My heart sings

I was raised in a Jewish household. My parents were immigrants, my mother from France and my father from Russia. My mother was raised in a Jewish orphanage because her parents could not afford to care for her. I believe my father would have been a rabbi had he stayed in Russia. Nevertheless, they came to this country in 1917 through Ellis Island, met, married, and settled in the Bronx. That is where I grew up. We celebrated the Jewish holidays, but did not attend synagogue, nor did my sister and I attend Sunday School. I married a Jewish man, moved to Connecticut, attended a Reform Synagogue, and observed the holidays.

At a certain point when my three children were small, I wished to go deeper into Judaic studies hoping to cultivate a mind that was more spiritual. I talked with my rabbi about this and was told that the mystical books of Judaism were open only to Jewish men over 40 who studied Torah. (This was the situation in the 1950s but, of course, is no longer the case.) I then discovered the existence of the Gurdjieff Institute in New York City. I attended their classes for eight years studying attention (present moment awareness) expressed in Sufi dancing and other activities. Then a group of us Gurdjieff students brought a Buddhist guru and his family to NYC to study with him. I stayed in Buddhist practice for about 25 years, meditating and counting hundreds of thousands of mantra and doing prostrations.

At a certain point it became clear to me that every spiritual practice and religion is about love and that Love is all there is. It was then that I felt free to leave Buddhist practice and cultivate a meditation practice on my own.

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