daily contemplation: Silence

B”H February 21, 2020 “Be still, and know that I am G-d.” – Psalm 46:10 When we allow ourselves to rest in the silence, our minds may resist; we may become restless. Yet, persistence in the art of silent prayer, by setting aside a few minutes or more every day, will give way to a […]

daily contemplation: Silence — Etz Chayim

daily contemplation: Still Waters

Where can we find the “still waters” of our life? In our busyness, there is little room for reflection. “He leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:2). Our recompense for turning to G-d at times of disquietude is that we will eventually be shown a place within time to settle down, and reflect on […]

Meditation: Still Waters — Etz Chayim

Accidental Meditation


January 2, 2020

“He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

– Psalm 23:2b, JPS 1917 Tanach

While I am here, visiting my mother in Florida, I am able to partake of the quietude, sitting out on the screened patio, facing a small pond. The pond is bordered by the rear patios of other homes; there are also many palm trees. Wildlife abounds, mostly in the form of different types of birds. G-d’s creatures lend to an atmosphere akin to what I would refer to as the natural pace of life, providing for optimal reflection on the ordinary, extraordinary, and profound.

After services this morning, I washed the dishes left over from breakfast, made a cup of tea for myself, and ate a mid-morning snack of two rice cake squares with soy cream cheese; admittedly so, not necessarily in that order. Then, as I sat out on the patio, I noticed that there were no signs of wildlife; so, I began to watch the still surface of the pond for a unique type of aquatic bird that I like to refer to as “Loch Ness duck.” This is because I usually only catch a glimpse of the bird’s neck and head, appearing briefly above the surface.

As I was actually watching for this creature, I began to wonder what compelled me to do so for almost ten minutes. I realized that I myself was unsettled in spirit, as if I was trying to distract myself by waiting to see Loch Ness Duck. In other words, this type of accidental meditation was not a calm, serene, reflective type of waiting; rather, I was motivated by an expectation that did not transpire. Only now as I write on the same patio, am I beginning to reach homeostasis, wherein I feel recollected.