Friday, May 28, 2010

Angel Eyes

It seems to me that there is probably only one universe. When seen with angel eyes, it's called paradise. When seen with human eyes, it's called earth.

(inspired by Tanya II)

There seems to be an inherent subconscious model that some people carry about the relationship between the physical and spiritual realm(s). In this model the realms are separate. There's the physical realm where life as we know it carries on. Then there are either one or more spiritual realms inhabited by souls and angels that are viewed as "somewhere else", i.e. as being in another location.

Careful study of both Jewish mysticism and science leads me to believe that this conceptual model is possibly mistaken. It seems likely that there really is only one universe, shared by all creatures and creations. However, a particular being's capacity to perceive can radically alter its experience of this universe; One universe, but many experiences.

Science has already documented that bees see ultraviolet light, dogs hear sounds we don't, snakes see infrared light and taste the air. What it comes down to is that even creatures we can see, touch and consciously interact with, whose sensory organs somewhat resembles our own, probably have a very different experience of the universe than we do. They are not living in another universe, but rather they living another experience of the same universe.

How much more so would this be the case for beings whom we cannot touch and whose ability to perceive is far removed from are own, like angels and souls. Obviously, when viewing the universe an angel or a soul picks up a very different set of vibes than we do, vibes that probably do not even include what's in our visual or auditory range at all. Such a being is experiencing the universe in a whole different way than we are. The difference is so radical that it can be said that the being is living in a different world than we are. However, this is only a metaphor to describe the gap in the life experience between a physical and spiritual being - even if they are really sharing the same universe.

The following thought experiment can help further illustrate the concept:

A human being is taking a stroll in the pastoral countryside. Along side him, gently floats a soul. The human sees trees, grass, flowers, hills, wide sky. The soul senses energies, thoughts, feelings, life forces and yearnings. Though they both stroll side by side along the same countryside, what's concrete to one is flowing and energetic to the other. Since neither sense the totality of universe, they each get to peek at a different fragment.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Even a tiny fraction of priceless is still priceless.


Today, I'm going to blog differently. Usually, I write well mannered essays or poems on Jewish spiritual themes that have universal application. Today, I'm just writing. I have feelings inside that need to emerge. A dear friend of mine suggested that I use my blog as a vehicle for this therepy. So whatever happens, happens!

I have this tremendous yearning to find my place in the world. My life is filled with people who have "nitched". They have become Rabbis, doctors, lawyers, teachers, graphic designers, etc. I somehow have not "nitched" out yet. Here I am in my early 40s, my first Grandchild just born, wondering what I'm really going to do when I grow up? What can I do to make a difference in the world? I have an employable skill. However, it does not seem to me to be much more than a meal ticket and even as a meal ticket it has not worked that great in the past decade and even less so in the current economy.

Our lives are made up of moments in time. Can any employer or customer really pay someone for a moment of his or her life? Life is supposed to be priceless. Even a tiny fraction of priceless is still priceless. So, really there's only one way to be compensated for devoting moments of life to a task. This is the joy of knowing that one have "nitched" into one's spiritual role in life. The task may be physical, but yet very personally soulfull.

Humanity is like a large body. Every human being is a cell on that body. As cells we are supposed to help the body grow. However, I feel like a lost unintegrated cell. I can sit all day playing on the computer without feeling an iota less accomplished or satisfied than if I spent a full day earning my meal ticket. Something's very wrong with this picture. It's probably not the way most people feel.

There must be a core goal underneath it all that my soul came down to accomplish. I wonder what it is, but alas to forum is too public for me to feel comfortable doing what some like Julia Camaron would call "morning journals" on. That needs more privacy. However, if you are a person like me who feels that the best eight hours of the day are too empty to be spiritually justified, maybe you should write morning pages too.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Grasping a Thought In Your Hand

Trying to understand the Creator with a human mind is like trying to grasp a thought with a hand.

(Tanya II 9)
Early on in my Kabbalah classes, I usually teach my students that Kabbalah does not teach us about our Creator. Rather, Kabbalah only teaches us about our Creator's revelations. Sometimes students react to this teaching with a puzzled look.
I remember the first time I myself encountered this teaching. It was a real let down! I engaged a Rabbi to teach me about my Creator and all he can offer me were teachings about something else.
To help my students rapidly get passed a moment where they might be experiencing an unsettled state of mind, I immediately do an exercise with them. The purpose of the exercise is to help them appreciate the limits of the human mind when it comes to grasping certain very elevated realities.
I’d select a popular student and ask him to try to grab a thought in his hand.
Typically, the student will shoot me this man, are you from out of space look.

Then in feigned seriousness I’d ask the student, “Why can’t you catch the thought? Come on ... maybe you just didn’t try hard enough. Please try again.”

To which the student wanting to duck out of an impossible task will respond, “Hands are not designed to grasp thoughts.”

Then I’d quip, “Neither are minds tools designed to grasp the Creator!”

With this exercise the student has come to appreciate on his own why he cannot grasp the Creator and comfortably self-adjusts his own learning expectations.