Women’s Empowerment

Meditation: Twenty-Four Little Hours

Seemingly empty moments can be transformational.
While I can’t say that patience is my strongest virtue, by reading Chovot Halevavot on cheshbon hanefesh, followed by some of Rebbe Nachman’s essays on meditation (hitbonenut and hitbodedut), I have learned that empty moments of waiting do not equal inner vacancy.
You can teach yourself to go to places you want to be, and to fill the empty space with meaning. Most of your random thoughts don’t get you far, nor do they give you any real pleasure. There are other options. You own your own mind, and you can learn to choose the direction it takes you.
Rabbeinu Bachyei presents you with 30 different meditations on specific aspects of your life. The goal of the meditations are to make you more aware of how beloved you are, how much Hashem has given you and still gives you, and, as a result, how much you can expect from yourself.
Self-esteem is based on self-discipline and the feeling that you have done something worthwhile with what you have and what you are. The knowledge that Hashem has expectations of you, and that He believes that you can use what you have, changes the quality of your life.
One of the meditations is on your own body.
Rabbeinu Bachyei says, “Bring yourself to make an accounting for the great favor Hashem has done for you by composing your body. He compiled your form … and the anatomy of your limbs. He took you out of your mother’s womb, and prepared your sustenance before you were even born.…
Imagine that you were created lacking eyes or hands or feet, but a certain man was able to make them for you; think how grateful you’d be to that man….
According to this, you should correspondingly be drawn toward the Creator, who built your body and all your limbs according to perfect functionality, as is written: ‘Remember now that You made me like clay and to the dust You will return me’ (Iyov 10:9).”
A current news magazine put these ideas in a contemporary frame*: “The human body is a remarkable piece of biological machinery, and your limbs are no exception. For example, consider the delicate and complex tasks hands can perform, such as writing in calligraphy or playing the violin. At the same time, hands have the strength and durability required to grip heavy objects and withstand impacts. Legs are equally impressive, enabling a person to run long distances without tiring and navigate across uncertain terrains.
“When someone loses a limb due to injury or disease, the rich functionality once offered by that limb is lost as well. An upper extremity amputation, involving the loss of all or part of an arm, might mean the loss of the ability to perform job skills or normal activities of daily living. For a lower extremity amputee, someone missing portions of one or more legs, this could mean the loss of the ability to walk or run.
“Prosthetic limbs are incredibly valuable to amputees because prosthesis can help restore some of the capabilities lost with the amputated limb. [But] prosthetic limbs have still not advanced to the point where they can rival the functionality provided by biological limbs.” (Time Magazine)
When I suggest doing meditation on ideas that draw you closer to Hashem and allow you to feel His love more intensely, there is always one objection that people offer. “I don’t have time. I work, have a family, a learning schedule, kindness activities and so on. When is this supposed to happen?”
Next time you are waiting for a bus, hanging around the pediatrician’s office while Junior sleeps peacefully in his bassinet, your moment has come. Meditation of this sort is part of life, not an escape from life. Use the time, enjoy it and let it keep you alive.

With Kind permission from Hamodia


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