One of the biblical verses Jewish spiritual teachers often give students is Psalm 16:8, "I set the Eternal before me always." The Hebrew verse reads, "Shiviti Adonai l'negdi tamid."

…. Although the Hebrew word shiviti is usually translated as "I set," the Baal Shem Tov taught that it could also be a form of a word that signifies "equanimity." He suggested a deeper meaning of the verse: that when we have equanimity the Eternal is present in our consciousness. He explained that equanimity is achieved when we receive criticism with the same energy with which we receive applause.

When we seek applause, we wind up being controlled by those from whom that applause is sought. When we seek to avoid criticism, we adjust our message so as not to displease. In either case, we are caught in the needs of the separate self. We are far from equanimity and we are not open to the wholeness and inclusivity of God.

As a spiritual practice, take the entire phrase in English, "I set the Eternal before me always," as a focus for meditation. Repeat it and contemplate it, and let it unfold in its own way within you. Let the words unfold in their own time and in their own way. If you are comfortable with the Hebrew, focus on "Shiviti Adonai l'negdi tamid" (shee-VEE-tee Ah-doh-NYE l'neg-DEE ta-MEED).

Ted Falcon in Finding Peace through Spiritual Practice by Don Mackenzie, Ted Falcon, Jamal Rahman