Monday, February 11, 2013

Pay Attention!

I received the following message from - a Breslov related institute that shares a "regular dose of hope, meaning, and courage".  Despite the fact that I have been receiving these emails for months I really have not found them engaging, either personally or professional. Until today, when I took literally the subject line to "Pay Attention".  

Of late, I have been struggling to stay focused in my tefilla as my work thoughts have intruded into my meditation space and my davening has subsequently suffered. I find the below message to be the near perfect prescription:
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught..."While praying, listen to the words very carefully.  When your heart is attentive, your entire being enters your prayer  without your having to force it."  (The Empty Chair*, p. 88) 
What does this mean to me?
There is a difference between just mouthing the words of prayer and really being present. Sometimes people get very complicated and think that they need some kind of mystical intentions for their prayers to really sing. Rebbe Nachman taught that the service of prayer needs to be invested with our attention for it to be complete. He emphasized that our hearts can be aroused to great emotion simply, by really listening to the words that we say and realizing that we are saying them. This, in turn, will help us to be aware of to Whom we are speaking. 
A prayer:Dear G-d, who hears the prayers  of His people with compassion,-  bestow Your mercy and lovingkindness upon us  for Your sake, if not for our own.  Prepare our hearts to pray to You  with all of our attention,  and help us so that our prayers flow freely in our mouths always,  And may no obstacle get in the way of our prayers.  (Likutey Tefillot/The Fiftieth Gate, I:2)

1 comment:

  1. Rebbe Nachman has a lot to say about Tefilah. One of my favorites is the idea that when it's hard for you to daven - daven to daven!
    Pray for your prayer!