Deepening the Connection: Unlocking the Power of Jewish Guided Meditations in a Captivating Book

Cover of ReMind: Building Rocks of Mindfulness with Jewish Stepping Stones by Mara M. Zimmerman

Review of ReMind: Building Rocks of Mindfulness with Jewish Stepping Stones by Mara M. Zimmerman

I love minimal music–think of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Wim Mertens, Terry Riley, and many others–because the way the themes build up through repetition and variations is often very soothing. I also encountered some repetitive poetry that I enjoyed for similar reasons, like R. D Laing’s Knots, although tension also arises as the lines and perspectives progress. But I never thought I could get similar joy from a book that follows a similar structure. However, it is a rather appropriate form for a volume that aims to build mindfulness in its readers with a Jewish bent.

I cannot refrain from describing this beautiful nature, but please don’t let that distract you from enjoying the book as a whole. The first thing one notices is how much white space this book has. Textwise, most pages have only a few lines of words, and even those lines are just a few words long. They often “just” a concept in Hebrew, transliterated and translated. The consecutive concepts give the textual spine of the guided meditation. Every one of them is followed by a list of spiritual words that are easy to focus upon in connection to the concepts. It’s easy, but it can also be difficult, depending on how deep you want to go. Dayeinu. It would have been enough if there had been nothing else in this book, but there was more.

The visuals are also simple and powerful. As the subtitle suggests, there are stepping stones in the process. And that’s precisely what you get: the outline of a set of seven stones stacked onto each other, smaller on top. It clearly shows how the levels of the meditation are built onto each other. The base of everything is Kavanah/good intentions, from where you can get higher and higher. Each of these seven ellipses is highlighted with a different color, another nice variation that helps the reader stay focused. The brain automatically compares and contrasts and, in the process, finds the meaning. There are more subtle variations that I will not get into because I want to leave something for the reader to discover.

Like any meditation book, the real test is how it works in practice. So, for three consecutive days, I perused the book once a day. I permitted myself to use as much time or as little as I wanted. I paged through the book at my own speed, stopping and looking into myself after looking at each page. It worked. It guided my attention, and when I was ready to move to the next page, it helped to refocus. I am too shy to share any insights I gained with myself, but I assure you, if you do it mindfully, this is an excellent tool to sharpen yourself. Even if you don’t develop a regular practice, it is a beautifully presented book that can serve as a reminder of what’s really important and how to strive for it.

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Disclaimer: I have received a digital copy of this book and a small amount from the author which did not affect my review in any way.

Year first published: 2023

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