Notes from this morning’s session on How to Live With the Past and Not In it, plus some guidance on breathing for meditation.

Living With the Past…Not In it

Rabbi Aaron Bergman for hamakOhm

Breathing and meditative techniques

-Breathe with your nose into the belly, push out with diaphragm. Hold for a few seconds. Concentration comes during the holding of breath. Breathe out slowly through the nose (first few breaths should be through the mouth). Repeat every few breaths. Allow any thought to arise. Greet the thought with curiosity, but not judgment. Where are these thoughts located? Your mind is your ally. What is it trying to teach you?

-Scan your body from your feet up to your head. What thoughts arise as reach a particular body part? Is there warmth, tightness, pleasure or pain, or a combination? Just notice and move on.

Ideas to Contemplate

Do not believe everything you think. Thoughts may be real, but not necessarily true

Myth (how and what a group chooses to remember), memory (how and what an individual chooses to remember), history (what really happened). Which do you live with the most?

Which side of your family are you from?

Forgiveness means giving up idea that past can be better.

Forgiving is not condoning.

Is the past more appealing than your present and more promising than your future? What is that thought based on?

How has your past changed over the years?

Nostalgia versus sentimentality. Sentimentality is an appreciation for the past. Nostalgia is the desire to recreate it. Which describes your approach?

What are you afraid of from your past that will recur? What are you afraid will not recur?

Your past in dreams and daydreams-what is it trying to teach you?


You are completely unlikely. Celebrate that.

Night Time Shema

Praised are You, Adonai, who blesses Your people with peace.

I hereby forgive everyone and everything, Let no one suffer because of me.

Master of the universe, I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me whether through speech, deed, thought, or notion. May no one be punished because of me. May it be Your will, my God and the God of my ancestors, that I cause no more harm. May the expressions of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor.”

How do you understand night? Does it always lead to day? How does that relate to Rosh HaShanah and the new year?

%d bloggers like this: