Transcript: Hitbonenut [thought-meditation] practice, mindfulness practice.
Sit comfortably, on a chair, on a cushion, on a mat. If you’re on a chair, have your feet rest flat on the floor. Your back should be in an alert position, straight but not in a strenuous way, just regular straight. Bring your attention to the parts of your body that are making contact with the outside world. Your feet on the floor, or if you’re sitting cross-legged, your thighs. Your back leaning against whatever it’s leaning, if it is. Your hands, perhaps, on your lap. Your arms on the armrest. Notice how you are sitting in this world.
Now notice the sounds that you hear. It may be very quiet, in which case, you might be hearing the whispering ambient noise, maybe there’s a wind blowing. Maybe there’s some traffic in the background. Maybe there is a heating or air conditioning system that is blowing or turning on or off. Be curious about the sounds.
Now focus your attention on your breath, the in breath, the out breath. The in breath, the out breath. Maybe you want to count the breaths by way of keeping your attention. Pay attention to your breath, and then when you start thinking about something else as another thought arises. And then, when you start thinking about something else, as another thought arises, as you notice it, examine it and let it go, and return your attention to your breath. If you find yourself in an extended daydream, just notice it, examine it, let it go and return to the breath. The goal is to be present, and to notice what arises.
Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., graduated from RRC in 1977. Staub has served on the RRC faculty since 1983; he served as the College’s vice president for academic affairs and academic dean from 1989 to 2004. He was instrumental in developing RRC’s Spiritual Direction Program and has taught Jewish spiritual direction across North America, including at Spiritual Directors International and the Spirituality Institute of Metivta. He co-directs Bekhol Levavkha: A Training Program for Jewish Spiritual Directors at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. He has served as a faculty member and board member at Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture and Spirituality.