Tuesday, April 10, 2007

the bottom of the tree of life

Counting the Omer (with Homer!) and continuing to take the steps from the place of enslavement ("mitzrayim") towards the place of revelation ("Sinai") that correspond to levels of energy on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, we walked yesterday through Malchut (kingdom) in Chesed (lovingkindness), and tonight into a new week, with Chesed in Gevurah (discipline, limitation, strength).

Malchut is the energetic level at the "bottom" of the Tree of Life (the bottom being the branches and leaves and fruit, with the roots reaching the other way, "up" into undifferentiated Source); all the previous energies pour like a fountain into the kingdom, the dense realm of materiality, the world of our ordinary reality. Although the material world (the earth, the dirt) is regarded in some systems of thought as the opposite of the spiritual (the heavens, the sun), far away from the realms of ascended realization, in this perspective the mundane world is always, absolutely, just as suffused with Being as any other realm -- even though it can be shadier here, and foggier. Dark, and cold, and heaviness, are all Yin qualities, as are interiority, femaleness, receptivity, stillness, depth. In many ways the most Yin aspect of the Tree of Life, Malchut corresponds to the aspect of the Divine called the "Shechinah," the Presence that dwells within
(shechinah comes from the Hebrew root that also branches into the word for "dwell"), the interiority of Being, often described as the feminine aspect of the Eternal.

Rabbi Ted
"In Malchut all the flavors of the upper vessels manifest, but the Holy is hidden in husks of materiality..."

"I grow more aware of the Presence of Lovingkindness in which this world is held. I feel this deeper influence through every cell of my being. I am always one with this Universal Source of Life. All reality reflects this Loving Presence. In all I meet, I sense the blessing of this Love."

The meditative focus for this next day, of Lovingkindness held in Limitation (the energy that restricts, constricts, and allows for the shaping and channeling of what would otherwise overflow and flood; allows for the formation of all the array of feelings from pure Love):
"I awaken to a new reverence for all the feelings which arise in me now. I grow more aware than ever that the energy of Lovingkindess animates all feelings. This awareness helps me appreciate the incredible dance of feelings I experience. I begin this second week with blessing."

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