Keepers of the Flame of Eternity: A Guided Imagery Meditation for Welcoming Shabbat

Woman with palms open before sunset and ocean

Introduction

In Parashat Hayyei Sarah (Bereishit 23:1–25:18), we learn of Sarah Imenu's death and burial (Bereishit 23: 2,19). This is a time when we reflect on a person's life. Sarah Imenu is revered as the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. It is said that when Sarah Imenu lit her Shabbat candles, they shone all week long, and that her tent was open to all who came for food and shelter. “The Sabbath lights she lit there illumined her tent all week long. The divine Cloud of Glory always hovered over it. The dough she kneaded within its folds was blessed, and the tent flaps stretched wide to admit all who came there for food and shelter” (Frankel, 1996, p. 37). With her ner tamid and her open tent, Sarah was a conduit for God’s light. She was a keeper of the Flame of Eternity.  

Keepers of the Flame of Eternity: A Guided Imagery Meditation for Welcoming Shabbat

Sit quietly. Relax. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in waves of healing energy. Feel these waves flow through your entire body. Feel this energy embrace your soul force and your spirit. As you exhale, envision any negative energy – any pain, tension, stress, fatigue – being released from your body, carried away on the soft wind of your breath. With every breath, feel the narrow places within you opening, expanding, becoming filled with waves of deep relaxation and healing energy. Feel this happening in your feet, legs, hips, hands, arms, shoulders, abdomen, spine, chest, neck, head, face.

Imagine you are living in the time of Sarah Imenu. See yourself as a guest in Sarah's tent of healing. It is erev Shabbat. See yourself lighting Shabbat candles with her. See yourself extending your arms, making circles of light to bring the external light of the candle flames inside you. Envision your hands glowing with a pure white radiant light. See this light moving up the entire length of your arms, and from your arms to your body. As you hold your hands over your eyes, see this light flowing to your eyes, to your face and head. See how your entire being is filled with the light of these candles. See yourself as a body of light. Know that you are a vessel of the Light of Eternity.

Now imagine a stream of light flowing from you to all those around you. See the light flow from you to them. Now see this light flow around them, wrapping them in a garment of pure light. They are both filled with light and surrounded by light. Envision this beautiful light bringing the peace and wholeness that is Shabbat. 

Like Sarah Imenu, you are illuminated with light from within. You are illuminated with the Flame of Eternity. See and know that you are a keeper of this Flame. 

Hold on to these images as you now become aware once more of your breath and the boundaries of your body. As you take a few deep breaths, become aware of the gentle rise and fall of your chest. Become aware once more of your presence in this room. Then – whenever you are ready – slowly, gently – open your eyes.


References
Frankel, E. (1996). Five books of Miriam: A Woman's Commentary on the Torah. New York: Harper Collins.

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