Practical Spirituality: Kabbalah | I am technology. #blog by Trey Warme, Charlotte, NC
I don’t know about you, but if you’re anything like me, the old religious model of you have to do and believe all this silly stuff, we’re the only way to salvation and everyone else is wrong, where God is an anthropomorphic judgmental cop in the sky casting life sentences upon all who it does not see worthy of love and grace, just doesn’t work for me. My God loves everybody, wants to give us everything we need, and waits patiently for our return when we take detours from the path that best benefits our long-term happiness.
Practical spirituality that works for me is open, inclusive of all, and not based on dogma and separation from others. I’m looking for easy to understand, practical, I can apply it to my life right now to see immediate plus long-term results. Yep, I’m a true Westerner, not willing to spend years on spiritual work for a chance hope of temporary glimpses of enlightenment one day. I’m looking for those temporary glimpses, if not hopefully a long-term view of happiness and meaning now. Ha, I can admit it: I’m seeking practical spirituality now!
I’ve found a spiritual home that really works for me now in Unity, first at The Unity Center in San Diego, now at Unity of Charlotte. I highly recommend checking out Unity, Centers for Spiritual Living, another new thought, or metaphysics based church if you’re looking for practical spirituality without all the junk.
I want to share a teaching in practical spirituality we are studying now with Rev. David Hulse at Unity of Charlotte that is really resonating with me, and maybe able to help you too: an ancient Jewish mystic teaching called Kabbalah.
To preface, Rev. David Hulse, Energetic Sound Healer using Solfeggio Tuning Forks at SomaEnergetics and Minister of Education at Unity of Charlotte, teaches: Sound is disrupted silence; Silence is perfect sound. There are more results in sound closer to silence, the source of sound. Likewise, the closer we get to source, the better results we have in life.
Some of the widely followed religions today have less prominent mystical groups from their early times that may have taught closer to source, before formal organization of the religion may have covered up some of their source precepts with layers upon layers of ritual. Early Christian mystics include the Gnostics, whose teachings which were omitted in the Bible accepted today by the first council of Nicea in 325 AD. Islam mystic groups include the Sufis who consider themselves to be the true followers of a pure, original form of Islam, which primarily contrasts with Sunni Islam in contrary beliefs of who was Muhammad’s proper successor. In the beginning of Judaism, early Jewish mystics include the Kabbalists, whose teachings began some 2,000 years ago with the books of the Zohar.
Could there perhaps be truly applicable wisdom, dare I say practical spirituality, hiding in some of the closer to source early religious secrets, such as Kabbalah? Is there a reason that 20 centuries worth of efforts to make the teachings of the Kabbalah available to people from all walks of life were scorned by the religious establishment, blood was spilled, people were tortured and lives tragically ruined?
The Kabbalah dates back to the time of Abraham, a religious figure claimed by the Jews, Muslims and Christians. The first Kabbalah manuscripts, Zohar, were actually authorized by Abraham. Some say the Kabbalah has been hidden from society as a whole until shared consciousness had evolved to a level the teachings could be understood. However, throughout history many notable scientists, philosophers, and physicians secretly probed the Kabbalah for ideas that eventually helped form leading philosophical and scientific principles.
Kabbalah means “to receive” and teaches that God, the creator, created us as vessels of desire to receive it’s love. Traditional Kabbalah practitioners believe its earliest origins pre-date world religions, forming the primordial blueprint for Creation’s philosophies, religions, sciences, arts, and political systems. Twentieth-century interest in Kabbalah has inspired cross-denominational Jewish renewal and contributed to wider non-Jewish contemporary spirituality, as well as engaging its flourishing emergence and historical re-emphasis through newly established academic investigation. There are deep, mystical and perhaps complicated interpretations of the Kabbalah such as the tree of life, also known as the ten curtains or Ten Sefirot in Hebrew, that may be able to provide endless satisfaction for those looking for a lifelong topic of study to devote endless years of research. However, that is not the intent of this writing. This article is written with the purpose of an easy to understand, folksy, immediately applicable to your life now understanding of the concepts taught in the Kabbalah, presented in 13 simple principles – practical spirituality, if you ask me.
