May 31 2012

Reading Matt’s The Essential Kabbalah (part 1)

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From The Essential Kabbalah, by Daniel C. Matt:

“We avoid studying the true nature of the divine, and as a result, the concept of God has dimmed. The innermost point of the awareness of God is conceived only as a stern power from whom you cannot escape, to whom you must subjugate yourself. If you submit to the service of God on this empty basis, you gradually lose your radiance by constricting your consciousness. The divine splendor is plucked from your soul.

Every sensitive spirit feels compelled to discard such a conception of God…The crude complacency of imagining divinity as embodied in words and letters alone puts humanity to shame. Heresy arises as a pained outcry to liberate us from this strange, narow pit, to raise us from the darkness of letters and platitudes to the light of thought and feeling. Such heresy eventually takes its stand in the center of morality. It has a temporary legitimacy, for it must consume the filthy froth clinging to mindless faith. The real purpose of heresy is to remove the particular forms from the thought of the essence of all life, the root of every single thought. When this condition persists over several generations, heresy inevitably emerges as cultural expression, uprooting the memory of God and all religious institutions. But what type of uprooting is intended by divine providence? Removing the dross that separates us from genuine divine light. On the desolate ruins wrought by heresy, the sublime knowledge of God will build her temple. Utter heresy arises to purify the air of the wicked, insolent filth of thinking about the essence of divinity – an act of peeping that leads to idolatry. In itself this heresy is no better than what it attacks, but it is absolutely opposed to it, and out of the clash of these two opposites, humanity is aided immensely in approaching an enlightened awareness of God, which draws towad temporal and eternal bliss. Instead of wasting one’s thought trying to break through to the essence of divinity, the mind will be illumined b pure morality and sublime power, which sparkle from the divine light and chart the paths of life.

Pure belief in oneness of God has ben blurred by corporeality. From time to time, this confusion is exposed. Whenever a corporeal aspect falls away, it seems as if faith itself has fallen, but afterward it turns out that, in fact, faith has been clarified. As the human spirit verges on complete clarity of faith, the final subtle shell of corporeality falls away – attributing existence to God. For truly, existence, however we define it, is immeasurably remote from God. The silhouette of this denial resembles heresy but when clarified is actually the highest level of faith. Then the human spirit becomes aware that the divine emanates existence and is itself beyond existence. What appeared to be heresy, now purified, is restored to purest faith. But this denial of existence in God – this return to the source of all being, to the essential vibrancy of all existence – requires exquisite insight. Each day one must trace it back to its authentic purity.

The infinite transcends every particular content of faith.”

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