EGG Meditation

by Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer

Chaim Vital, borrowing from the early mystics, teaches that the EGG represents the one who attains self-realization – a symbol of truth.  Chaim Vital also learned the following meditation from his teacher Isaac Luria, who taught that this meditation brings you to a conscious at-one-ment – at one with health, clear mind, with the awareness to see the Divine Light within, to experience contact with the large “I” of the Universe, with Hashem and to reunite Hashem with the small I, the Shechina within each one of us.  This meditation, when practiced regularly, results in strong health improvement. Doing this meditation regularly will strongly enhance your awareness of Hashem within you, as well as the Shechina, joining with Hashem.

  1. Sit relaxed, feel flat on the ground. Let your arms drop to your sides.
  2. Breathe in slowly and gently through your nose, and through your mouth. Recognize that you are breathing in the breath of God.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Do this three times.
  4. Now breathe deeply through your nose down to the lower abdomen. As you exhale, feel all tension leaving and your body becoming more relaxed with each breath. You will feel yourself become lighter and more euphoric, with each inhalation and exhalation. You will feel a slight electrical charge, flowing through the terminals of your fingers and your toes, and right below the surface of your scalp as you exhale.
  5. All these feelings are the feelings of SPIRIT moving through you. There is no need to let it flow out of you. Feel it well up within you. Continue breathing deeply down to the lower abdomen and exhaling.
  6. Imagine a slow series of waves moving through your head. Focus on the waves, and be aware of the waves as they slowly move downward, into your throat, through your spine, through your chest, through your arms and hands to your lower abdomen, through your legs, to your feet.
  7. Now, inhale and exhale. Imagine these waves going through your entire body from head to toe. Stay conscious of your breathing.
  8. Now, visualize yourself within an oval-shaped egg, filled with clean, clear bubbly light. This subtle light is emanating all around you. You are in the oval-shaped egg with the light emanating all around you, and now this light creates a shell around you, a shell composed entirely of light. You are experiencing a light within a light. You are actually seeing your true self, with light emanating forth.
  9. Now, imagine yourself standing or sitting. Continue to breathe slowly and deeply, through your nostrils, the breath of God, and exhaling out through your mouth. You are now becoming one with the light of the shell around you.
  10. Yet, you can always, at any time, separate yourself from the shell. For example, now step out of the shell. Go back in the shell. Now separate from the shell and move out of the shell. The shell has a living consciousness. You and the shell can be one. But you and the shell can also seem like two. You and God are one. And yet, when we pray to God and look at one another, we seem separate from one another and separate from God. And so, move out of the shell. Feel free, feel joyous. And then move back into the shell. Remember the shell too has a living consciousness, as you do.
  11. When you go back into the shell, you bring the consciousness of the shell into your physical being.  When we see one another as separate from one another, or when we pray to Hashem, we bring the consciousness of Hashem into our physical being.
  12. Whether you are one with God, whether you are in the shell, or whether you feel you are separate from God, praying to God, the small I praying to the Large I, you still let the consciousness of God back into you.  Feel God within you, whether you are in the shell or out of the shell. God’s consciousness is always mixed with your consciousness.

When you remember this, when you live knowing this, your health and your spiritual health are highly enhanced. This mean, when you talk outside and share outside and lead prayer outside or do mitzvoth outside, even though you feel separate from God, from the shell, know that God is always within you.  Practice feeling this and living by this.  

This meditation of the Egg and your rebirth is Isaac Luria’s and Chaim Vital’s way of teaching that we are always being reborn in God.

Lech Lecha, Go to Your Authentic Self

 

From the pen of Hebrew Seminary Executive Director Alison Brown

First thing every morning my mind begins its chatter. What is the order of my day? What needs doing at work? What needs doing after work? In my mind tasks skirmish for priority. On the occasion that I disengage, I pat myself on the head with compassion. The mind works loves to conjure up problems and solve them. We are master puzzlers! It is no wonder that we are drawn to the practices of meditation and mindfulness.

People need space. We need space to Lech Lecha, to “go to yourself” in the words of Genesis 12:1. Jewish practices can support this effort to get in touch with our best self, our piece of the divine truth, to then go forth moment-by-moment, interaction-by-interaction to make a better world, if only through kindness. I hope to get in touch with myself so that I can act as often as possible from no-self.

Chaim Vital wrote that, “Every person must search and discover the root of his soul, so he can fulfill it and restore it to its source, its essence. The more one fulfills himself, the closer he approaches his authentic self.”

Our authentic self can be radically free and empty. In this state of consciousness there is no me and you. I am you.

After school yesterday my daughter shared something of her workload with me. Sometimes, having practiced lech lecha, I am able to listen from my authentic self. If I spoke from my chattering self, I would proceed to direct my daughter. When you get home do this, don’t take a break until you get this done, be sure you get plenty of sleep, so on and so forth. Speaking from my authentic self, my empty and full of wonder self, I empathize and offer the thought that she be compassionate with herself. I am confident that she will be her best self. She has no need for my chattering self.

A wise man knows nothing – well, maybe one song — Ikkyu