During the minkhah service on Yom Kippur afternoon, Sue Goldberg and Don Adams helped us raise our consciousness about ways we might participate in tikkun olam, the repair of the world, during the coming year.Community members spoke eloquently and passionately about ways to participate in the healing of our planet, from prison reform to the replanting of uprooted olive trees in Palestinian lands.I want to add a possible path of tikkun to those about which we began to speak on Yom Kippur.
The great Buddhist Renewal teacher and activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, teaches that to make peace, shlyemut, wholeness, one must be peace. To use a catch phrase of the 20th century, the medium is the message. In the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh’s words:
Many of us worry about the situation of the world.We don’t know when the bombs will explode.We feel that we are on the edge of time.As individuals, we feel helpless, despairing. The situation is so dangerous, injustice is so widespread, the danger is so close.In this kind of situation, if we panic, things will only become worse.We need to remain calm, to see clearly.Meditation is to be aware, and to try to help.”(from Being Peace, p. 11)
This coming December Rabbis Jeff Roth, Burt Jacobson, and I are offering an amazing opportunity to enter deeply into the work of inner tikkun—work that can undergird and strengthen all of our “outer” work in the world. The Awakened Heart Project and Ruach Ha-Aretz are co-sponsoring a week-long silent meditation retreat at Ralston White Retreat Center in Mill Valley from December 2-9.
This retreat is designed to provide a deeply nurturing and supportive structure in which to enter G!d’s presence and to heal internally. Ralston White Retreat Center is a capacious and light-filled mansion that rests on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, a mere 45-minute drive from Berkeley, yet worlds away from the fast pace and noise of city life.
In the quiet of lush greenery and vast skies you will be guided to a deep space of looking inward, supported by teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov and the simple act of paying attention while sitting, walking, eating, and doing gentle body movements. You will have individual sessions with each teacher, time to talk about your practice and to receive personal guidance.In the matrix of silence, you will be invited to enter into the sacred study of Hasidic texts and to hear evening talks and words of encouragement.
In short, all the support we would most wish for our teshuvah process during the hectic rush of the High Holy Days can be yours—at last!—during Chanukah, as we light the first candle together during the third night of the retreat.Though the Sefer ha-Chayyim, the Book of Life, is said to have been signed and sealed for another year as the gates closed on Yom Kippur, we know that the gates of teshuvah remain open year-round. What better moment than Chanukah, the dark of the year, to enter a space of spiritual “hibernation” and to re-kindle the small but bright flames of our inner passion for G!d, to return to center, and to gather strength to do our work in the world?
If you’ve never participated in a silent retreat and are curious but fearful of skeptical, feel free to call me to talk about how the retreat will unfold and the benefits of such work. I can honestly say I know of no spiritual work more transformative, more supportive than this kind of meditative practice.The details are below.I wish you continuing joy during this harvest season, and hope that every sukkah you sat in was a sukkah of shalom, of G!d’s peace.
A Seven-Day Jewish Meditation Retreat
with Rabbis Diane Elliot, Burt Jacobson, and Jeff Roth
at the Ralston L White Retreat in Mill Valley, Marin County, California
Sponsored by The Awakened Heart Project and Ruach Haaretz
As you move into winter's darkness and quiet, align your spiritual practice with the season by diving deeply inward during this seven-day meditation retreat. Using the vehicle of silence and a variety of Jewish meditation approaches, this retreat will invite you to look deeply into your own life as you cultivate greater wisdom, joy and compassion. The deep work allows each of us to see more clearly how we become overwhelmed and shut down, hurting ourselves and those around us in the process.
The clarity possible through these practices allows us to experience the movement from "small mind," the narrow place of "mochin de'katnut," into an expanded perception of the Divine presence that pervades all of life--what the Ba'al Shem Tov calls "devekut." To support our meditative practice, we will explore the Ba'al Shem's teaching on Presence and devekut which flow from his four core truths.
Structure of the Retreats The retreat includes daily periods of prayer, chant and meditative movement.
Daily instruction in meditation will help guide both beginning and advanced practitioners into the sacred space of the retreat process.
Throughout the retreat we will maintain social silence.
There will be times for questions and answers as well as small group and private interviews with the instructors.
The week will culminate in a deep celebration of Shabbat followed by the chance to hear of each other's learning as the retreat comes to a close.
To register contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 339-8677 for more information