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JEWISH: The awareness of the One God, cupled with the belief of the children of Israel in their special and intimate relation with the One, became the hallmark of the Jewish religion. That awareness permeates all religious observances fostering the actualization of this truth in one's life, among them prayer, or contemplation of the One and His Word in the depths of one's own heart. The Jewish mystical path begins with this contemplation, and leads the aspirant to the state of simplicity and total unification that is oneness. When the soul gathers the world of multiplicity unto itself and cleaves to ein sof, it becomes total and universal, and in accord with its original nature.

This contemplative journey back to the source of all existence is often referred to as the return to Ayin, or the Divine Nothingness, and parallels the ascension of Moses into the darkness of God's cloud on Mount Horeb. According to the Kabbalah, when the soul has totally transcended all thought and worldly concerns, it attains the annihilation of existence (bittui ha-yesh) in the depths of nothingness ('imqei ha-ayin).

The Hasidic masters stated that after annihilating and divesting oneself of one form in Ayin, the soul is filled with [divine] emanation and clothed by God Himself. This transformation, brought about through meditation and intense devotional prayer, extends beyond prayer into contemplative action. The righteous one (tsaddiq) becomes so permeated by the Divine that his thought reveals the divine Thought and his activity actualizes God's Act. Indeed, in the consummating mystical state of integral consciousness, one's entire life reflects the mystery of the divine creation, for, as the Maggid states, "whatsoever [the tsaddiq] does, God is doing it.".

Text courtesy of the Museum of World Religions..

Traditions of Meditation:

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