• Describes a process of unification with God and the healing implications of that process for our daily life
• Introduces four kabbalistic universes that form a topographical map of reality
• Offers a unique perspective on human consciousness and the nature of existence from a leading modern kabbalist
Kabbalistic Healing shows how the Kabbalah--the Jewish mystical path to knowing reality--can kindle the central fire in our being so that we can unite with the divine. It describes the ultimate healing possible for the human soul: an awakening to our true nature that makes our former life seem as if we have been asleep.
The Kabbalah is not an advanced study; it is the first study, because it speaks directly to our fundamental desire to know what life is about. To Shulman, the Kabbalah is the living experience of our real self, the self that is always connected to God, the self that lives in God the way a fish lives in water.
Kabbalistic Healing is about the process of unification, of joining with reality, and the implications of that process for daily life. It draws upon the author’s work at A Society of Souls, which promotes the belief that the ultimate form of healing is to create a unitive or nondual state of consciousness, integrating the healthy human ego into its proper relationship with transcendent reality. As we deepen our understanding of our true selves and enhance our ability to hold new states of consciousness, we are able not only to heal ourselves but to help heal others as well.
From Chapter 3
Briah, Healing, and the Concept of Not-Making
Healing exists because there is a Now that we can enter. We do not encounter this Now until we are willing to give up memory--which does not mean forgetting, but actually means remembering, remembering enough so that we are free of it. For example, we know what words to use to describe the setting sun, but the experience of the sun setting is always fresh, and we can be touched by its beauty in a way that does not let us speak falsely.
Imagine you are with a friend and the sun goes down. You are talking and you haven’t even been watching the sunset. Suddenly the sky becomes ablaze with beauty, and you say, “Oh! Wow! Look at that!” And the wonder is inside you and outside you at the same time. Even if you found a beautiful way to say it, or even if you said to your friend, “Oh my God, look at that. It makes me feel sad. Another day, the earth is turning away from the sun. Another day never to be recaptured. I want to run after the sun and keep it on the horizon forever.” It doesn’t matter what you say. It is irrelevant whether the event makes you feel happy or sad or mortal or immortal. There is something about that event that, if you let it in, makes you totally fresh when you relate to it. It is not owned by you, rather you are owned by it. And yet, paradoxically again, you are you and it is it. You know the difference and the impenetrable gulf between the poles of this experience. There is both discriminating awareness and Oneness.
This is true healing, the healing we might call the presence of God. It is the Pure Present. It is not in memory. When we are not in reactivity, we have the possibility of being in nonreactive grace. We have the possibility of feeling the ever-flowing grace that the All-Loving One bequeaths upon all existence. We can then feel lighthearted.
This is the stage of work where no one can do anything to you anymore and no one can save you. You save yourself. It is you who has to walk to God. God has already walked to you. God is here. The Shema tells us that God cannot not be here, therefore it is we who need to get unwound and uncontracted enough so that we do not believe that there is distance. Then we are in Briah, our small self still existent, but now in Light.
Contracting and Expanding
Until we are healed, the flow of what is happening right now--which is always the play of the Divine, the communication that God is making with us--is extremely challenging for us to bear as separate individuals. Paradoxically, our so-called psychological problems are one way we take ourselves out of this flowing dynamic wholeness to a place we believe is safeæor at least less threatening to our small selves.
From one perspective, these problems are like little homesteads that we make for ourselves, usually populated with bad characters. These psychological problems are contracted states. They are contracted against the pulsating movement of Life. That is really all they are from the perspective of Briah.
These contracted states then take on a life of their own. They have consciousness because we are enclosing a piece of the creative plenum, and they begin to look at themselves. These contracted states make us think that there is something in the world called “people,” at the expense of processes, relationships, and interactions. These “people” then think they have territory to defend and a position to defend. That is neurosis, and it is passed down from generation to generation.
At a certain point--and this is the moment that the door to Yitzerah opens--we say to ourselves: “I need to find out what is true. Why am I reactive? What am I reacting to? I need to know.” This movement is the movement from Assiyah to Yitzerah, from habit to feeling, and it brings with it a loss of clarity that comes from leaving the comfortable world of black-and-white distinctions.
Entering into the exploration of the psychological world, we do not know if something that is bothering us actually is inside our own reactivity, or is something on the outside that needs to be changed or addressed. We spend our time in this “middle stage” of the spiritual journey, separating the wheat from the chaff, finding out who we are. Despite the fact that we are now dealing directly with feelings, this is a rationally oriented part of the journey, and it is because of this rational bias that we get confused.
There is an old Zen saying: “In the beginning of Zen there are mountains and rivers. During Zen there are no mountains and no rivers. After Zen there are mountains and rivers.“ We start out knowing how to apportion the world and work with the world, then we make some sort of transition. Everything goes kablooie. Here is the river; here is the mountain. But the mountain has some riverness to it, and the river has some mountainness to it, and they both flow and they both meet each other. One makes the other. As the great Zen master Dogon-zenji used to say, “The mountains are walking.”
Eventually things return to themselves, but in order for that to happen, the next stage of spiritual development--which involves the world of Briah and the condition of not-making--must come to the fore. The world must be taken whole...
1--Leaving the Limited
2--Living between the Light and Dark: The Holy Ego
3--Healing, Briah, and the Concept of Not-Making
4--The Healing of Immanence and the Nature of God
6--Prayer: The Concrete Path
7--The Words of God
Afterword: It Starts with a Disappointment . . . and It Ends in Light
About A Society of Souls
The Arizona Healing Journal, Dec 2004 - Jan 2005