A Meditation for Yom Kippur
By Keara Stein
This is a meditation I wrote for Yom Kippur. You can do it anywhere, alone or with loved ones. You don’t have to be Jewish to participate.
Take a slow deep breath in and out.
Settle your body into the chair and feel it support your weight.
Plant each foot firmly on the ground and feel the earth pushing back against you, keeping you strong and secure.
Become aware of those people sitting around you, feeling comforted that you are not alone in your confession.
Close your eyes as you focus your attention inward.
Focus your mind on your stomach, staying present with the hunger pains from your fast.
Imagine the growing emptiness you feel throughout the day as an endless vessel filling with holiness as the day progresses.
Take a few deep breaths; breathing in holiness and breathing out the toxins from the past year.
Draw your attention to your head, thinking back on how you used your brain this year.
Did you use your mind to better yourself and those around you or did you focus on banality?
For the wrong that we have committed before you through triviality of thought.
Move your attention to your ears, focusing on all that you have heard this year.
Did you hear gossip and slander? Did you hear the cries of someone suffering and ignore them?
For the wrong that we have committed before you by ignoring the needs of our neighbor.
Now focus on your mouth, recalling how you used your speech this year.
Did you speak words of holiness or did you use your words to hurt someone?
For the wrong that we have committed before you by the speaking of our mouths.
Move your focus down to your hands, remembering how you used them this year.
Did you use your hands for healing and helping, or for causing pain?
For the wrong that we have committed before you by rebellious acts.
Place a hand over your heart, feeling its steady beating.
Were you hard hearted this year or did you always try to empathize?
For the wrong that we have committed before you by refusing compromise.
Draw your attention down to your feet.
Did you use them to walk towards peace or away from it?
For the wrong that we have committed before you by stubbornness.
Refocus your mind on the feeling of hunger in your stomach.
As you take several deep breaths, breathing in holiness and breathing out the toxins from your year, feel the emptiness in your stomach turn to wholeness and holiness, enlivening you and uplifting you as you move toward forgiveness.
For all these sins, Oh God of forgiveness, please forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement!
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