The primary text used for the Kabbalah interpretation presented in this writing is The Power of Kabbalah, by Yehuda Berg. I highly recommend the book as an easy, must read for anyone interested to know more about these life transformative teachings. For those desiring a more in depth look at Kabbalah, I recommend a book written by Yehuda’s father, Rav P. S. Berg, The Essential Zohar.
“Some say that Kabbalah is not just the light at the end of the tunnel, but the Light that burns away and removes the tunnel itself, opening up whole new dimensions of meaning and awareness.” – The Power of Kabbalah, by Yehuda Berg
Practical Spirituality: 13 Kabbalistic Principles
- Don’t believe a word you read. Test drive the lessons learned. Do not accept these lessons blindly. There must be tangible results in your direct experience. Further note: much sacrifice and suffering has taken place so these teachings can reach you, me and the rest of humanity – lucky us! It is therefore also very important for us to heed the Kabbalistic precept that states, “No coercion in spirituality.” Get it? Got it. Good!
- Two basic realities exist: our 1% world of darkness, and the 99% realm of light. The 1% realm encompasses our physical world. Our physical world is but a tiny fraction of all creation, made up of only what we can perceive with our five senses, also known as the traditional senses – what we can smell, taste, touch, hear and see. Life in the 1% realm is reactive, we are victims to other people’s actions and external circumstances, fulfillment is temporary and fleeting. Murphy’s law governs the realm of the 1%. The 99% realm, which encompasses the vast majority of reality, is a proactive realm of action rather than reaction to external events, the source of all lasting fulfillment: all knowledge, wisdom and joy dwell in this domain. The 99% realm is a dimension in which we can initiate positive, permanently lasting change that also manifests in our 1% world. There is no trace of Murphy’s law in the realm of the 99%. What separates the two, you ask? A curtain.
If people are the essence of desire, and the Universe is flooded with Light, what’s standing in the way of our everlasting happiness? A curtain.
- Everything that a human being truly desires from life is spiritual light! According to Kabbalah, material objects are not what we’re really seeking in life. What we’r really searching for is the spiritual energy that pervades the 99% world. When we learn to connect to the 99% realm, we can control the events in our lives and prevent the erratic and chaos that causes our unhappiness. Contact with the 99% realm is the secret key to life.
- The purpose of life is spiritual transformation from a reactive being to a proactive being. When we react to any external situations and events in our lives, we are merely an effect and not a cause; we are reactive, not proactive. Should we live our lives without any personal growth or change of nature, we are not creating new spiritual levels of existence for ourselves. When we allow outside forces to influence our feelings, positive or negative, we have surrendered control. When we exhibit egocentric or self-centered behavior, we are not sharing but instead receiving gratification for the ego. Whenever we behave reactively, we are denying our inherited godly nature. There is another option available the prevents “spiritual big bangs” from taking place in our life. This is the proactive use of Resistance, and it means stopping all of our reactive impulses through our own free-willed choice.
- In the moment of our transformation, we make contact with the 99% realm. We have two choices in life: • React to a situation, in which case our souls will eventually resist the Light, leaving us in the darkness of the 1% realm. • Proactively Resist our desire to react, thereby connecting ourselves to the 99% reality. ➜ The instant we resist a reaction, we have transformed a particular aspect of ourselves – which happens to be the purpose of our existence. What matters is not who is right or wrong. What matters is your decision not to react.
