Rabbi Rami: My Morning Ritual
Before I share what I do regarding spiritual practice, let me share why I do it. I do it because I enjoy it. I don’t do it to get wise, enlightened, holy, or saved. I do it because I like doing it. In Judaism we call this lishmah, doing something for the intrinsic pleasure of just doing it. So now, what do I do.
Early each morning, often long before dawn, I chant. I chant in Hebrew and Sanskrit. I chant from the morning liturgy of my root tradition, Judaism, and I chant mantra from my adopted traditions, Buddhism and Hinduism. When it is light enough to walk, I leave my house and walk about four or five miles, most of it alone, some of it with my Goldendoodle guru, Murphy. I continue chanting while I walk, and within a mile or so I become aware of the Divine Mother, Chochmah/Sophia/Saraswati/Mary/Lady Wisdom walking with me, and we chat. I thank her for the gifts of yesterday, and share my concerns for today. She listens silently. And when she does speak she sounds like the Oracle from the first Matrix movie. Her message is always the same: stop thinking, stop clinging, stop fearing, I am with you.
When I return home, and after I have showered, I sit in silence and breathe. To help me settle I recite a mantra of sorts as I breathe: “Breathing in I welcome all sensation; breathing out I transcend all sensation. Breathing in I welcome all emotion; breathing out I transcend all emotion. Breathing in I welcome all thoughts; breathing out I transcend all thoughts. Breathing in I welcome all beings; breathing out I transcend all beings. Breathing in I welcome the One; breathing out I transcend the One.”
I do this for twenty to thirty minutes. Then I move to my desk and I study. I am at heart a Jnana yogi: my path is wisdom, and I find wisdom in silence but also in text. Ideas matter to me. They are seeds that can blossom into compassion and awareness, and I plant them in my mind through study and recitation. I do this throughout the day. Some of what I study ends up in books I write, so my spiritual practice becomes my financial support as well. I am blessed this way.