

Weare truly far from:
my son is successful, says his mother,
he is rich, and lives in Los Angeles.
What a nightmarish path she set him
Instead of enabling him to know the gift of life.

This stone (my life) would not have been illuminated,

had I not drawn, together with it, towards the light.

If I had not truly drawn close, I would never have noticed
the cosmic symphony that surrounds the frolics of this
little duck.


 

 

 

 

 

Stage no. 4 in the passage towards meditation: one must advance still further and enter intimacy: it awaits us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Stage no. 5 in the passage towards meditation: one must now receive and taste as Psalm 39.4 tells us: “taamu u reu ki tov, taste and see how it is good; ashrei ha gever yehasse bo, happy is the man who trusteth in Him.”

 

It is like being in a bubble, and hearing the divine, gentle, music. 

It is also through being close to those we love, adults or children.
A child is called “or Israel” – the light of Israel.
It is clear that the goodness of Heaven creates and protects him.

Let us taste His Presence at every level of our being

Let us see every adult as the unique origin of Creation and every
child as the wondrous example of supreme intelligence.
Children possess this intelligence, even at eighteen months as here,
selecting their colors according to a secret design even before
being able to draw.
All they lack is our language, but it is up to us to know theirs
and acknowledge their wisdom and divine presence, as that of
birds and flowers.
A child is more than just an image of God. He is His presence.

We are, like Esther, in the inner abode of the Holy of Holies

Everything is joy, harmony and the gift of life

Imperceptible, but everyday, beauty,

which can be felt and uttered only in the heart-to-heart.

All the waves of Your Creation vibrate to Your intimate music

One must approach gently, slowly and at length, in order
to truly see.
As it is written: God was not in sound.

Il There are kisses that cannot be described.

Hear O Israel, taste the happiness which is here.

When will you  cease chasing after the empty pleasures of Egypt,

and cease striving to please the gods of Europe or America?

 

Between you and Elokim, lies the splendor of intimacy,

of the Song of Songs.

It is found in the most prosaic moments of everyday life.

Notre Our dialogue is more beautiful than any music.

It is in Yerushalayim

not in Sydney, Paris, Brooklyn or Washington DC

This is our intimate, infinite paradise.

An everlasting love which keeps re-blooming.


 

 

 

 

Stage no. 6 in the passage towards Jewish meditation: stability and integrity in this intimate paradise, as it is written in Psalm 11.7 “yashar yehezu paneimo, upright, he will contemplate His face.”

 

C'est It is a simple, eternal, delicate and solid richness which nothing

can affect or destroy

for it is life itself, connected to THE source of all life.

Jewish meditation is not a technique or a philosophy.
It is – as described by Ribbi Hayim Vital in Shaare Kedusah –
life lived according to the Torah (kavana),
when study, the mitzvot, Shabbat,
brotherly love and justice all become members of the
same living body.

It is not a new technique discovered by a Sage of our time.
It is described in the Torah, the Psalms and the Prophets.
There is no need for new leaders, or new mirages,
It is a secret which has been safeguarded since the ancient
Hassidim, the rishonim. It is a tradition which has been lived
and written down.
No need for new religions which claim to complete and perfect.
It is enough to listen to the Torah and live it.

Hear O Israel, be present and feel till the depths of your being:

And, like the cells of leaves, let us be stable, now that we
know how to connect minuscule reality to the vital, eternal
Source.

And never distort human beings because of
smartness, aesthetics, theology or political opinions.

Let Jewish meditation inhabit your perception and
relationship with every moment.
Dwell in the perfection, innocence and assurance of a child,
connected to the present, living source.

Nothing can better express this than Psalm 128, which
we shall listen to slowly, dwelling on every word,
as we did with every image, through Jewish meditation:


A Song of Degrees.
1. Blessed is everyone that feareth Hashem, that walketh in his ways!
2. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be and
it shall be well with thee.
3. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house; thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth Hashem.
5. Hashem shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
6. Yes, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel!



 

 

 

Here are some drawings by the author

Drawings made while gazing at the divine presence:

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are pictures of a sculpture which I made and which expresses a true encounter.
Reality: the sculpture (80 x 60) was destroyed in play by children under the indifferent eye of parent-friends.
Meditation which connects us to the light must continue in the reality we live in.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

All the stages of Jewish meditation are resumed
precisely in Psalm 66.5:
Lekhu u reu mifalots Elokim nora alila al benei Adam,
Come and see the works of God: he is marvellous in his
doing toward the children of Adam.”
Let us try to see this at every level of our being.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

And let us follow the example of these crows who, every evening,
come near my house to contemplate with deep meditation the
nuances of the sunset. It makes us understand Perek Shira, which
we explain here.

 

 

 

 

And we too should be like open, vibrating antenna:


 

This attitude of immediate meditation, complete in the moment,
is expressed in Psalm 16 (link) which centers on the verse
we focused on at the beginning of this study: shiviti Hashem
le negdi tamid.

 


Here is the Psalm.

1. Michtam of David. Preserve me Hashem: for in thee do I put my trust.
2. O my soul, thou has said unto Hashem: my goodness extendeth not to thee.
3. But to the saints that are in the earth and to the excellent in whom is all my delight.
4. Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
5. Hashem is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
6. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places: yea, I have a goodly heritage.
7. I shall bless Hashem who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
8. I have set Hashem always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell: neither wilt thou suffer thine faithful ones to see corruption.
11. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy: at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 

All this can be achieved at every moment in which we adopt an attitude of meditation. It is this attitude which the last verse of the Song of Songs asks of us.



"Bérakh dodi udémé-lékha litzvi o léôfer haayalim âl harei véssamim:
Make haste, my beloved and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices..."