Cultivating the Values of Your Practice
Rabbi Rami shares his personal practice for elevating awareness and compassion to bring thoughts, actions, and values into alignment.
The best spiritual practice is the one that awakens you to the unity of God, woman, man, and nature—and only you can determine which practice that may be. I do not suggest that you do what I do but that you consider finding practices for each of these five dimensions.
I chant (in Hebrew, Arabic, and Sanskrit) as I walk a few miles each day, practice a simple form of qigong, keep kosher by elevating my consumption (of food, clothing, electronics, etc.) to the highest ethical and moral level I can manage, and observe a weekly Sabbath during which I unplug from the virtual world to cultivate relationships in the real world.
I work a lot with metta, the Buddhist practice of cultivating compassion. I visualize people who are central to my life. As each person comes to mind I offer this blessing: May you be free from fear. May you be free from compulsion. May you be blessed with love. May you be blessed with peace. Reciting this reminds me that the hurtful things we do and say are often an expression of our fears and compulsions and are not freely chosen acts of harm. Knowing this allows me to have compassion for others and myself as well.
Learning is also a spiritual practice, and I do this primarily by reading the sacred texts and mystical teachings of the world’s religions. I have the luxury of studying daily and teaching these texts regularly. If you can, make study part of your weekly Sabbath.
This is the dimension of consciousness that realizes the interdependence of all things in God. I cultivate this realization through a daily sitting practice. I begin by silently repeating a mantra. As my body, heart, and mind settle, I drop the repetition and simply sit, allowing my mind to become like the sky: open to, but untouched by, whatever clouds of thought and feelings arise and fade away of their own accord.
This is where we realize that all things are expressions of the One Thing; that each “I” is a perspective of the only I: Brahman, Tao, YHVH, Allah, God, Spirit, Reality, etc. My practice here is self-inquiry as taught by Ramana Maharshi, regularly inquiring into the nature of Self and knowing, if only for a moment, the nameless I, who I truly am.