..outweigh the needs of the few. Star Trek fans will all know that…yes I am one, don’t judge me…especially because one can actually place the characters, and many of the scenarios, on the Tree of Life. Spock, McCoy, and Kirk, respectively are Gevurah, Hesed, and Tiferet. The Enterprise is Malkhut; Scotty is (perhaps) Yesod (“Ya canna change the laws of Physics” – Yesod is to an extent bound by physical laws, but with the help of Divine inspiration can push them to their limits.) The Federation of Planets might be seen as Keter, the ruling principle that seeks to know itself through Hokhmah, the mission to travel to “strange, new worlds, to seek out new life…etc”, limited (or contained) by the guiding rule, known as The Prime Directive, Binah.
Art, whether High Art or popular culture, serves a Divine purpose in presenting us with a reflection of the world, whether it be through a cathartic, or humorous representation of everyday life that we can immediately recognise (EastEnders? Friends?) or a more profound exploration, such as we find in the works of Shakespeare or Tolstoy. As a schoolteacher I recognise immediately the Harry Potter world of Hogwarts – the Weasley twins (my favourite characters) always end up in my class! Here are children looking to their teachers for safety, comfort and sometimes consolation – the nice teacher, the nasty teacher, even the interfering government inspector…if O.W.L.s aren’t O’ levels (Ordinary Wizarding Levels? Rowling giving her age away, today it’s GCSEs!) then I’m a house elf!
At the heart of spiritual tradition is scripture, so it is sad to find that the Bible has such low currency in modern life. Why is clear, we have moved away from religion because so much of the interpretation of scripture seems aimed at pinning us down to a particular, unbending way of living. However, the characters are no less human than, say Harry Potter, or even Mr Spock, who for all his logic is in many ways the most humane character of all, willing to die for the good of the many, and placing the greater good above personal, sentimental desire.
Of course, the logical characters, the ones who cannot, it seems, move beyond the sensible and explainable, are usually required to modify their ideas, while the emotive, feeling-driven characters are often not. So let’s have a look at logic and consider its Kabbalistic significance.
Logic is to do first and foremost with mathematical and scientific reasoning – the scientist will have us believe that everything can be explained scientifically, logically. What science cannot explain is either nonsense, or has yet to be understood intellectually. But science is rooted in the physical, the World of Assiyah (Action). It used to be referred to as Natural Science, to distinguish it from the Theological and Supernatural. It is concerned with the material world, not spirituality.
When we move up a world to Yetsirah, we are dealing with processes that have no immediate physical basis. For example, we can try to analyse love in terms of hormonal or electrical impulses, but we somehow know this does not really explain what love is. Psychologically it makes more sense, because then we are concerned with the watery world of feeling and emotion, hard to pin down but aware of direct experience. But psychology, analysis of the human mind, is also not concerned with spirituality.
As we move beyond Yetsirah and engage with the transpersonal, putting our feelings aside, we find a whole new dimension of logic. The World of Beriah can feel very cold and distant, because it is not concerned with your feelings or mine, but the collective patterns, cycles and functions of the universe. In the broad movements of the cosmos, the individual seems puny and insignificant – “as flies to wanton boys are we to the gods”, says Shakespeare in King Lear. But Gloucester in that speech has just experienced terrible cruelty, one might say seriously negative karma, so his view of the universe is inevitably gloomy and, arguably, rooted in Yetsirah. By contrast, when we experience pleasure, the world is our oyster (another line from Shakespeare!¹) and no less an illusion.
When we reach the transpersonal, however, we encounter a more profound form of logic, one in which the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few and self-sacrifice for the greater good is possible without counting the cost. This is the message conveyed by The Passion of the Christ; Jesus dies for the sins of humanity in the sense that he accepts his karma willingly and presents a model for all. Equally, Moses accepts his death willingly, looking toward the land to which he has led the Israelites but which he may not enter, his karma for striking the rock instead of speaking to it². Both these men have dedicated their lives to others, at the cost of personal gratification.
Their joy is in Divine consciousness, because they have learnt, or simply know, that which the rest of us seek to find – that the good of the many is inseparable from the needs of the one, or the few. When the whole tribe of Israel is delayed, waiting for Miriam who has been stricken with leprosy, it is for the good of all, not just to please Moses and Aaron³. The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many, because in Atsilut, the Divine World, there can be no separation of the one from the many.
We live in a world in which we are daily faced with choices, what will bring us the greater good? Brexit negotiations, international conflicts (consider America and Iran) and even day to day decisions often come down to a “them and us” choice. Only when we recognise that our own needs and the needs of others are one and the same will we truly reach a land flowing with milk and honey. The Eternal One is God and we are all in and of God. In Divine Conscious, we all have our place, and all truly is One.
WORKSHOPS 2018/19: the next workshop, “From Creation to The Passion: The Kabbalist’s Journey to Freedom”, will be held on 15th December, and will look more closely at how scripture can be applied practically to everyday life. Places are still available. See the relevant page for further information.