Monday, July 5, 2010

Meditative Techniques of the (Piaseczna) Rebbe

Reb Kalonymos Kalman wrote extensively about enhancing our awareness of true reality, and increasing sensitivity to our world on a visceral level.

Among many ideas, one of the more famous ones is his method of hashkata - the quieting of the mind in order to facilitate focus and meditation.

While this method proves effective for spiritual growth - as that is the primary intent of such exercises - I have found that the rebbe's instructions extremely helpful in the midst of a crazy day. While many people believe that these things are behind their ken, at the very least they can benefit from the actual help that hashkata offers in quieting the maddening thoughts that flit around inside our heads.

In an instance of profound psychological insight (which was not uncommon, for the rebbe), the rebbe informs us that when we examine our thoughts in an objective manner - i.e. when we follow a thread of thought, a train of thought through all of it's twists and turns until it's conclusion - we realize that the only thing that differentiates between us and the insane is that the crazy man actually tries to act upon every thought that comes to mind. We on the other hand filter out most of the extreme stuff, and ignore many impulses that arise on a minute-to-minute basis. But if we can watch the stream of thought without getting swept away in it, we naturally cause the thought process to slow down, beginning the process of quieting the mind.

Below is a video that will explain, in brief, the rebbe's techniques, as found in a letter printed as an appendix to his sefer, Derech HaMelech.



Neil Harris said...
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Neil Harris said...

Don't know HOW I missed this post! Sharing it on FB, man. Please email me about how you found this treasure.