Digging Wells: The Labor of Tikkune

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Tau Malachi
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Digging Wells: The Labor of Tikkune

#1 Postby Tau Malachi » Tue Jul 13, 2004 1:46 pm

(Contemplation from the Sefer HaZohar, Toledot - 1:141a)

In Genesis chapter 26 a story of a famine caused by a drought is told in which Issac journies into the land of the Philistines, into the dominion of the king called Abimelech ("father-king"). There are wells which Abraham had dug, which the Philistines had filled in, and according to the Torah the servants of Issac dig these wells again, restoring them. According to the Zohar the servants of Issac represent a circle of mystics of which Issac is the tzaddik. These wells are the Sefirot of Construction and the digging of these wells again represents the activity of tikkune - rectification, mending or healing, a restoration of the flow of shefa or spiritual energy from the Sefirot (Light-emanations) into the world. This is the divine labor of mystic circles everywhere, of any wisdom tradition: rectification or the restoration of the Light-presence in the world.

The Light-continuum and the Light-emanations are an ever-present reality, yet, unless channel-ways are created and maintained, in effect, the Light-power cannot flow out into the world. There must be vessels or vehicles of the Light in order for it to pour fourth - hence for the flow of blessings and grace. The degree to which the Light-presence can enter and the Light-power can flow is completely dependent upon the refinement and quality of the channel-ways or vehicles. What are these holy vessels, these channel-ways or vehicles? They are the person of the mystic (or gnostic), the mystical circle, and the continuum of spiritual life and practice of both the individual and group - hence what we would call the "mystical body."

We might ask: Why do we study and practice Gnosticism and Kabbalah? Some might do so in order to become wealthy, or because they are curious or seek entertainment, or in order to be sexy, or to appear intelligent and wise, or to acquire power, or any number of reasons along these lines. Yet, the true purpose of this study and practice is self-transformation and the transformation of the world; delight in the mysteries of creation, the soul and God; and, ultimately, the experience of conscious unification with God and Godhead. This may well lead to amazing prosperity, success, health and happiness in the world, or not, but if it does, quite frankly, it is secondary. The primary aim is the refinement of the holy vessel, tikkune of the vessel, which is to say the development and evolution of the soul; hence self-transformation and realization.

According to the Kabbalah, in the process of creation, countless universes are created and shattered, many constellations of holy vessels are formed and broken, and thus, on a metaphysical level, there is a need for tikkune - rectification, mending or healing. This teaching, however, also relates to the spiritual labor of the individual and group, for if we are vessels or vehicles of the Light, then it stands to reason that in the process of our coming into being, as holy vessels, we too will shatter some times and need to enact tikkune. In fact, this shattering and rectification is said to be the sign of a true and faithful disciple - whatever it takes to make oneself a strong channel-way of the Light is exactly what needs to be done. The true test of an initiate is not the time of ease, but the time of challenge, and it is during these times that the most radical leaps in the development and evolution of the soul may occur.

This point in the Torah, mentioned above, is particularly interesting, for going down into the land of the Philistines is akin to a "fall" and "shattering," and the digging of the wells represents the restoration and ascent. In fact, it is an ascent to a new level, according to the Masters of Faith, for following this series of events (the descent and ascent) Issac imparts the Light-transmission to the next lineage-holder, Jacob. It is as though a shattering and rectification had to occur in order to bring about a Light-transmission at a significantly higher level.

The same thing happens in our individual experience on the Path, and the same thing happens in our community experience on the Path - shattering and the labor of rectification always precedes a breakthrough to a new level of higher consciousness and the Light. Isn't this the most basic message of the crucifixion?

The question is: Are we willing to the experience of shattering and to the actual work of rectification through which the cycles of Initiation continue to unfold?

Now here we may hint at something, for the sake of contemplation. There are two ways of rectification, one that is "perfect" and the other "imperfect," one that corresponds to grace and the other to works under the law.

In any case, this process of shattering and rectification constitutes a process of self-transformation, and to the degree we bring about our own transformation we become vehicles of the Light-presence in the world and are empowered as conscious agents for the transformation of the world. This is the divine labor of the mystic and of mystical circles everywhere.

Blessings & shalom! :wink:
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#2 Postby Rebekah » Tue Jul 13, 2004 8:22 pm

Shalom Malachi!

It seems that not only the shattering, but also the rectification by grace involve a dynamic surrender. It doesn't seem that the way of rectification that corresponds to works under the law involves the dynamic surrender that comes from within, but rather an attempt to mold oneself to externally imposed law. How could this 'imperfect' way lead to higher levels of the Light-transmission?

