If you never intend to try meditation, you might change your mind after reading this beautifully written book that demonstrates how the Torah, Talmud, and other Jewish texts, along with daily meditation practice, can help us cope with the pressures and crises of modern life.
If you already wish to learn how to meditate, this book will have an even more profound impact. It describes techniques rooted in the Buddhist tradition — how to sit, how to breathe, how to cope with the million stray thoughts that whip around your consciousness. Most significantly, it highlights aspects of Jewish rituals and spirituality that feed directly into meditation practice.
The author, a rabbi, knows this territory well. Alan Lew is a cofounder of Makor Or, a meditation center connected to Congregation Beth Shalom in San Francisco, where Lew is the spiritual leader. From this vantage point, Lew approaches meditation as a form of “leave-taking” that leads to revelation, a theme, he demonstrates, which is echoed repeatedly in the Five Books of Moses.
Lew draws on insights from Rabbi Akiba, Yitzchak Abravanel, and other great Torah commentators, along with close reading of traditional texts. He also uses examples from his own life, including how meditation helped him deal with a mother wracked by Alzheimer’s and with a dangerously rebellious teenage daughter. This is Lew’s third book weaving together Jewish and Buddhist spiritual practice, the others being This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared and One God Clapping.