Humans of Beth Am Blog

Lori Tessel: Meditation Gives You Perspective

When you lose someone close to you, as when I lost my father, and Perry lost his, it feels as if you are smothered in a dense fog, burdened by having to wear an unreasonably heavy coat. Through meditation, it gave me the opportunity to shift my perspective, and manage it better. On Father's day, my sadness is more like a light robe now; it doesn't go away, but it no longer feels like a heavy coat.

Meditation is about so much more than being still, closing your eyes, and clearing your mind. For me, the path of Jewish meditation is also a perspective that you apply to your everyday life. Perspective is my thing- the healthier the perspective, the better we all are.

Mediation has taught me that people show you who they are through their actions, whether they're big or small, good or bad. An example is from recently, when Perry was dealing with some health issues, and the community just came together for him, and brought us dinner for two months. That meal train was the greatest gift that ever happened! And when my father died, and Perry's father died, I was able to see what Shiva really does for a family. When you're in mourning, and you're living in this fog, people really help you to try and maintain clarity, and be able to live and sit in your grief. I really think Shiva is the greatest invention in the Jewish religion.

Because of meditation, I'm no longer afraid of my sadness, or am running from it. I've said for years how the amount of sadness that's in this world is huge, and if we could help our children cope with sadness, embrace and understand it, and not push it away, then our society would be very different. It's also about working on our sadness to get to the joy. Like when I saw Elliot at Ramah after I hadn't seen him for two weeks, and he ran up to me and cried. It wasn't him saying he wanted to come home, but rather that he was flooded with emotion because he hadn't seen us, and it's still all good. He was just overwhelmed with joy.

Meditation allows me to stay centered, step back and open my eyes to the opportunities, whether it's the meal train, and being able to say wow my community is really here for me, rather than just focus on what a burden the situation was. Those connections are deeper because of my appreciation and ability through meditation.

Join Lori every Saturday at TBA's Meditation Plus!
9:15 a.m. Whiteman Conference Room
Led by Rabbi Ruth Sohn