The Power of Sitting Still
Shuli Passow is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Class XVI. She is a second year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary and serves as boardchair of the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn, www.jmcbrooklyn.org, She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facing a difficult challenge at work, I launched an effort to solve the problem. I thought things over for several days. Wrote in my journal. Consulted with friends and colleagues. When a vulturous frenzy of brain-picking yielded no results, I took a different tactic. Seated on my meditation cushion, I gave myself permission to stop thinking. For five minutes, I released myself from the clamoring urgency of finding a solution.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.
Within two minutes, a solution emerged, of its own accord.
The rhythm of our Jewish week insightfully mandates space to breathe. Yet I have found that Shabbat, on its own, is not enough; daily moments of pause are a necessary and powerful component of my vision of leadership.
“You cannot make a decision,” an unlikely source of wisdom once suggested to me. “Instead, you must arrive at a decision.” In the silence of my sit, I had given myself the space to arrive.