Sunday, 29 May 2016

Forward Momentum


Meditation as Fire-walking
“The floor is made of lava”. Ever play that game as a child? The aim is to get from one point of the house to another without touching the floor. It’s best not to play it near breakables or furniture with sharp edges.

Whilst this is a cute analogy to introduce the dangers of Practical Kabbalah, it’s also a rubbish analogy. There are techniques that carry less risk and those that carry more risk. Warning are often about people dying suddenly whilst relatively young. Even Umberto Eco’s “Foucault's Pendulum” contains a warning about the risks of letter permutation.

So when it gets late at night and the rest of the household has gone to sleep. I tell myself “Why not watch another episode of Doctor Who? It’s safer than navigating the lava”. Cue reference to fear being the mind killer, but again this is not a good analogy.

Anyway, all this waste of ink is me reminding myself why I do this. Why a project manager spends countless hours on trains and at home reading and practising meditations (or not as is often the case). I do it because I must.

Going Back to Earlier Sources
No, not because older is cooler – but because in order to understand later sources… you sometimes need to understand how they built on earlier sources. For example, this audio by prof. Moshe Idel talks about why Abraham Abulafia is the latest bandwagon everyone is jumping on. I love a bandwagon, and sure enough I’ve got half way through Chayeh Olam Ha-Bah (Life in the World to Come).

The trouble is that Prof. Elliot Wolfson points out that to understand Abulafia, you first need to have studied Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) and read works by Rabbi Ealzar of Worms. Whilst I have done some of the former (2 commentaries on SY), I’ve yet to start on the latter even though it’s been on my to-do list for awhile (close to 4 years).

Tzedek Update
Last Thursday was Lag B’Omer. Nothing else special happened except that I seem to keep winning Lucky Dips (2 numbers) but nothing more significant than that.

OPEN Thread
This blog has been quiet for a bit as there seems to be some odd activity going on term of frequent visitors from the USA. By frequent I mean nearly the same number of page views on a regular basis, see image below.

So either it’s bots (most likely) or suddenly this blog has got an extra visitor (unlikely). Just in case it’s the latter – please consider this post an OPEN thread. Leave a comment below and I’ll try to answer any questions, feedback, smack talk in the next few days.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

May Project Update 2016

Project Updates:

This project has been running for over a month now and the effects appear to be cumulative. Each day of reciting the Psalms shifts my though patterns out of the old behaviour loops and in to new behaviour loops. Actually, that may not be entirely correct. The effect seems to start at the level of Will and then enters in to the conscious and unconscious mind (from Keter to Chochmah and Binah). So the old loops rarely, if ever trigger.

Two results from last week. First one is that I managed to pin two out of six numbers in the Lotto and won a free lucky dip. Every success, how ever minor, should be celebrated – so Yay! OK, that’s enough celebration for now.

The other success is that in my wider community a leaflet went around reminding the families in our community that there are services available including:
  • Cooked meals when someone is sick, has given birth, has lost a loved one, etc.
  • Hospital visits, including bringing others to appointments or visits
  • Friendship meet-ups (it’s amazing in how such a connected world, too many are lonely)
  • Financial support to help balance monthly budget as well as short term funds
That’s another success for compassion.

This seemed to go well at first. Trouble is that the long-Jewish-goodbye can take, well forever. Some people leave but don’t say goodbye. Jews say goodbye but don’t leave. I have spent more than half-an-hour in a hallway once waiting to leave whilst goodbyes were said, news was exchanged on loved ones, jokes were made that other corrected, recipes were compared, photos were taken, etc. That’s a normal goodbye.

Now imagine what happens when you invite six amazing souls from the past to share some of their wisdom with you? Sure, there’s the whole license to depart thing, but it kind of gets pushed  to the side by the long-goodbye I mentioned above.

Anyway, I’ve left the hallway, so to speak, to spend a bit of time by myself. It’s a little embarrassing as one of the souls I wanted to learn from was Rabbi Moshe Cordovero and having re-read his writings on the attribution of the double letters in Sefer Yetzirah… well, I’m really embarrassed to say that I do not agree with the great and holy Rabbi.

This project is going well. It’s a lot easier than I thought to read scripture (twice) with Aramaic translation (plus English translation). This is a project that is meant to act as a foundation for a later project, however as a side benefit if I ever go crazy from all this Kabbalah stuff – I can do a pretty good impression of being a time traveller from olden days, or someone possessed.



Thursday, 12 May 2016

New Project: Tzedek Tzedek like a Mensch

Tonight is the start** of 20th day of the Omer count. That makes it Yesod in the week of Tiferet, Foundation in Harmonious Beauty (reconciling the opposites of Chesed and Gevurah).

The meditation of today in the app from Chabad that helps track Omer counting is as follows:
What is the difference between kindness and compassion?

Kindness gives to another.

Compassion knows no ‘other’

From the Wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman.
So it’s Thursday, the day associated with wealth and poverty according to the different Sefer Yetzirah commentaries (Sa’adiyah Gaon, R. Eliezer Rokeach, and R. Keter Shalom b. Avraham) that are open in front of me as I write this article. The (fairly) recent Jupiter discussion by Jason and Blogos comes to mind. And I am left with the question, how can I turn all this in to something practical that promotes compassion in both my own life and the world at large.