- Never – and that means never – lay blame on other people or external events. The Kabbalah teaches that all outcomes in our lives are the results of seeds we planted in the past, maybe even so long ago we have trouble remembering we planted that seed. The Kabbalah also teaches that life is an ongoing game played against the the most skilled adversary we can possibly face, this Opponent is our egos. The Opponent projects himself onto other people so that you recognize all of your faults in others and see the enemy as the other person. In reality, you’re playing against the Opponent and don’t even know it. When someone wrongs you and you react, you lose. Even more remarkable, and perhaps more difficult to grasp, according to Kabbalah, you deserved to be wronged by that person because of a negative deed you committed previously in some area of your life, or can be viewed as a seed you planted. Ouch! That whole taking responsibility thing may just take some intensely applied insight in some situations.
- Resisting our reactive impulse creates lasting light. Resistance creates momentary struggle, but almost immediately there is calm and clarity. Suppressing emotions, on the other hand, creates long term stress. If we get caught up in the drama of the moment, it means we have failed to recognize the spiritual opportunity of the situation. When we recognize that anger and other negative emotions are just tests sent to us by the Light so we can remove Bread of Shame, we will know with certainty that we applied Resistance.
- Reactive behavior creates intense sparks of light, but eventually leaves darkness in its wake. Reactive behavior can be compared to a firework. A firework is dazzling and bright, but only for a moment, and the end result is always a return to darkness. Reactive behavior of blowing up at someone an an angry fit maybe a release that feels really good to you at the time, maybe even deserved, but it will not lay the groundwork for long term understanding and resolution of the conflict at hand, and in the end lead to a return into darkness and separation from Light.
- Obstacles are our opportunity to connect to Light. The more barriers there are, the more chances we have to plug into the Light. Remember, transforming is the purpose of our lives (refer to Kabbalah’s fourth principle), and only an obstacle can give us that opportunity!
- The greater the obstacle, the greater the potential light. The more we resist our reactive behavior, the more happiness and pleasure radiate in our lives. True, the path of most Resistance causes some pain and discomfort for a moment, but it’s the only way to generate long-term fulfillment. Difficult though it may seem, we should embrace rather than avoid problems and obstacles. They are the true opportunities for spiritual development.
- When challenges appear overwhelming, inject certaintity. The light is always there! Consciousness creates our reality. What we desire is what we receive. if we are uncertain, we receive the energy of uncertainty. If we respond to crisis with worry and negative thinking, we increase the likelihood of a painful outcome. We can put an end to our uncertainty and doubt. We can disrupt the Opponents agenda. By offering Resistance, we create a space for the light to fill. To become the cause of our own fulfillment, as opposed to being a reactive effect, and create something new – we need a proactive consciousness instead of a reactive one.
- True internal change is created through the DNA power of the Hebrew letters. DNA is best described as an instruction manual for our cells. In truth, the entire universe is alphabetic in nature. Nature is not structured like a language, but on the contrary, language is structured like nature. This principle maybe the most esoteric and most different concept to grasp. Perhaps the most mystical teaching of Kabbalah, is that Hebrew letters are instruments of power. In fact, the Hebrew word for letter actually means “pulse or vibration,” indicating a flow of energy. By virtue of its share, sound, vibration, a letter acts as an antenna that arouses and harnesses the energy of the universe. Kabbalist believe meditating or just scanning these letters and their various sequences, helps to arouse an abundance of spiritual forces, is like downloading and installing a new operating system in the body, and even if you don’t speak or read Hebrew, you can still begin and experience incredible miracles. Included at the beginning of the post is an image of the 72 Hebrew names of God . Why not click on the image to enlarge it, take a peek and see if their is any resonance with you or results for you scanning the letters. Really, what can it hurt? And hey, it may just help!
- All of the negative traits that you spot in others are merely a refection of your own negative traits. Only by fixing yourself can you change others. Remember that everything in your life is there for one reason and one reason only: to offer you the opportunity to transform. Transformation is the only way to effect positive change in your life and this world. Stop wasting your energy finding fault in others. Start the transformation within. Start looking for the uncomfortable situations in life and avoiding the easy routes. The Light will be found only in the rough seas of life. Why? Because choppy seas trigger reactions.
And finally, ultimately:
Love thy neighbor as thyself. All the rest is mere commentary. Now go and learn.
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