Ok, you’re sold. Or at least you want to give it a shot. Now, how does one actually practice Hishtalmoot Meditation?
It’s simple, and involves just three steps:
The first step involves relaxing your body by focusing your attention on individual muscle groups: your shoulders, back, legs, feet, etc. This method is referred to as “progressive relaxation” in the psychology world, because you are relaxing your body in increments instead of trying to relax all at once.
It is similar to a practice of vihappasana meditation where you “scan” your body with your mind’s eye, progressing slowly from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet. You can use this technique if you prefer, the ultimate goal is to enter a physically relaxed state.
Once you are physically relaxed, it becomes much easier to relax your thoughts and focus your attention in a much more visceral way.
Like a CD player, a relaxed meditative state creates the opportunity in which you can “play” any number of “CD’s”. You can choose to focus on a myriad of different thoughts, feelings, or memories and experience them in a completely different way than you normally wood.
Really then, “meditation” is just a means to an end, which then creates an opportunity that you can utilize as you wish. Focus on a Buddhist idea? You are practicing Buddhist meditation. A Jewish idea? Then it’s Jewish meditation!
When practicing Hishtalmoot meditation, we choose to focus upon ancient Jewish ideas that add positivity to our lives and help us grow and develop as human beings; ultimately fulfilling the Jewish value of Hishtalmoot, continuous perfection of our beings.
The following are some suggested ideas that you might choose to focus on:
- Love. Judaism teaches that the Creator made us out of deep love for us and a desire to give us pleasure. Tapping into the loving presence of the creator is actually one of the 6 directives, or mitzvoth in Hebrew, which a person can fulfill at any time.
- Pleasure. The Jewish tradition is that humans were created to experience pleasure, and to continuously hone it to a higher, more transcendental level of experience. The ultimate pleasure, Judaism teaches, is connecting to the Creator, and a state of meditation is one of the best ways to experience this.
- Compassion. Every positive trait like love, compassion, or giving needs to begin within yourself. We often “speak” to ourselves using critical language which we would never direct towards other people. Judaism teaches that any form of rebuke must be delivered in a positive, non-critical way; and a state of meditation is great way to practice compassionate self-talk.
- Your positive character traits. Each of us has a unique skill, talent or gift that they bring to the world. This is our unique way in which we are able to bring goodness (a manifestation of the Creator) into the world. Finding, focusing, and empowering your unique positive trait is an important first step to living a life of meaning and fulfillment.
Since meditation puts you in a state of deep, positive relaxation; returning to a state of full consciousness and your everyday life can be a bit of a shock. This is why it is best to gradually transition from a state of full meditation to a state of your routine awareness, by counting slowly up from 1 to 5, for example.
This has the added benefit of letting you hold on to all the positive emotions, insights and experience you had in meditation and to integrate them more readily into your waking life, which is the ultimate purpose of Hishtalmmoot meditation. Our vision of an ideal reality is not to have people meditating all day, but to have people living transformed lives as a result of the meditation they practice.
Like everything in life, and meditation in particularly, you will get better at Hishtalmoot meditation the more you practice. We recommend finding just 5 minutes to practice this method; this will help you create a routine, a habit of relaxing on focusing on positive thoughts whenever the opportunity arises.
Ideally you should try scheduling this time at the beginning or end of your day when you are less distracted, but you can also make a point of meditating whenever the opportunity arises (for example, in a waiting room or on a commute where you aren’t driving) . More often and not this is a time when you might be tempted to zone-out on your favorite electronic device, but using the time for meditation is a lot more pleasant and beneficial in the long run.
A great way to start is by listening to one of our free recordings. These brief sound bites will help you stay focused which is especially helpful when you are first starting out and your mind tends to wander.