AN OVERVIEW OF KABBALAH: THE SPIRITUAL PATH
"As the going out of Egypt [the old life] involved several
stages, so too does the rising out of the normal state of physical and
psychological bondage. Usually, during the attempt to take leave
of the dominance of the body and ego, a dramatic series of crises or plagues
disrupts the life of the person. The typical pattern is of a changing
relationship to one's intimates, social status, profession and possessions.
On one's own this change cannot be easily sustained, and so the presence
of others in a group, symbolized by the Israelites, with a teacher, like
Moses, is necessary. Moreover, once the Red Sea has been crossed,
there is no going back; although some habits, symbolized by the complaining
Israelites (Exodus 16:2-3), rebel and yearn to return to the fleshpots
of the "unawakened" condition. In a group, the members, under the
guidance of their leader, keep each other from slipping back into
slavery. This is done by the Kabbalistic work carried out not only
in the group but in everyday life."
THE ANATOMY OF THE PSYCHE
The whole pattern of Attributes, with its relationships as set out in the paths of THE SEFIROTIC TREE [Adam Kadmon] (p. 40 of "Kabbalah"), DEFINES THE ANATOMY OF THE PSYCHE [THE SOUL]
The first step in Kabbalah is to become familiar with the Sefirotic
Tree [the Whole Pattern of Attributes within Adam Kadmon]. Without
this key, little can be comprehended. To this end it is necessary
to translate the nature of each Sefirah [attribute, defined through numbers
or traits] into human terms, so that the Divine image may be perceived
in terms of man.
REALMS WITHIN ADAM KADMON, THE SEFIROTIC TREE
MALKHUT: the earthly Kingdom, is seen as the elemental physical [earthly, earthy] body.
YESOD: the foundation of the EGO, is expressed in the figure of the gifted but WILFUL SON, Absalom, who SOUGHT TO BE KING! [Seat of the genitalia]
HOD: Reverberation, is the mercurial part of our NATURAL INTELLIGENCE, which learns and communicates.
NEZAH: Eternity, is the sphere of instinctual cycles and the preoccupation with pleasure of the senses and pain.
TIFERET: Beauty, is the SELF [Teacher] that watches all and wrestles with the angel over the issue of MY WILL and THY WILL [like Jacob].
GEVURAH: the emotional quality of judgment, discipline and decision. It is the complement of Hesed.
HESED: the emotional tendency to mercy, love and forgiveness.
DAAT: Non-Sefirah; is the VOICE OF THE UNSEEN, imparting Knowledge FROM BEYOND THIS WORLD.
BINAH: the INTELLECTUAL capacity for Understanding through LONG REFLECTION.
HOKHMAN: is EMBODIED in the moment of REVELATION that bursts in upon the mind.
KETER: THERE IS NO IMAGE OF KETER, THE CROWN.
PHASES OF THE WORK REQUIRED TO LEAVE "EGYPT"": the Personal
"[EARTH:] The lowest level of manifestation - the furthest
removed from pure Divinity and subject to the greatest number of laws"
[ - which we must LEARN TO "LEAVE": COME FROM UNDER THEIR CONTROL.
I believe these "laws" are physical (GENETIC), mental (repository of parental,
religious and societal controls) and spiritual (ARCHETYPAL: rebellious
as well as one-sided supportive).
"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,
which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His
And having spoiled principalities and powers [ARCHETYPES], he made a show of them openly, TRIUMPHING OVER THEM IN IT."
g554. apekduomai; mid. from g575 and g1562; TO DIVEST WHOLLY ONESELF, PUT OFF, SPOIL.
g1562. ekduo; to cause to sink out of, i.e. (spec. OF CLOTHING) to divest:--STRIP, TAKE OFF FROM, UNCLOTHE.
1. Centred around Malkhut, which relates to the practical comprehension of the four elemental states, i.e., getting to a certain place at a certain time [learning to "be on time"; learning to "uphold your end of the bargain"; learning to "keep (pay) your vows"; learning to "keep a clean and smoothly functioning home" BEFORE "going to lunch": the doing of all the "unsexy" things that are REQUIRED of an ADULT; to be "available" to your spouse]; the completing of the recognition that everything in the physical world is in a constant state of change [so stop wanting everything to stay the same!] and the development of an acute awareness of what is going on around you in the physical world.
2. With the help of the teacher and others, identify the nature of the YESODIC ego: ENFP, ISFP, ESJF, etc; sharing own thinking, feeling, acting, etc., so as to learn what colours the learning, where the biases are, and what the blind spots are; learns to study the actions, thought life, the devotion to those things that matter the most, and contemplation - thinking on "whatsoever things are lovely". This teaches where one lacks, is unbalanced and gets out of his/her own ego.
