You Must Forget Yourself in Prayer

Dov Baer of Mezhirech

Passages for Meditation

You must forget yourself in prayer.
Think of yourself as nothing
and pray only for the sake of God.
In such prayer you may come to transcend time,
entering the highest realms
of the World of Thought.
There all things are as one;
Distinctions between “life” and “death,”
“land” and “sea,”
have lost their meaning.
But none of this can happen
as long as you remain attached
to the reality of the material world.
Here you are bound to the distinctions
between good and evil
that emerge only in the lower realms of God.
How can one who remains attached to his own self
go beyond time to the world where all is one?

Dov Baer of Mezhiirech (d. 1772) was the chief disciple and successor of Rabbi Israel den Eliezer, the founder of the Hasidic movement of Jewish mysticism. This passage is published in Easwaran’s spiritual anthology, “God Makes the Rivers to Flow.” The audio recording is by Eknath Easwaran’s wife, Christine Easwaran.