Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Dissolving Coagulation of Clay

For the past two weeks I have felt a deep sense of sadness which manifest by a strong desire to want to cry all the time. This caused some interesting interactions in the office at work.
The thing is there was no immediate cause that I could identify as the source. So as any good project manager would do, I held a retrospective meeting to see what had happened over the past couple of months that might have brought about the sadness.

Here is the shortlist of possible causes:
  1. Reading “Kabbalistic Mirror of Genesis” by David Chaim Smith – the continued emphasis on the non-dual nature of Creation gave my ego a serious battering. 
  2. Reading “World Mask” by Rabbi Akiva Tatz – this too gave my fragile ego a battering, however this was compounded by the fact that unlike the book above, Tatz actually challenges the reader to take action based on their new-found knowledge.
  3. Several failed attempts to get a new job – got through first and second round, but then the roles are withdrawn due to lack of funding or re-organization. Whilst disappointing as set-backs, I am not sure they would evoke quite this level of sadness.
  4. Studying commentary on Sefer Yetzirah) Book of Creation) by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero – in Hebrew. It’s pretty mind-blowing stuff and as my wife says: “you’re punching way above your weight”. To which I replied: “how else am I going to keep progressing?”
  5. That some of my favourite vices no longer give me any pleasure – this took a while to realize. Having spent the last few years moving my ‘set point’ in terms of study, practice, and behaviour it dawned on me that some of the things I loved doing are now empty shells without appeal. 
Looking back at the list I think that it is likely to be point 5. Habits are incredibly hard to change, especially when they are bordering on the level of addiction. The again it could be a combination of all of the above that has made me feel like a layer of my being has broken off and something inside me is regenerating in to a clearer form.

Logan was kind enough to remind me of the importance of stoicism. Rabbi Kaplan makes this point in his book ‘Meditation and Kabbalah’. All of the activities 1-5 can be classed as “running”. By that I mean trying to go beyond the point where I find myself at to try to reach a new stage of my development.
However, as Logan pointed out – “running” must be accompanied with “returning” as is made explicitly clear in Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation). There is a balance to be found in all things and a person cannot be constantly “running” form one level of development to the next without having periods of “returning” and allowing the changes to be integrated in to one’s life in a healthy manner.