The main lesson in verse 8, chapter 1 of Sefer Yetzirah (SY) is to “silence your mouth form speaking and your heart from running”. In other words, during the process of oscillating consciousness from the rational side of the mind to the psychic intuitive side of the mind and back, the rational side is at risk of being overcome by symbolism and get lost.
Gematria (word association via numerical values of the letters) is a classic example, in my opinion, where there is a risk that the rational mind latches on to symbols and concepts for meaning and connect things that are not that related - thereby missing the overall message.
The point of Gematria to my limited understanding is not to display mental acrobatics of the highest order. Rather it is to get the mind to ponder meanings of words and phrases in order to extract a deeper (and possibly mystical) understanding. This to and fro of grasping at meaning from a rational point of view and then from an (psychic) intuitive point of view is “oscillating consciousness” in action.
The only problem for me is that I do not understand the laws of Gematria (indeed there are some), hence I do not use this technique. Instead I use the verses of Sefer Yetzirah and the Torah as jumping off points to gain a deeper understanding.
If you’re familiar with the Torah, you’ll have noticed that there are some places with lots of names and genealogies. My experience has been that you can get some very interesting thoughts arising by meditating on these names. Perhaps it’s an awakening of ancestral memories coded by these names, or perhaps it’s something else.
In any case, the trick is to stop short and not delve so deeply that your rational mind rebels and screams “STOP!”
|Symbologist to the rescue, companion-style side-kick optional|
To misuse the analogy of diving…. the more you practice, the deeper you can go. But each time you do a deeper dive the risks increase significantly. SY1:8 comes to teach us “don’t dive much further than your comfort zone”. Getting the “bends” from psychic / spiritual experiences can leave you messed up for years to come. This, to my understanding, is why people say “Kabbalah will make you go crazy”.