WELCOME TO TORAH-VEDA

Torah and Veda are two ancient sources of spirituality still vibrant today. Torah is conveyed through the sacred language of Hebrew and Veda is conveyed through the sacred language of Sanskrit. The focus here is on meditation, mysticism, philosophy, psychology and the underlying spirituality that has been incorporated into religions, and not as much on the religions themselves. Your comments and posts are welcome.

Torah-Veda
An Interspiritual Journey
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Quote of the Week 346 - Contrasting and Bridging the Scientific and the Indigenous


From as far back as I can remember, I had this notion of plants as companions and teachers, neighbors and friends. Then, when I went to college, a shift occurred for me. As an aspiring botany major, I was pressured to adopt the scientific worldview; to conceive of these living beings as mere objects; to ask not, “Who are you?” but, “How does it work?” This was a real challenge for me. But I was madly in love with plants, so I worked hard to accommodate myself to this new approach.


Later in my career, after I’d gotten my PHD and started teaching, I was invited to sit among indigenous knowledge holders who understood plants as beings with their own songs and sensibilities. In their presence, and in the presence of the plants themselves, I woke from the sleep I’d fallen into. I was reminded of what I’d always known in my core: that my primary relationship with plants was one of apprenticeship. I’m learning from plants, as opposed to only learning about them.


Let me add that my appreciation of plants has been greatly enriched by knowing the beauty of chlorophyll and photosynthesis, and hormones and cellular biology. Ideally the two ways of knowing can reinforce one another.


Both Western science and traditional ecological knowledge are methods of reading the land. That’s where they come together. But they’re reading the land in different ways. Scientists use the intellect and the senses, usually enhanced by technology. They set spirit and emotion off to the side, and bar them from participating. Often science dismisses indigenous knowledge as folklore – not objective or empirical, and thus not valid. But indigenous knowledge, too, is based on observation, on experiment. The difference is that it includes spiritual relationships and spiritual explanations. Traditional knowledge brings together the seen and the unseen, whereas Western science says that if we can’t measure something, it doesn’t exist.


Western science explicitly separates observer and observed. It’s rule number one: keep yourself out of the experiment. But to the indigenous way of thinking, the observer is always in relationship with the observed, and thus it’s important that she know herself: As I watch that bee and flower, as I study how water moves, as I observe the growth of the grass in this meadow, I understand that the kind of being I am colors how I see and feel and know. Furthermore, my presence might even be influencing how the world is working around me. It’s important to recognize the relationship that exists between the observer and the observed.


--Robin Wall Kimmerer, a native American with a PhD in botany, interviewed by Leath Tonino in The Sun magazine, April 2016


CURRENT TEACHING SESSIONS











GUIDED MEDITATION SERIES

As a follow-up to the wonderful weekend with Rabbi Glick, I am presenting a series of three guided meditation sessions at my house. Following are descriptions for the three sessions and related details. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who may be interested. Although this is a series, and one would benefit the most by taking all three sessions, they are also stand-alone sessions, and no commitment for all three is required. Although previous meditation experience would be helpful, it is not a prerequisite.


Cost: $10.00 per session, or whatever can be comfortably afforded (nobody turned away for inability to pay). Minimum four registrations per session for the session to proceed. Email me to reserve and follow-up with payment via mail payable to Steve Gold, 3562 Castlehill Ct., Tucker, GA 30084 or via PayPal: Torah-Veda/Yoga and Judaism Center PayPal


Dates and Times: Sunday mornings, 11 AM to 12:30 PM; March 27, April 24, May 15, 2016


Location: The home of Steve Gold, 3562 Castlehill Court, Tucker, GA 30084


Sunday, March 27, 2016; 11 AM to 12:30 PM:

SESSION #1: Guided Meditation – I am an Empty Shell, Therefore I am Full; A Meditation on Emptiness and Dark Luminescence Based on the Opening Lines of Genesis

The opening lines of Genesis are usually construed as a mystical/metaphorical description of the creation/manifestation of the totality of the macrocosm, of all of creation, that happened some time ago in the mythic past. However, they can also be regarded as describing processes of ongoing creation/manifestation occurring all of the time, and not only in the macrocosm, but also in the microcosm, within each of us. This presentation will analyze some of the clauses from these opening lines of Genesis as an introduction to a guided meditation experientially incorporating these spiritually powerful images into our inner being. Come experience the ongoing Genesis within and its relationship to “the thin voice of silence/stillness”.



