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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Several failed attempts to get a new job – got through first and second round, but then the roles are withdrawn due to lack of funding or re-organization.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.
- 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?”
- 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.
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.