For this week’s daily counting of the Omer, we focus on loving-kindness, hesed. Today, consider this teaching about embracing compassion and peace from our congregant Dr. Andrew Newberg’s book, How God Changes Your Brain:
Focus on compassion or an image of peace as your breathe deeply and relax. Hold this though for at least 12 minutes a day, and in a matter of a few months you’ll begin to build and strengthen new neural circuits of compassion, and these will interrupt the neurological tendency to shy away from people who appear different from you…If you consciously interrupt pessimistic thoughts and feelings with optimistic beliefs–even if they are based on fantasies…Fear, anxiety and irritability will decrease, and a sense of peacefulness will slowly take its place…it’s a simple seesaw effect. Love goes up, and fear goes down. Anger goes up, and compassion goes down.
Where do you sense you are on the seesaw today? Would a 12-minute daily meditation focusing on compassion be worth your time to bring more loving-kindness into your life?
Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohenu Melech ha-olam asher kidishanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu al s’firat ha’omer. Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with sacred actions and enjoins us to count the omer.
Hayom sh’nei yamim la’omer. Today is the 2nd day of the omer.
Have a sweet Pesach! Rabbis Kuhn, Maderer, Freedman and Cantor Frankel