Sunday, April 24, 2016; 11 AM to 12:30 PM:

SESSION #2: Guided Meditation – The Stage

As The Bard has insightfully observed, “All the World’s a Stage”. This presentation will set the stage for meditation that will lead you through a journey into the deep, non-dual reality suggested by this pithy saying.



Sunday, May 22, 2016; 11 AM to 12:30 PM:

SESSION #3: Guided Meditation – The Rod, The Staff, and The Star

“Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” What does that mean? This meditation will guide you through one interpretative experiential journey of this famous Bible quote, entwined with an inner vision of the six-pointed star, a major symbol of Judaism, but also the symbol of The Heart in traditional Indian metaphysics.


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR. Steven J. Gold, BA Antioch College, Philosophy and Religion; JD Emory Law School, is the founder/director of Torah-Veda (formerly the Yoga and Judaism Center) in Atlanta, GA and the author of Yoga and Judaism (2007) Ivri: The Essence of Hebrew Spirituality (2010), Torah Portion Summaries; With Insights from the Perspective of a Jewish Yogi (2010), and Basic Spiritual Principles (2011). He has been an initiate, student, practitioner and teacher in a Himalayan meditation tradition for over 35 years and a student of Kabala and Jewish Spirituality for several years. He focuses on spiritual teachings and meditation practices that incorporate non-dual elements from Torah and Veda, two ancient spiritual traditions sharing common principles at their core.




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quote of the Week 260 - The Revenge of the Spirit


Perhaps environmental pollution and the painful gap between the rich and the poor do not constitute the major challenges of our civilization. Perhaps the real challenge lies in the way humankind meets the world- that is, in human consciousness. Consciousness is what makes us unique in the history of evolution. But we have yet to embrace fully what it means to be human…

External evolution requires internal evolution. That was the dimension Abraham Maslow added to the basic Freudian needs: our search for meaning. We strive to develop our consciousness to achieve self-actualization…

The time has come for the spirit to escape from institutions, organizations, structures, strictures and systems. The development of the economy, technology and society is bringing human autonomy closer and closer. Modern individuals have infinitely more opportunities to organize their own lives than did those of previous generations We are at the threshold of a revenge of the spirit. This is the top of Maslow’s pyramid; self-realization. Consciousness separates the human being from other living creatures. We are all recognizably unique and our desire is to fulfill that uniqueness. The next phase of evolution is about becoming conscious beings that direct ourselves. That’s the way to happiness vitality intelligence and health.

The vision of the autonomous individual should not be confused with the current culture of individualism. At a higher level of awareness, the autonomous person realizes her independence relies on the respect and tolerance of others. As more and more people find their own way to spiritual development, they realize that every person, every creature, is part o a greater whole. This growing awareness is changing society. Personal development on a large scale – in sharp contrast with the collective mass hysteria of the various religious – adds a new dimension to the evolution.

If the expansion of consciousness is the mark of the future, it will have a profound effect on the way we equip and organize our world. As awareness rises, equality and community become stronger forces at the expense of old-fashioned, overly controlling rules and overly dominant institutions that promote competition. We will see less emphasis on power, more space for self-organization. That will amount to less winning or losing and more spontaneous synergy on the road to a common outcome.
We are discovering that the pollution of the mind gave rise to the pollution of the environment and that ecology is not just about preserving resources and nature but about realizing humanity’s place in the creation of the universe. “Self-realization will make us spontaneously inclined to value and defend the integrity of the world around us,” said Arne Naess, the founder of the deep ecology movement.

Self-direction will transform standardized education systems, as children cease to be asked to parrot what they read in books selected by their teachers and parents but learn to discover, develop and capitalize on their own talents. Self-determination is also crucial for our health. Autonomous individuals are more healthy individuals. And so increased consciousness will dismantle the expensive, rule-bound system of health care…

In the end, what an Indian master once told me accurately describes our mission: “The greatest journey we can make is the journey within. While going nowhere, while staying right here, we can travel an even greater distance inside.” That journey begins with feeling, listening, looking and experiencing, and sometimes by taking a moment in our busy lives to experience our connection with creation, to invite the future in, to discover that happiness is more than matter or property, to learn that health is, first and foremost, an individual, inner experience…

Come, let’s invest in our dreams of a world renewed, trusting that a new era is now supporting our longing. “It is our duty – as men and women – to behave as though limits to our ability do not exist. We are collaborators in the creation of the universe,” said French philosopoher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. And we should never forget that we are here to trust and realize our dreams. There’s no more fundamental change.

--Excerpts from the article, The Revenge of the Spirit in The Intelligent Optimist magazine (formerly Ode) January/February 2013 edition
by Jurriaan Kamp, editor-in-chief

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