Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Afterglow: Form/less?

The following is a supplemental essay to the second part of "Future Couple", which can be found at: . This essay largely explores the question of whether the cosmic afterglow can exhibit forms even before the entry of the ray of light or must it remain formless until reshaped by the ray.


Kabbalah never discusses the Creator Himself; even when relating the narrative of the earliest stages of creation. Accordingly, the infinite light is to be regarded as a spiritual expression of His Infinity, but not as the Creator's actual Being.  However, since there's no "outside of the Creator" all His various expressions are never separate from Him. They all remain within Him, seamlessly continuous with Him, like dreams in seamless continuity with the minds of their dreamers.

In Lurianic Kabbalah the creation narrative begins with an undifferentiated infinite light (or life/consciousness). The light’s presence was so totally infinite and powerful that nothing else had room to exist. In order to make room for creation, the Creator pulled back a bit of His infinite light, leaving an empty sphere in the very center. This sphere was destined to become the home of all the realms, spiritual and physical.

The withdrawal of the infinite light was not literal. It only appears literal from the perspective of the creations whose emergence will occur later on in the story. Their limited perception makes a very whole, singular, reality appear fragmented. This can be compared to a dream character examining his surrounding dreamscape. From his perspective, it appears like the dreamer’s mind has withdrawn. He might be unaware that he himself, the dreamscape and everything in between is very much the mind of the dreamer. It’s just his own limited view which casts the illusion allowing him to entertain the false notion that he’s somehow existing independently of the dreamer.   

Even within the illusion of withdrawal, nothing is even totally devoid of spiritual light. When the infinite light withdrew, he left behind a lingering residue of his light, an “afterglow”. This “afterglow” became the very fabric of the sphere. However, at this early stage she was as of yet raw and unformed - just like the infinite light that birthed her. 

The infinite light’s withdrawal repeated itself yet another nine times, for a total of ten times. With each new withdrawal the size of the afterglow enlarged by adding on a new spherical layer; resulting in a layered structure of sphere within sphere within sphere... within sphere. It looked like a multi layered onion centered in a sea of infinite light.

In effect, the withdrawal differentiated the infinite light into cosmic male and female. The withdrawn infinite light cosmically male and the afterglow is cosmically female. Together, they're the ultimate cosmic couple.

After all ten expansions, the afterglow reached full size, achieved maturity. Her maturity signals the her cosmic male, the surrounding infinite light, to unify with her. Their union is expressed by him extending a ray of light into her. His ray is a thinly measured glimmer of the surrounding light which withdrew. Only a minuscule measure is allowed in, lest the ray overwhelms the afterglow and she reverts back to her state of being identical with the infinite light. The point of entry for this stream of light can in theory be anywhere along the outer membrane of her sphere.  However, wherever the entry will happen will now be defined as the top of the afterglow. Once there’s a top, there is also a bottom and sides. The ray will penetrate her from the top and extend itself to the center, reaching her actual core – the most femininely sensitive part of her identity. 
Although the ray reached the cosmic core, presently it doesn't yet fully extend down into our realm. However, in all likelihood our realm feels the influence of this ray from the higher realms. This might be an indication that our realm has not finished acquiring all her ten layers. So how could the ray of light reach the cosmic center and not yet be present in our realm, where we are situated in the afterglow’s veritable “center of center”?   Possibly, this is because higher realms have a faster notion of time. So what already happened up there, takes a lot longer to happen down here. 

Each realm contains its own version of time. Higher realms, being more spiritual, in general possess less limitation. As expected, their versions of time contain greater elasticity and speed. In contrast, lower realms possess slower, more rigid versions of time. Thus, events occurring in higher realms mostly trickle down to lower realms only later on. What occurs above in a flash requires more protracted units of time below. It's almost like a higher version of time is more technologically advanced than its lower counterparts. This partly explains how prophets see into the future. In the higher realm the prophet ascends to, the event has already occurred. Having been there at the time, the prophet already saw the event play out. Only, it’s manifestation below in our physical realm is delayed by the difficulties of being threaded through a slower, more protracted time corridor.

Since in our physical realm the afterglow is still awaiting her full maturity, she’s still growing, which could explain why physicists view our universe as expanding. It can also explain why they think that every unit of space is on the move. According to this understanding, it would make sense that a unit of space just occupied a moment ago has already moved on swept up in the universe’s expansion.  The universe is probably growing in order to bring the afterglow to full maturity. Physical space/time (as physicists call it) is the portion of the afterglow which is tangible to us. Truthfully, according to Kabbalah “life” is also a part of the space/time continuum (see Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s commentary to “Sefer Yetzirah”). So this continuum which is the basic framework of our universe should really be called, “space/time/life”. One day science will stumble on this connection, unifying physics, chemistry, biology and spirituality.

When the earthly aspect of our universe completes her growth, the ray of light will enter her, as it had entered into the higher realms. This will be a time of true spiritual growth for our universe and her inhabitants - an earthly paradise. 

When the afterglow was initially introduced after the withdrawal, she was raw and unformed. Yet, when we look all around us we inhabit a physical realm which exhibits form, intelligence and design. At first glance our realm seems to share a greater resemblance with higher realms illuminated by the ray than to a realm still lingering in an afterglow stage. This is largely because the earthly realm is in a different situation than the afterglow during the infinite light's withdrawal. There seem to be two basic factors contributing to the earthly realm's afterglow ability to exhibit form, intelligence and design:

A) The border around any version of the afterglow is really a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane allows in very minute doses of surrounding spiritual lights. In the case of the early cosmos the light directly surrounding the afterglow was formless, as it was seamlessly infinite. Therefore, the minute doses of light entering the original afterglow was flavored with the formlessness of the original infinite light. However, the surrounding spiritual lights which feed into the earthly realm have largely been shaped by contact with the ray in one form or another (linear and/or spherical). These spiritual lights carry along in their stream the rich variety of flavors from their native notions of form, intelligence and design. As a result, they imprint the afterglow in our earthly realm with their notions - like a traveler imprinting the inhabitants of a foreign country with notions from his native homeland.

B) Before the Adam and Eve's descent from the Garden of Eden, there was no physical realm. The essay "The Old/New Universe" elaborates further on this aspect of Adam and Eve story. Here's the link: . Some of what later became the earthly realm was originally part of the Garden of Eden. It seems like the ray illuminated the Garden of Eden. Genesis 2:9 informs us that the Tree of Life, i.e. the ray, was in the center of the Garden. Even the snake's realm must have been influenced by at least the Tree of Knowledge - which was likely an immature extension of the Tree of Life. After Adam and Eve ate from the fruit, both their realm and the snakes realm shattered. When these two realms shattered, they blended together and got reconstituted into a single realm. Since this new realm was essentially newly contrived, it started off as the beginning stage of any realm would - as an afterglow.  Yet, the fabric of the new realm retained some memory of having once been formed by the ray. Therefore, there was an inherent tendency in the fabric towards developing forms, with intelligence and design. 

Though both factors simultaneously contribute to the amazing universe we find ourselves in, we have much to look forward to in the future when our universe will finally attain maturity and receive the ray, illuminating her interior. Then we will finally experience paradise on earth - not as a destination, but, as a stage flowing along an a ever continuing spiritual journey. 


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