Tal Orot 5781 Advanced Meditation Program: In the Door of the Tent
This coming year we hope to continue our weekly online sessions. If the pandemic is resolved, be-ezrat HaShem, we will add local face-to-face meetings while continuing our online series.
Over the last half-year, we have been focusing on developing the practice of Hashkatah, Quieting. The ultimate aim of Hashkatah, as sketched by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalmish Shapira, z”l, is to open consciousness to prophetic inspiration. We probably won’t get that far, but there are still important skills we can work on along the way. We widened the scope of basic quieting from stable, expansive attention to direct cognition of the meaning of our experience through heart-centered consciousness, without the limitations of words or ideas. We applied this to directly experiencing the reality of some of the most essential principles of Torah: the existence of God, the oneness of God, love of God. We also worked on direct, non-verbal questioning as a means of expanding cognition. These practices were aimed as cultivating a flexibility of attention and cognition within the state of Hashkatah.
In the coming year we look to extend the practice of Quieting to the imaginative faculty, as described by Rabbi Hayyim Vital in Sha’arei Kedushah. In this approach the imagination is transformed from an image-generating faculty to a passive sense-perceptive faculty able to receive inspiration and real impressions from beyond the physical dimension of our experience. The meditation methods that use this approach include those of our most ancient and authentic Torah tradition. We will practice three essential kabbalistic meditations that use the imagination, not to overlay fantasy on reality, but as a means of experiencing reality more expansively.
These will be given in six-week units; the first four are classes with meditations, the next a conversation with a member, followed by breakout room discussions, and the sixth week an Ask the Rabbi session as a wrap-up to the series. All the sessions will be starting at 8PM Israel time. Zoom links will be provided with registration for each series separately.
First unit: Divine Name Unification. We will practice the Divine Name meditation described by Rabbi Isaac of Acco, taking it beyond images to the reality with which it connects us.
Tuesdays, October 13, 20, 27, November 3
November 10; Follow-up conversation with a member
November 17; Ask the Rabbi
Please fill out this Google form to join this series.
Second unit: The Gate of Kavanah. We will practice this meditation on the Sefirot in an approach that accesses the reality of the divine attributes of revelation and our relationship with them.
November 24, December 1, 8, 15
December 22; Follow-up conversation with a member
December 29; Ask the Rabbi
Third unit: The Root of the Soul. We will practice this meditation of the circle of Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, z”l, in its realistic form, in a manner that awakens us to the experience of the full structure of consciousness.
January 5, 12, 19, 26
February 2; Follow-up conversation with a member
February 9; Ask the Rabbi
We are also offering a series of introductory classes on Wednesdays, 8 PM Israel time. To register for the Introductory Class, please fill out this Google form here.