Ribono Shel Olam
It turns out the practice I’ve decided to take on during Cheshvan isn’t the red string at all, but rather a more disciplined meditation practice. I’ve done meditation work in the past, and my morning prayer practice certainly has meditation aspect to it, but I’ve never really had a formal meditation practice. After receiving some pretty clear signs that I need to do something to change the way I’ve been handling stress lately, and a card clearly pointing towards learning from masters, I decided to read Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide by Aryeh Kaplan. The only book of Kaplan’s I’ve read before is his translation and explanation of the Sefer Yetzirah.
When I got to the section about mantra meditation, and their history in Jewish practice, it struck a chord. I decided that this is what I needed to do in Cheshvan. I’ve taken on a nightly practice of 15-30 minutes of chanting “Ribono Shel Olam” (ריבונו של עולם), which means “Master of the Universe.” Using this phrase as a mantra for meditation is a practice from the Breslov school of Hasidim. Despite the challenge of staying focused, and not cheating to look at the clock, I’ve found this to already be a powerful addition to my spiritual practice. I actually find myself craving it as it gets closer and closer to the time each night I’ve been doing this.
Last night I acted as the “White Queen,” the priestess of renewal and rebirth for a ritual in my home spiritual community. Part of my preparation for this ritual was to spend 15 or so minutes chanting Ribono Shel Olam. I during the ritual I also chanted this for about ten minutes, and then found myself switching to Tzovah-Oreget-Mayaledet, three of the Kohenet Netivot. These were the specific energies I was drawing on for my role in this ritual. This was very centering and kept me right in the mindset I needed to facilitate my portion of this ritual.
So it seems I’ve found my practice to experiment with in Cheshvan. How about you?