Judaism’s ancient treasure of Shabbat can be mined the way Hindu and Buddhist treasures have been mined to gift to the west yoga, meditation and mindfulness. It’s time.
Every year, more young and old use time-honored methods to increase health, awareness and inner peace. These practices are taught without regard for beliefs. One doing yoga stretches need not believe in karma or rebirth to benefit. So too with meditation and mindfulness. Their popularity is booming because it works.
Rewards of Shabbat are available for all, also without regard for beliefs or religious narrative.
For thousands of years, Shabbat as a day of rest has been practiced weekly from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. Rest has an expansive definition in Judaism, focusing one’s attention on nature and what humanity has not created. Rest involves refraining from taking actions that override nature. Lighting a fire has traditionally been avoided on Shabbat because it’s humanity’s creation of light.
With the advent of technology, a practice of Shabbat is to unplug — abstaining from your cell phone, computer and TV. Taking off once a week from being wired can be radical but just what we need.
Traditionally, a delicious Shabbat meal is shared with family and guests, along with wisdom, song and laughter. Others celebrate Shabbat by taking a walk, reading a book, marveling at wonders of our world, or simply taking alone time.
Going off the grid weekly can make you feel revived and rejuvenated to tackle a new week.
The time is ripe to universalize ancient, effective and enriching practices of Shabbat. After all, not to work on Shabbat works.