Magazine article Tikkun

Opening Our Inner Selves to Tikkun Olam

Magazine article Tikkun

Opening Our Inner Selves to Tikkun Olam

Article excerpt

THERE IS A RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN remaking the world and remaking ourselves, between the courage to be with our own pain and the ability to open to the suffering of others. There is no real separation between our inner spiritual landscape and the systems of power and privilege that operate in the world. When we become more aware of the inner obstacles to freedom and peace, we are more able to work for our ideals without recreating the systems we are trying to change.

This is not new. What is potent for me is actually experiencing this in my own mind and body. When I sit in meditation, I experience the negativity of my own mind up close and personal. I see what my choices are. Just by sitting still or relaxing into a yoga pose. There is another possibility. That possibility is always the same. You can call it love, connection, intimacy. You can call it generosity, kindness, acceptance of this moment for what it is right now. When I know that this is what is happening right now and the next moment will be different, as long as I do not resist it, a space opens. This is the space of freedom which activates my intelligence, my free will. Neuroscientists explain the physiology of this process of liberation. We can change our brains through taking the time to pay attention to our minds under certain conditions. Amazing.

It is only within the last twenty years that my life has turned me toward these contemplative practices of mindfulness meditation and yoga. Ihave worked in the Jewish community my entire lifeteaching Hebrew school and serving in community relations, Hillel, and the congregational rabbinate. I have always tried to reconcile work on my character and consciousness (the inside healing) with the pursuit of justice and peace (the outside healing). I did not learn contemplative meditation practices in the Jewish world, but I have been teaching them to Jews in a multitude of settings, primarily at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (ijs-online. …

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