3. Examines the qualities of HOD and NEZAH:
theory [inactive] and practice active].
The THEORY side is HOD: this is where examining and collecting data to be studied and the actual studying and the reflecting upon the data occurs.
The PRACTICE side is NEZAH: where one goes out into the arena to practice what one has studied and reflected upon. This is where one practices paying attention to the theories he/she believes in WHILE talking, conducting business, playing, and doing all the everyday things that come across the disciple's path [learns to keep a "single eye"].
4. The TIFERET or THE TEACHER [The Watcher] is both inside and outside and acts for the group or the person as "the guiding self" to the disciple's as yet undisciplined ego - even as Moses did to the slave-minded Israelites (the rebellious, undisciplined, "longers-for-Egypt" attitudes of the psyche); learns to be open to that which descended from "higher ground" to check imbalances; learns to be receptive to wisdom "imparted and received all down the lines of Worlds from the highest initiate to the most modest student - provided the student is receptive".
"When the student reaches the level of Tiferet in him/herself - that is, when he/she has developed enough WILL to cross the triad of awakening WHENEVER HE/SHE WISHES - he/she becomes his own tutor. This is because he/she comes into contact with the soul triad (HESED, GEVURAH, and TIFERET) which brings the discipline of Justice and the tolerance of Love and Mercy into play. This emotional triad works at refining a now self- conscious soul, sometimes by a touch of Severity from the left and sometimes by a touch of mercy from the right, which, perceived from the self, brings into balance " personal emotions that are too judgmental (harsh) or too soft (touchy-feel-ly)."This work [internal and external correcting], carried out with and for others in the group, continues over many years.
FROM "SELF-CENTERED" TO "OTHER-CENTERED"
FROM "SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS" TO "OTHER-CONSCIOUSNESS"
THE GREAT UPPER TRIAD OF THE SPIRIT
The concern of this realm is with cosmic matters and NOT the individual
affairs of the lower part of the Tree.
"THE HIGHER WAY TO THINK, FEEL AND ACT: EDGING TOWARDS PERFECTION":
5. DAAT - the realm of KNOWLEDGE which is HIDDEN and comes from beyond this world [In order to come beyond "self", one has to approach "self-knowledge" and that must come from "beyond" the self. Insight "from-on-high" penetrates deeper than mere reflection and mental apprehending and pierces the prideful "self"soul asunder]. Contact with THE HEAVENLY and CELESTIAL "convicts" us of the "smallness" of our'selves' and the utter poverty of self-centredness.
"The Work of Unification is not concerned only with individual development - as is "personal self" - but with helping to bring about the unity of the Worlds that are still in the travail of Creation. As the personal levels of body, psyche, spirit and Divine spark are brought into harmony, so the Kabbalist seeks to be used in assisting existence towards his/her and its own destiny. This is to become an individual mirror within the cosmic mirror in which the little Adam of a man may gaze into the ever-increasing depths of the image of the Great Adam - Adam Kadmon - of the Universe and so perceive the reflection of the Divine. In this way each Kabbalist, in company with every other person on the path of spiritual tradition,
AIDS GOD TO BEHOLD GOD (IN US, WITHOUT US)
6. "BINAH (Understanding) and HOKHMAN (Wisdom) "supply to any who can reach this level a celestial or panhistoric [larger than "self"] view of events. Any student of The Way has access to these levels" provided "a deep inner connection has been developed so that there is a personal contact with what has been called the Academy on High [one would have had to be grounded in the discerning of spirits so as not to come under the deceptions of religious and familiar spirits].... "It has no location in this world; its place is in the upper part of YEZIRAH - the Garden of Eden - (the psyche) and the lower part of the higher realm of BERIAH (the spirit). It is outside ordinary time and space.
"In seeking Wisdom,
the first stage is silence,
the second stage is listening,
the third stage is remembrance,
the fourth stage is practising,
The fifth stage is teaching.
"The topmost triad of the group Tree is the direct contact with the
Divine. Corresponding to the levels within the individual as well
as the group, this is the place where it is possible to come into the presence
of the Shekhinah or the Place of the Lord."
7. KETER: THE CROWN
When Adam Kadmon has absorbed and realized all the experience of
everything that has been brought into being - within the individual or
within the group - then the image of the Divine Who knows is within and
without. In this mirror, Face gazes upon Face, and total union occurs.
Then I AM THAT I AM is ONE, AND "existence" vanishes - microcosm (within
the individual) and macrocosm (within the world) - leaving God alone.
God has beheld God.