Rabbi Scott Kahn, moderator of the Jewish Coffee House podcasts, interviews Meir on the Jewish meditation tradition — its history, its place in Jewish devotional practice and Torah study, the various meditation methods, and the ways in which Jewish meditation can contribute to our spiritual development.
Guided Meditation — Ascent to the Root of the Soul
The following audio link is to an imaginative visualization method, Aliyah le-Shoresh ha-Neshamah – Ascent to the Root of the Soul, described in detail by Rav Hayyim Vital in Sefer Sha’arei Kedushah, his general introduction to the Kabbalah of the Ari z”l. In this meditation, a purified imagination ceases to function as an image generating faculty and is transformed into a sense perceptive faculty, receiving real spiritual impressions in the course of an imagined ascent to the source of one’s consciousness in the realm of the Sefirot. Those familiar with this method and its place within the history of Jewish meditation will recognize its affinity with the earlier meditation techniques of the Yordei Merkhavah and Heikhalot Schools of the Tannaitic period, who trained the imagination to operate in a similar way. This method also adapts a meditation practice mentioned by the early kabbalists of Gerona: tracing one’s consciousness to its point of origin. This is a powerful and fruitful technique that is accessible to the novice but also challenging to the advanced meditator, for whom it can help cultivate very pure, clear and penetrating states of awareness, and facilitate surprising encounters. It’s a demanding and invigorating spiritual workout.
It will begin with three minutes of clearing, followed by the guided meditation, ending with another three minutes of clearing.