How does the Jewish phrase “tikkun olam” relate to contemplation and meditation?
The complex meaning of phrase “tikkun olam” (pronounced tee-KOON oh-LUHM) is somewhat difficult to understand, but has been defined in a broad sense as meaning, “to repair the world.” It appears in the Jewish prayer, the Aleinu, which is traditionally recited three times each day.
When we observe practices such as prayer, contemplation and meditation, we may begin to see similarities of focus on the desire for developing a peaceful and balanced soul as we also focus on the greater good for all. This kind of powerful focus also underlies Dahn Yoga principles and LifeParticle meditation.
Known as Hong Ik, the Korean philosophy originated in the ancient Sun Do culture of Northeast Asia and emphasizes a focus on what is best for all, not just for oneself. By emphasizing that individuals have both power and responsibility to create a better world for all, we are able to see ourselves as an instrument of healing. As we align with this idea, as with the Jewish sentiment of “tikkun olam,” we can understand how our intentions and thereby our actions can work for the benefit of the entire world.
In the quiet mind where prayer, contemplation and meditation take place, the seeds of hope grow for a better tomorrow, for the good of all. Therefore, the gift of any contemplative practice is a transformation of the heart. This “gift” arises as we strive to see more clearly the ways that we may create suffering in our own mind and in the lives of others, or as we discover clarity in ways we may create harmony and the connection of oneness and love.
With this intention “to repair the world,” whether by way of tikkun olam, or the philosophy of Hong Ik, or through other forms of meditation or contemplation, we discover that we actually have the power to choose how to be in the world.
We have opportunities to recognize and change the habits of our mind that create suffering by holding on to discomfort or grudges. We also have the opportunity to choose our intention, develop new habits and take actions that create happiness in ourselves and others. This choice for the good of all, this “intention” and the thousands of thoughts and actions that may accompany it for every man, truly have within the seeds “to repair the world.”