Contemplative Meditation – a guest post from Steven Green

Morning! Last year between Selichot and Yom Kippur I did a spiritual practice that I would like to share with you.

As you know, Rose and I have been sharing a contemplative practice on Yom Kippor afternoon. Last year as I was preparing, I realized that between Selichot and Yom Kippur was about 13 days. During HHD we recite the “13 Attributes” many times. I started contemplating each attribute, one per day, until YK. By the time we began chanting the 13 Attributes in our service I had become intimately familiar with all of them. This made that part of the service much more meaningful.

I will be doing that practice again this year and invite you to join me!

Below you will find part of the handout we used last year in our YK practice with an explanation of how to do a contemplation. You will also find the English translation of the 13 Attributes. Please note: This year it is 15 days from Selichot to Rosh HaShana which, coincidentally, in Hebrew is spelled such that it is a name of G!D: Yah. This can be an auspicious practice this year!

If you intend to take up this practice, let me know. If you have any questions on the mechanics of how one might conduct a contemplative practice please do not hesitate to contact me – I would welcome the opportunity to work with you on this.

Shana Tova,


Instructions for Contemplative Meditation 

  1. Calm the mind by resting on the breathing.
  2. When you feel ready, bring up a certain thought or intention in the form of words.
  3. Use these words as the object of meditation, continually returning to them as distractions arise.
  4. In order to help rouse the heartfelt experience of their meaning, think about the words. Bring ideas and images to mind to inspire the meaning.
  5. As the meaning of the words begins to penetrate, let the words drop away, and rest in that.
  6. Become familiar with that meaning as it penetrates.
  7. Conclude your session and arise from meditation with the meaning in your heart. “Meaning” is direct experience, free of words.
  8. Now enter the world aspiring to conduct yourself with the view of your contemplation. For example, if you have been contemplating the preciousness of human birth, your view will be one of appreciation.

From, Turning Your Mind Into An Ally, Sakyong Mipham




The Thirteen Attributes

Adonai, Adonai, G!D of mercy and grace, patient, loving and faithful, Who extends love to the thousandth generation, forgiving transgression, rebellion and sin, and granting pardon.


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