middot calmness meditation bedrock of calmness

bedrock of calmness

Written by  rebbetzin malkah

art-rocksThe Hebrew word for calmness is nichutah.  Nichutah translates to ease, serenity, tranquility, or gentleness.

Out here in Seattle, we live in an earthquake zone.  For those of us whose homes are on bedrock, we live with a little more peace of mind knowing that there is some buffering that we experience due to being on solid rock.  Those who live in the valley are susceptible to liquefaction, serious shaking and building collapse.

In many scriptural references, we see Hashem as a rock upon Whom we can rely.  As the events of life sometimes shake us and cause instability, we only need to rely upon Him to have our serenity and calmness.  While financial uncertainties, home repair nightmares, joblessness and illness can bring fear and unsettledness, it is important to refocus and bring tranquility back into the equation of our lives by recalling His staying power.

This meditation can be used as a tool to settle your mind and soul when difficult times seem to abound.

(Note:  For more information on meditative techniques, see the source Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan.)

Take a seat upon either a carpeted or uncarpeted floor.  The goal is to find a firm seat in a quiet place.  First, take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing brings oxygen to your brain and helps clear the mind. Close your eyes. Continue breathing until you feel relaxed.

The focus of this meditation is to bring calmness to a distressed mind, one that cannot be still. 

Using a verse from Psalms 62:7 for meditation, choose whether you will say the Hebrew or the English. Repeat it in your mind until you are comfortable with it and can let it flow freely in your thoughts:

אַךְ־הוּא צוּרִי וִֽישׁוּעָתִי מִשְׂגַּבִּי לֹא אֶמּֽוֹט

(Ach Hu tzuri vi'shuati mis'gavi lo em'ot)

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my refuge; I shall not be moved.  --Psalms 62:7

Imagine as you repeat this verse, either aloud or in your mind, that you are sitting on a very large, flat rock by the shore of a calm, large lake.  As you sit upon this very rock, you feel its solid nature beneath you.  It is firm, unbending and supportive.  It allows you to rest upon it and does not crumble beneath you.  

Hashem is as that bedrock:  supporting you, holding you up.  Nothing can harm you as long as you sit upon this rock.  Turn your gaze to the calm water, as far as your eye can see, and focus on the serenity of this view. Calmness of spirit has just as much to do with the mind as it does the soul.  Slowly come out of this meditation and bring the visual calmness that you have envisioned with you.  Keep it soul-deep, but also at the surface.

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