Saturday, December 10, 2016

Activating One End through the Other

In Jewish mystical thought, what’s outside of our awareness because it’s beyond is referred to as “surrounding light”. In contrast, what’s within our range of awareness is called, “inner light”. However, inner and surrounding lights cannot be the only descriptions of our relationship with consciousnesses, forces and energies as there is at least one more possible scenario.

There are two reasons why something may be outside our range of perception. Either it’s too high or too low! Meaning, either it’s beyond our perception or below our perception. For example, the seven known colors of the rainbow represent the human eye’s capacity to accept a particular range of light waves. By studying other creatures, science has discovered a light wave above our range, called ultraviolet light (literary, “above violet”) and a light wave below our range called infra-red (literally, “below red”). Of course, these lights above and below our range are just what's popular knowledge.  I would expect that science has by now extended knowledge of the range much further in both directions. (If they haven’t, they are unforgivingly either too asleep or too fund dependant to boldly embark on the adventure of discovering the truth!) Since from the perspective of Jewish mystical thought, these levels of light are from the inorganic the reality’s lowest realm, it’s a given that the range of light extends far upward, becoming more and more alive, as the levels ascend - eventually, just Infinite Light or Infinite Life.

As just mentioned, what is beyond perception is called, “surrounding light”. There’s a special name for what is below perception. In Hebrew it is called, “battel”, which literary means, “nullified”. An example of “nullified” is  a tiny grain of salt dissolved in an immense piping hot pot of soup or a ray of sunlight while still inside the sun, before breaking free into the atmosphere. Similarly, angels might not see our reality, despite sharing the same universe, because our reality is “nullified” in the great spiritual light of theirs.  

Both “surrounding” and “nullified” lights share similarities, as they are both outside of our perceptive range. The Ashlag school of Jewish mysticism teaches that in spiritual terms spatial notions of distance and closeness is measured by similarity and dissimilarity. Two entities which share much in common, are similar, are said to be close. In contrast, two entities which don’t share much in common, are dissimilar, are said to be distance. It’s similar to psychological closeness and distance. People who we share many similarities with, we are close to. People whom we don’t share many similarities with we are distant from. This is not a function of physical space. We can be in close relationship with someone orbiting the planet in a satellite and at the same time we can be distant from our next door neighbor.

Since both  “surrounding” and “nullified” lights share similarities, they must have a connection to each other. Their similarities entails being outside perceptive range as two ends of a symmetrical pole, too high and too low. Thus, they can share at least three similarities. Firstly, they are outside perception. Secondly, they share a pole. Thirdly, their points along the pole are equidistant from perception, i.e. they share an equality of distance from a being’s perceptive range.  

To me, this setup seems to indicate that “surrounding” and “nullified” lights are in a male and female relationship with each other. Usually, what’s male and female to each other bears a high degree of polar opposite similarity. Therefore, the more of what is “nullified” is brought into perceptive range, the more of what’s “surrounding” will also be brought into perceptive range, as male and female work in tandem. Similarly, the more of what is “surrounding” is brought into perceptive range, the more of what’s “nullified” will also be. One end can’t be truly opened without the other end being opened too. It’s magnetic!

The Lubavitcher Rebbe always played on this notion to give hope to a lowly spiritual generation of Jews, many generations away from Mount Sinai and torn asunder by the holocaust, that their very lowliness is reason to believe that they can achieve revelations of the highest spiritual lights - including, ultimately the lights of the messianic era itself.

Quite possibly this is why the Lubavitch movement has risen to such popularity in the past couple of generations. Back in pre-war Eastern Europe, Lubavitch was probably viewed as just one school of Jewish thought and practice among many. And though such themes were always present in Lubavitch thought, it took a generation reaching such a low level for such teachings to really hit home and resonate.

This also illuminates what the Talmud teaches that the Messiah will come to a generation which is either very high or very low. There’s a need for one end of the spectrum to be activated to attract the other.

The value of bringing new perceptions of reality into perceptual range is that success with such efforts actually broadens the inhabited realm. Any given realm really only goes as far as perception allows for. What the inhabitants perceive is the extent of the realm. If their band of perception broadens then their realm expands and is more filled with divine revelations. By bringing into a realm neighboring “surrounding” and “nullified” lights, the realm swells with expansion. Just as a simple example, imagine if we could see infrared and ultraviolet suddenly our whole perception of reality would vastly broaden. We’d experience ourselves as living in a broader earthly realm - when really the only thing that changed was ourselves.


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