A Way In Blog

Carol Towarnicky | 07/20/2011 - 11:06am
Here's an article I came across on a scientific study that found that people who meditate regularly tend to make more "rational" decisions rather while the non-meditators were more likely to let emotions color their decisions.  The science was a little hard to follow, but it reminded me  of the useful phrase to come back to when the mind goes off into stories, anger, emotion, even exuberance: "good to notice." I'm not sure that the brain waves being studied...
Carol Towarnicky | 07/18/2011 - 3:48pm
Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D., described as a Benedictine Oblate and online Abbess offers this practice for "taking time": I had some sabbatical time this summer to be away from calendars and email demands. I set up an auto-responder with the subject line, "Holy Pause." I had several people comment how much they appreciated those words as a reminder that they had the choice to take their own holy pause. Give yourself to several small holy pauses during the day and see...
Carol Towarnicky | 07/14/2011 - 10:41am
I subscribe to panhala, a source of poetry and image that often expresses the spirit of Jewish Mindfulness. A few days ago, this appeared in my inbox: Primary Wonder Days pass when I forget the mystery. Problems insoluble and problems offering their own ignored solutions jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing their colored clothes; cap and bells.   And then once more the quiet mystery is present to me, the throng...
Carol Towarnicky | 07/08/2011 - 9:14am
Here is a great guide to a form of the Metta Meditation that we often do at A Way In services. It's a video of Sylvia Boorstein leading leading this meditation while being interviewed by Krista Tippett of American Public Media's On Being program Sylvia Boorstein has been a teacher for many of us. May you feel safe. May you feel content. May you feel strong. May you live in ease.
Rabbi Yael Levy | 07/07/2011 - 10:05pm
When I was preparing for Shabbat services soon after Shavuot, I came across a Hasidic teaching about the importance of staying awake to our lives. As the Torah teaches, the experience of Sinai lasted only a moment. In the time following, the people had a difficult time holding onto it. Once we have a spiritual awareness, for whatever strange human reason, it’s so easy to go back to sleep afterward. Spiritual practices can help us to return to being fully awake. One of the practices to...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 07/06/2011 - 9:09am
  Today is the 5th of Tammuz, the exact date, according to the Book of Ezekiel, of the prophet's awesome vision. As the text has it, Ezekiel was by the river Chebar, which means "already." There, reflected in the water, he had an experience of God beyond rational thought. Ezekiel's story is the haftorah for Shavuot and here, a month later, the question comes again: Whatever we look into, can we see a reflection of the divine? The rabbis teach that he entire month of...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 05/02/2011 - 11:18am
On Shabbat Kedoshim, some of us gathered at the beautiful home of Kris and Mark Soffa for a half-day mindfulness retreat. The omer day of netzach sh’ b gevurah -- Eternity within Discernment and Shabbat Kedoshim (You shall be Holy) -- raised these teachings: The One speaks to our hearts, saying: Everything passes, Yet I remain Rest in Me, You shall be Holy—You and all creation are holy Know yourself as sacred vessels through which holiness flows into the world Each of us are...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 04/18/2011 - 1:39pm
Mitzriyam is the narrow place, the locale of constriction, disconnection, small, limited perspective.                                                                   ...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 04/17/2011 - 9:24pm
Matzah As we begin the seder the matzah is lechem oni—the bread of affliction. By the middle of the seder the matzah has become the afikomen—the dessert—what we seek, what we long for. The transformation starts as we lift up the three matzot, break the middle matzah and call, “This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat.” As we acknowledge the suffering and brokenness that exists in us and in our world and reach out from this...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 04/10/2011 - 6:06pm
As we prepare for the festival of pesach and the beginning of the Omer, we are invited to share our experiences and reflections in order to deepen our connection to each other and the practices. There are so many ways into the Passover experience—here is some of what we reflected on during A Way in Minyan this week (April 9th).   We, along with the natural world, are being called out of winter hibernation. We are being called out to blossom, to unfurl, to become. The mystery that draws...
Carol Towarnicky | 04/09/2011 - 9:11pm
This year's revised Omer Guide has arrived and is available for purchase, either by Internet order or at Mishkan Shalom. In the first edition of "Journey through the Wilderness: Counting the Omer," Rabbi Yael collected many of the teachings and Psalm translations that she had been sharing with us for years in classes and in emails. This year's guide includes many additions and refinements: Hebrew is included for all the Psalms (something we didn't have the capability to do before). What's most...
Rabbi Yael Levy | 03/14/2011 - 9:38pm
Welcome to first post of the "A Way In" blog, which we hope will provide an opportunity for us to share with each other some of the insights that come from Mindfulness Practice. A new initiative of the A Way in minyan is to offer practices that arise from our sitting and reflecting together as a way to deepen our connection to each other and the teachings. What follows are possibilities for practice for this month as well as an invitation to reflect on what arises from these practices in the...

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