Many are surprised to learn that Judaism is a path of spiritual awakening, rich with the transformational teachings and practices that produced the Kabbalists and non-dual Hassidic masters. Even for those who know about Judaism's spiritual richness intellectually, the core technologies often remain inaccessible. Integral Jewish Meditation brings to life the transformational power of Judaism in a direct and experiential way.
IJM is a new synthesis of the best traditional modalities, brought together into a simple practice that's easy to learn, yet radical in its effectiveness. It includes chanting, focused intention, contemplation of sacred text, body movement, visualization, and silent, present moment awareness.
IJM is not about dogmas, beliefs, ideas or principles; it's a practice that leads to the inner freedom of waking up to what is, in this moment.
Have you ever searched and searched for something, and when you finally found it, it was completely different from what you had expected?
That's what happened to me.
Starting around the age of twelve, I read everything I could about Kabbalah and Jewish meditation, searching for something spiritual that I felt was missing. I thought I was looking for some ultimate answer or prophetic vision.
But when I was eighteen years old, my world was blown open by a surprisingly simple awakening experience- I felt completely free from all negativity- all my pain, fears, desires and complaints- completely gone, and in their place there was this deep reservoir of light and love that I never knew existed.
But, it didn't last.
When the experience faded after a few weeks, I became even more of a seeker, searching for the profound simplicity of that experience within the complex jungle of Judaism. At first, nothing seemed to work. No matter how much I learned and practiced, nothing brought me closer to the inner freedom I had tasted... until I discovered one simple secret:
Presence (otherwise known as present moment awareness, or mindfulness).
Of course, I had already heard about mindfulness from Transcendental Meditation, Zen, Yoga, Ram Dass, and many other places. But it wasn't until I started applying the power of presence to Judaism that everything began to change. The "flower of consciousness" I had sought for so long finally began to blossom in a lasting way, transforming my life completely.
IJM is the fruit of what I learned in my years of exploring what works, both for myself and my students, and now I offer it to you. Its purpose is not merely to teach intellectual ideas, but to really transform your relationship with Reality. It's rooted in the Jewish teachings and practices of Kabbalah, Hassidism, and Musar, but you don't need to have any previous background in Judaism to benefit from it. In fact, it's sometimes better not to have any background, because then you don't carry around with you all the baggage and conditioning! But either way, my aim is to make these teachings accessible to all, regardless of background.
"Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks is both a brilliant teacher and prayer leader. His approach to Torah text is innovative and insightful, and takes meditation to a new level of accessibility. I cannot recommend his work enough. As a teacher he is wise and inspiring. As a musician and spiritual leader the prayers come to life and seem to take flight within the heart and soul." – Rabbi David Zaslow, Havurah Shir Hadash, Ashland, Oregon; author of Reimagining Exodus, Roots and Branches, and more
"Brian’s gentle guidance makes communion with the divine possible." – Estelle Frankel, author of Sacred Therapy and The Wisdom of Not Knowing – Discovering a Life of Wonder by Embracing Uncertainty
“Reb Brian Yosef is an amazing spiritual teacher, able to inspire his students in profound ways that contribute to their spiritual transformation. And he is a masterful composer and musician. Bring him to your community—and he will plant seeds that will germinate for years to come.” – Rabbi Burt Jacobson, founder of Kehilla Community Synagogue, Oakland, California; author of This Precious Moment: The Wisdom of the Ba'al Shem Tov
“Reb Brian Yosef is a breath of spiritual fresh air in a world that is too often stuffy with solemn vapors. He makes Jewish spirituality relevant and doable.” – Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert, Congregation Bet Shalom, Tucson, Arizona
"Brian brought a depth of insight to the experience of Jewish meditation, guided by his loving presence, that made everyone feel at ease. His teachings made me want to know more and reminded of how much beauty and Divine connection is possible in our tradition." – Cantor Risa Wallach, Congregation B'nai Shalom, Walnot Creek, California
“Judaism comes to life in Brian’s presence – he embodies what he teaches, and this is invaluable! As his student, I have been inspired to know myself more fully, and to become more dedicated to my own quest for meaning, understanding, connection, and integrity. He is a fantastic teacher!” – Rachel Walker, Torah of Awakening student
“The teachings always seem to be just what I need at the time!” -Pearl Werfel, Torah of Awakening student
“Brian's ability to synthesize the deep wisdom of the Jewish tradition with his own insights on the power of presence and acceptance of reality has been a great gift to me.” – Cyrise Beatty, cantorial soloist, meditation teacher
“The real thing” – Jeffrey Kessler, teacher of meditation and Tai Chi
"Inspirational! Brian is a lovely guide to keep me focused on what is important, the softness of heart!" – Shelley Coleman, Torah of Awakening student
Reb Brian Yosef Schachter-Brooks is a Jewish spiritual teacher and musician. He has been teaching the practice of Presence (meditation, mindfulness) and Judaism since 2006, and founded Torah of Awakening in 2007. Reb Brian Yosef received s’miha (ordination) as Minister of Sacred Music(Reb Yosef Briah Zohar, Menatzeiakh, Ba’al Tefilah) from Reb Zalman z”l (2012), Spiritual Teacher and Awakener of Souls(Morei Rukhani uM’oreir N’shamot) from Shaykh Ibrahim Baba Farajaje (may his secret be sanctified) and Rabbi SaraLeya Schley (2012), certification as Teacher of Jewish Meditation(Moreh L’hitbodedut) from Dr. Avram Davis (2004), and holds a Bachelor in Music from the Eastman School of Music (1991). He lives with wife Lisa and two children in Tucson, Arizona.