12.26.2012

Understanding Kabbalah and the Tree of Life

Things we smell, touch, hear and feel tell us where we are in time and space and this moment describes our reality. However, this notion of perceiving our reality is only valid if judged through the five senses; which begs the question that if our reality is actually the way we perceive it?.  Quantum Physics has shown that our reality sometimes may not be what it seems; and that is where the wisdom of Kabbalah comes in. Kabbalah is not a religion, a cult or magic; rather it is a manual for the human body to get in touch with its own reality.


 

The history of Kabbalah

Kabbalah is sometime referred to as a hidden science because it has been transferred from generation to generation including the time of Abraham and Moses and the Torah. Originally, the Kabbalah was intentionally concealed from the public and was revealed to a select few who were developed enough to grasp the concept.

In the literal sense the word Kabbalah means "to receive" and through mouth to ear; the way it was done as oral tradition since ancient times. Although it is mostly found is Judaic teaching, the Kabbalah in itself is not Judaism or for that matter any kind of "ism".

Kabbalah in a nutshell

The Kabbalah reminds me of the ancient Hermetic teaching of "As above So Below". The Emerald Tablet of Hermes describes this notion beautifully as "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing". Basically Hermes' teachings state the presence of mirrored parallel worlds.



The Kabbalah states that there is an upper force (sum of all forces) through which the governing forces descended. These governing forces were responsible for our existence. These forces are powerful but their nature makes them appear hidden to us. Take electricity as an example, it is very powerful but yet invisible. The upper force gave birth to five spiritual worlds and the barrier separating them from our world.

Keeping the above paragraph in mind, the science of Kabbalah is the study of spiritual worlds (what is beyond the barrier).

The tree of life

The tree of life holds a significant place in Kabbalah. It depicts nothingness to something-ness of a physical world. The tree along with its ten Sephiroth represents a multiverse connecting our consciousness with our sub-consciousness. The Sephiroths are the emanations of the Devine or the aspects of the universe.

The tree of life starts with the ultimate source at the top and then moves down through different Sephiroths in the unconscious state towards the conscious state Malchut (Mal-Khoot) which is our physical world of matter. Malchut is where we reside.


Precursor to the Tree
The tree of life starts with pre-tree stages of which the first being the void stage, when there was no time or space. This void is described as nothingness and is known as "Ein". After "Ein" came the all limitless "Ein Soph" after which there was infinite light known as "Ein Soph Aur".

These three stages are the pre-cursor to the tree and are also known as "the unknowable" because they are beyond our comprehension. Another way to describe the above is how in Quantum Physics we conclude that the closer we get to the big bang the laws of Physics start to break down.

The tree starts after "Ein Soph Aur" with the top most Sephiroth "Kether". These Sephiroth are connected to each other through paths traveling downwards.


Kether
Kether means Crown and is the ultimate source. It is the manifestation of something from nothing.

Chokmah
(khock-mah) Chokmah is the wisdom, the intelligent architect. It denotes the power of intuitive insight.
 
Binah
Binah means "understanding" and is the third Sephiroth. Binah is the female principal and it represents compassion, passion, fertility and Mother Nature.

The missing one
Diagonally from Binah we have "Daath" which means "Knowledge" and it is missing from the tree. It is missing because it is kind of a knowledge which is beyond sense. It is a knowledge which is knowable by its absence.

Chesed
Next we have Chesed which represents "mercy". It is about the unconditional love and kingdom. You will notice that the next in line is Gevurah.

Gevurah
Right across from Chesed we have Gevurah meaning "Severity". It is about the strength, judgment and non-bias cold decisions like the laws of nature. The Chesed and Gevurah balance each other through toughness and love. Without Gevurah, the Chesed would turn into cruelty while without Chesed the Gevurah would turn into weakness.
 
TifeReth
Next we have TifeReth which means "Beauty" and all other Sephiroths revolve around it. TifeReth represents the soul, the light and the point which is humanity’s highest and G-d’s lowest as it connects man with G-d. Einstein described "Beauty" as "the Truth".
 
Netzach
Down from Tifereth is the Netzach which is "victory". Netzach represents feelings, emotions, thoughts and love.

Hod
Hod means "Splendor" and similar to Gevurah, it balances Netzach. Hod represents science, mind, intellect, magic and communication.

YesOD
Second last from the bottom is YesOD meaning the "Foundation". This represents the unconscious world like dreams, fantasy, imagination and creativity.
 
Malchut
Finally we arrive at Malchut, which is the "kingdom". This represents the physical matter state and the world in which we reside.

Bottom line

So what this all mean? what is the benefit of all this?

To me the answer is hidden in how one plans to utilize the bounties of this tree. My Kabbalah's journey has been very similar to my Freemasonry one. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

In plain and simple words, if you can go back 1000 years and try to teach people about electricity, you will hear many say "what's the point? or what's the benefit?". It is not until we think outside the box, the illumination from the spiritual knowledge begins to enlighten us.

     

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