Just as our sages raised their consciousness before engaging in sacred acts, we too can prepare ourselves for those everyday activities which we seek to elevate, as we discover how we can accomplish a sacred purpose – avodah – in all that we do.
I am prepared.
Preparation, we learn, is what indicates that we want to make what we are about to do stand out. A kavanah is a meditative pause, an act of centering that allows us “to be fully present and aware of our place, our time…to feel God’s presence.”
I am here, ready, prepared.
Before you set out to do sacred work, pause and compose your own brief kavanah that names the sacred work you are about to do and reflects the kind of intention you hope to keep in mind.
For instance, if you are about to drop off cans of food at the neighborhood food pantry or soup kitchen, you might create a kavanah such as this: “Source of Blessing, allow me to find small and large ways that I can make a difference in people’s lives.”
Or, if you are about to perform a medical procedure on a patient or seek treatment for yourself, your kavanah might be, “Creator of the World, help and guide me to marvel in the wonder of the human body and to do all I can to sustain life.”
Here are some ways you might begin a kavanah that prepares you to do the sacred work of your life:
Source of Blessing, allow me to _______________.
Creator of the World, help and guide me to _________________________.
Master of the Universe, make me aware of _____________________________.
(As you conclude your kavanah) Allow my heart to understand, to enlighten, to listen, to learn, and to teach.
Blessed are You, God, who allows us to be fully present.— Rabbi Irwin Kula, editor in The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices by Rabbi Irwin Kula, editor, Vanessa L. Ochs, editor