Blessings,
Rebekah
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The Nature of the Law

#3 Postby Tau Malachi » Wed Jul 14, 2004 11:12 am

Greetings Rebekah!

There certainly is the idea of the law as something imposed from outside of oneself, as in what one should eat, or how one should dress, or issues of sexuality beyond basic ethics - such "laws" have little or nothing to do with the Gnosticism and the Gnostic initiate. Yet, there is another interpretation of the law, more subtle and sublime, which exists within a person until there is an full opening to Divine Grace - the law of karma, which is the dominion of the demiurgos.

In terms of a law that may be imposed based upon an understanding of the law of karma, we may say, the law is for the lawless, for those who are lacking love and compassion (the awareness of Sacred Unity). If we assume St. Paul is Gnostic, and we read his letters as speaking to the faithful or psychics and to the elect or spiritual at one and the same time, we see that the faithful exist under the law and are justified by works, but the spiritual are justified by Grace. It is not an issue of belief, but an issue of the experience of the Light-presence, hence gnosis.

Indeed! Under the law, the faithful or psychic person must work out her or his karma, and must live under the law according to righteousness in order to eventually receive Grace. In bondage to karmic vision it is the only way the faithful person can draw near to God or grow towards Enlightenment; hence by generating positive merit. Why? Because of karmic vision in the faithful person who, as yet, has not experienced the Light from above, which is Grace. Apart from Grace there cannot be freedom from the law of karma.

We need only consider those who hear the Gnostic message of the spiritual or elect, which speaks of complete freedom from the law, but in whom Love and Grace are not in effect - they believe the Gnostic initiate is saying: "Do whatever you like, even mean-spirited or criminal things!" However, that is not at all the Gnostic Gospel. Rather, where there is Spiritual Love and Compassion, one needs no law to tell one what is right, but Love guides ones thought and speech and actions naturally and spontaneously. Likewise, when one abide reintegrated to the Light-presence and Light-continuum, the dualism of saint and sinner vanishes, and one knows the state of Grace - oneself as a person of Light transcendent of space-time, and therefore transcendent of the law. This is not an intellectual belief, but is a recognition and realization - the Gnostic experience of the Risen Savior.

Really, we are talking about the Path of Gradual Progress versus the Path of Thunderbolt Enlightenment, but in the Thunderbolt Path one does not believe in the typical religious sense, one knows in the Gnostic sense. Until it is time and the soul-being comes to a certain point in its development and evolution, a certain stage of spiritual maturation, there is really no choice as to whether or not a person is under the law and dominion of the demiurgos - all are first bound by the law, and only by this recognition does Grace become possible. Indeed! The Light from above will not be perceived as Grace so long as Judgment remains in one's consciousness - the Light will appear as the Judge, and instead of the light of heaven it might well appear as the fire of hell. Mind you, it is the same Divine presence and power, but its appearance is determined by the vessel into which it enters, the state of the mind, heart and life of the one receiving it.

We might consider death in this regard, for to one who clings to name and form it is the end of the world, yet to one who knows her or himself as the person of Light it is the beginning of the World-To-Come. To one, death appears as death, and, to the other, death appears as eternal life - it is all a matter of one's state of mind! Yet, it is the same event in either case. The law brings the awareness of sin, and therefore Judgment, and it leads to death; but gnosis of the Risen Savior brings the awareness of transcendence, and therefore freedom from Judgment, and leads to eternal life - the continuity of consciousness beyond the appearance of "death."

In this sense, the law has little or nothing to do with anything imposed from outside of oneself, but the law or transcendence is a state in one's own consciousness. Here we find the real issue in terms of enlightenment and liberation. Enlightement is the actual recognition and realization of the transcendental nature of one's being-consciousness, and it is this that liberates from the law. The experience of this recognition and realization is Grace, for in truth one has done nothing to attain it, and this holy remembrance comes by way of Divine intervention; hence the Savior and the Apostles of Light who serve to reveal/remind of the Spirit and Truth.

Now the dynamics of shattering and tikkune may occur by way of the law and works, or by way of Grace and faith (Pistis Sophia - the Knowing Faith). In the former it is a work of gradual progress step by step, and in the latter it is a path of radical quantum leaps, as it were, and instantaneous. Both can and will lead to enlightenment eventually, and enlightenment will liberate, but the instant that works creates the conditions for Grace to enter in, then Grace enters and Grace enlightens and liberates. Thus we may say, all are delivered from their bondage by Grace, the faithful being made spiritual and elect in the instant of enlightenment.

