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What Guides You?

September 21, 2010

What Guides You?

I have recently become involved in leading and participating in a morning prayer service. One might think this would be a regular practice for a rabbi, but every congregational job is different and each community has its own culture and practice. So while I am used to my own personal prayers, I am now praying daily in a group for the first time in a long time.

Our prayer group met last week, and one of the things we spoke about is what brings people to this service. Many of them began to attend when they’d lost a family member, and they came to say a special mourner’s prayer that Jews recite for eleven months after the death of a close loved one. Others have attended for years out of their own personal religious commitment. Still others came because they were inspired by someone they trusted. What is interesting is that regardless of what first brought them in the door, all who attended had something in common: they found that the service was a guide in their day.

One woman said that the service was a place where she found peace. One of the men described it as his morning cup of coffee. A third, a man who had experienced religious persecution earlier in his life, was thankful that he could pray in freedom. Others found that it was a way to wake them up so that they could face their day with more purpose, clarity, love, and light.

It takes commitment to create a spiritual practice for yourself, whether it is one you do on your own, or like these individuals, one that you share in community. One thing is for certain: choosing a discipline affects your life. The practice tends to leak over into other areas of your life, developing greater discipline there, as well. It may also have the added benefit of creating balance and insight, and may help you approach your day with more evenness and openness.

What guides you? Is it prayer? Is it a discipline? Is it a system of values? Perhaps it is a quote passed down through your family or inspired by someone you know. Whatever your day brings, I invite you to connect with your own source of guidance, and to invest in it. As you do, you will be making an investment in yourself.

Robin Damsky

Robin Damsky is the rabbi of West Suburban Temple Har Zion in Oak Park, Illinois, and co-author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2010 9:10 am

    Thank you for this.
    I have only in the past few years finally discovered the joy of spiritual practice and all that it does to enhance my life.
    Sadly, I am not yet as consistent with my practice of meditation and prayers of gratitude, although the gratitude takes place in every moment that I think of it, which is becoming more and more often throughout the day. Meditation has of late, been taking a back seat to my life.
    I am grateful for the reminder.
    Nicely written.

    • September 21, 2010 10:17 am

      Dear Jenny Ann,
      I am pleased that our blog had meaning for you. Whatever your spiritual practice, I feel safe in saying that the more consistently you choose to invest in that connection, the more value you will feel throughout your life.
      May your path bring you blessings,
      Robin

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