Guess it’s time for a new project:
Title: Tzedek Tzedek like a Mensch
Scope: Promote compassion and wealth
Time: 1 year deadline
Cost: Time and charity.
Quality: The aim of the project is to promote compassion and wealth both in my life and in the lives of others. The measure of this will include changes in wealth over time, changes in frequency and size of charitable donations, as well as new initiatives to promote compassion.
Risks:
1. Poverty. As Sefer Yetzira (Book of Formation) states, the transpose of wealth is poverty.
2. Publishing a new project can trigger a counter wave due to the public nature of the initiative. One way to mitigate this risk is to use the principle of aikido to return the energy and momentum back to the source.
3. No significant effect. Since I am a dabbler rather than a serious practising occultist – this could all just be wishful thinking on the part of a Project Manager with a curious interest in Jewish magic & mysticism.
Stretch Goal: Generate sufficient wealth to take a career break for 7 years and study like Rabbi Akiva.

Just to explain the title of this project… there is a phrase “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof” in the section of Shoftim in the Torah. It means “Righteousness, righteousness you shall pursue so that you will live and take possession of the land that Hashem, your G-d, gives you.” [Devorim 16:20] as explained in this article.

The word Mensch comes from the German term Humanit├Ąt, in the philosophical sense of compassion, as explained here by Wonkipedia.

Image from https://scifiladynerds.net/
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan talks pp.167-174 about the attribution of angels to planets, as well as the differences between temporary angelic entities created on the second day and permanent ones on the fifth day. Unfortunately the reference to the angel for Tzedek (Jupiter) in Raziel HaMalach (pp67 of the Hebrew version published in Me’ah She’arim in 2003) has a different attribution of angel to that planet.

In any case, the techniques that I will be using to promote this project include some of the following techniques:

  1. Giving of charity each Thursday (excluding festivals that fall on Thursdays). Tzedakah meaning charity, has the same root as the word Tzedek = righteousness / Jupiter. It’s better to give frequently smaller amounts, rather than one lump sum as it habituates a person to sharing a portion of their wealth to those in need.
  2. Recite Psalms 65, 144, and 147 – as explained on pp. 367 of “Jewish Spiritual Practices” by Yitzchak Buxbaum. These psalms are for being ‘Grateful to God for success, prosperity’.
  3. Recite the ‘Prayers for Financial Prosperity’ on pp. 388 to 393 of “Walking in the Fire” by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok.
  4. Purchasing a lottery ticket, it’s pretty much like a voluntary tax.
  5. Letter permutation as explained in Sodey Razia (require more study before starting this).
  6. Experiment with the concept of fixed moments in time. Rather than play with probabilities, create a fixed point in time/space that is pinned with a particular outcome. Small things with little to no geopolitical impact but which create a ripple effect of compassion and will in time allow the pinning effect to fade. A bit like self-dissolving stitches if you will.

** - the day starts at nightfall until the next nightfall, mirroring the “and then it was evening, then it was morning day one” from first chapter of Genesis.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Invite the others

Awhile back I had this crazy idea to build a TARDIS-AS. Having started studying Chayeh Olam Ha-Bah (Life in the World to Come) by Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, the proto-project is starting to materialise in to something a bit more solid.

A few weeks ago as I was catching up from Dr. Who season 3 to season 6, a curious comments in the episode Journey's End stuck out. In the attached link (containing many spoilers) it statesabout Dr. Who that:
He explains to his companions that the reason that he has so much trouble piloting is that a TARDIS is normally piloted by six people, and he has had to do it all on his own
 Which got me thinking, perhaps travelling in a group might be a better idea. But who? And How? Shortly thereafter I came across the below article by Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok, which made me think... can it really be that simple? I think yes it is. And now to do some prototyping, some experimentation...

Daily Thought
by Ariel B Tzadok. 
Copyright (C) 2016 by Ariel Bar Tzadok.  All rights reserved.


Today: Friday. May 6, 2016

To ascend the ladder to Heaven
is easy,
once you know
hows it's properly done.
To descend into the depths
of the unconscious
does not have to be hard
once you understand
what it actually means.

There are many paths before us
that are only hard
in the mind of the beholder.
It is personal perception
that makes a path
either hard, or easy to walk.

Your mind is a powerful tool.
Your mind is what connects you
to Heaven.
At the same time,
your mind is what connects you
to Earth.

Do you see it?
Do you understand?
Your mind is the ladder
that bridges Heaven and Earth.
The ladder is inside you.
The ladder is YOU!

You can ascend into Heaven
or descend into the unconscious,
as a matter of Will.
You have the power,
and internally,
you already know the Way.

All you need to do
is remove the many hindrances
that litter the road,
making your passage
seemingly more difficult.
We call this road repair,
rectification.

When looking outside ourselves
all we see is chaos.
When loosing inside ourselves,
we often see the outside world
reflected inside us.
Therefore, inside us,
we also see chaos.
But this is not the way
it is supposed to be!

We should never reflect
the outside world
inside us.
Rather, we must always
reflect the inner world
into our surrounding world.
Inside influences outside,
not the other way around.

Yet, in order for the inner You
to influence your outer world,
you must know the Inner You,
and allow its clear sense of identity
to impose itself upon
the chaotic outside world.
The power of the mind is the key.
The source of the mind is the Will.

Think clearly.
Focus strongly.
Desire only that which is within.
Forget about the chaos outside.
Focus on the internal reality,
and make it real!
You can do this!
And why?
Because thoughts are things.
And thoughts are the souls
that come to inhabit
the bodies that make up this world.

Therefore, draw down to Earth
the souls of your choice.
Transform the world.
Rectify it!
Repair the road.
It all begins with,
and ends with,
the power of YOUR mind!

This is kosher Torah!