From outside the Gnostic experience many might hear a "better than" and "less than" philosophy, however that is not at all the case. Truly, in attainment of repose in the Living Father, or the Supernal Abode, all are equal. After all, there is no "sooner" or "later" in eternity, nor is there "lesser" or "greater," for there is no dualism in the Supernal Abode, no space-time in eternity! Psychic or faithful and spiritual or elect are relative states within space-time-consciousness, in the ultimate sense all are the perfect (Cathari), and by one way or another, eventually, that perfection will be actualized and realized.

Yes, Grace is perfect! It can enter in at any time, whenever the conditions necessary are present - a dynamic surrender is the primary condition for Divine Grace to enter and take up the work in us. You see, a person must come to the realization that he or she cannot complete the "work on her or himself," but that only Grace, the Mother Spirit, can accomplish the work, and enlighten and liberate. Until that time, however, one really must "work on oneself" and progress as far as one can by that means. Only in so doing will this recognition come: One is in need of the Savior, which is to say, Grace!

This is truly a subtle point, which is why it occupies St. Paul so much - he teaches the faithful or psychics and the spiritual or elect at one and the same time, as Gnostic teachers tend to do. Again and again we take up this very contemplation, first from one angle, then another, until, perchance, there is some glimpse of the Truth, and we experience something of this Truth and Light we call the "Savior." It is in this experience that the faithful become elect, the psychic becomes spiritual; hence truly Gnostic.

We might inquire into the connection of "shattering" and Grace; likewise, we might inquire into the play of wonder-working among Gnostics and the truth of transcendence. Both of these subjects can carry our contemplation further...

This dialogue is at the very heart and core of Gnosticism and the Kabbalah.

Blessings & shalom! :D
Tau Malachi

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Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

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#4 Postby Guest » Fri Jul 16, 2004 1:31 pm

Shalom!

I normally think of 'shattering' in terms of involution of Light, the constriction and shattering of Sefirot to be reformed at a lower level; a sort of 'step-down' process by which the Light is manifest in creation. It stands to reason, then, that this shattering must occur in evolution as well, and it seems that wonder-working can be used to facilitate this process when the conditions are right.

Blessings,
Rebekah

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Wonder-Working Art

#5 Postby Tau Malachi » Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:26 pm

Greetings Rebekah!

Indeed! We study and contemplate Ma'aseh Bereshit (the Work of Creation) and the involution process in order to understand the process of conscious evolution; hence the Path of Return, as it might be phrased. For evolution follows the path of involution, as reflected in the Gnostic Gospel.

The wonder-working art seems to serve several purposes. First, it certainly demonstrates the truth of ourselves as persons of Light who come from the Light-continuum, and the fluid nature of the life-display we call "reality." Second, in the midst of engaging the wonder-working art we draw "down" vast amounts of the spiritual energies of the Sefirot and we restore the connection between the various levels of the Sefirot - even bringing about unification with Ain Sof.

In other words, the wonder-working art clearly reveals that we are free from bondage to the law and the demuirgos; hence the mastery of the play of spiritual forces by the power of the Blessed Name.

Unfortunately, however, although the wonder-working art can be used to initiate others into the Light-continuum and to bring about new levels of faith and gnosis, often times is can also have an adverse or negative affect on immature aspirants, invoking insecurity or else a profane deification of the mystic who performs the magical action. Thus, it is an extremely delicate matter. As you say, it is only useful under the right conditions - specifically when an aspirant or disciple is inwardly centered and does not view her or himself so separate from the mystic engaging the art.

Truly, I have found that magic powers must be hidden and used sparingly - there is a time and place for them, but generally speaking that time and place must be determined by a natural and spontaneous flow. When they are used, it must be by the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit and not one's own will or desire.

Of course, magic powers are not only dangerous to aspirants who might witness something of them with their tzaddik, but they are also very dangerous to the tzaddik her or himself - these spiritual gifts (charisma) are very intoxicating and can easily be used improperly. They are quite tempting. Many adepts and masters have fallen prey to such intoxication and let such powers go to their heads - the ego taking hold of them. Thus, overly using them is also not good for the mystic her or himself.

Like so many things, wonder-working can bring about tikkune of the soul or further damage of the soul, all depending on how it is used. First and foremost, however, we must tend to the mystical attainment - Mochin Gadlut, for that is the balance to any magical attainment.

1 Corinthians chapter 13 comes to mind...

Blessings & shalom! :)
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#6 Postby Rebekah » Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:40 pm

Shalom!

Love indeed!

Blessings,
Rebekah

Sophia Fellowship

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